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Asia needs US$1.1 trillion telco spend this decade to stay digital

Alcatel-Lucent sees NBNs everywhere

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Asia has been warned that it will need to invest USD $1.1 trillion in telecom infrastructure by the end of the decade in order to compete in the digital economy by Alcatel-Lucent Asia Pacific president Rajeev Singh-Molares.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum on East Asia 2012 in Bangkok last week, Singh-Molares warned that the unprecedented growth of urbanization in most Asian mega cities is straining infrastructure and demanding national broadband solutions.

“Initiatives that combine socially relevant applications, network infrastructure, and affordable business models will provide 36% more GDP growth than a network only approach,” he forecast.

Adding that to bridge the infrastructure gaps in Asia, smarter planning and cross sector collaboration were required.

Singh-Molares hat tipped the Thai government’s US$2.6 billion ‘Smart Thailand’ strategy as an example to be replicated through the region.

The strategy combines a network build with a remit to convert all 800 government services onto digital platforms and put tablets in the hands of all its students. The aim is to shift the number of Thais connected to a network from 33 percent today to 95 percent by 2020.

The Asia Pacific currently has 12 national broadband projects.

On the mobile front, Singh-Molares said that while Asia had added 1.5 billion additional mobile subscribers there is still more than 25 percent without basic mobile services.

He forecast that over the next five years governments and business will need to add another 1.3 billion mobile subscribers to bridge the gap and invest in infrastructure to support those initiatives. ®

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