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Android drives dramatic rise in smartphone adoption in Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and India

Young people in Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and India are driving the rapid adoption of mobile devices, with the Android operating system coming top

Association of Southwest Nations (Asean) countries Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, along with India, have seen a dramatic 545% increase in smartphone adoption since 2013.

The four countries are referred to as the P4 (Power 4) sub-region in Opera Mediawork’s APAC: The state of mobile advertising Q2 2015 report, based on data from 400 million unique users on the Opera Mediaworks platform.

This growth was fuelled by the rapid adoption of Android devices, which accounted for nearly 70% of traffic in the P4 region and more than 60% of traffic in Asia-Pacific.

“Asia-Pacific is predicted to have two billion smartphone users by 2019. The average [time people spend on the phones] is higher than global averages, thanks to the higher demand for mobile video,” said Vikas Gulati, managing director Asia at Opera Mediaworks.

Naveen Mishra, industry principal of telecom Asia-Pacific at Frost & Sullivan, agreed that smartphones wereincreasingly finding great traction among mobile customers across the region as they access their favourite over the top (OTT) content applications and mobile internet in general.

Myanmar is also witnessing tremendous growth in smartphone adoption, similar to markets such as Malaysia, where smartphone penetration grew from 38% to more than 51% from 2013 to 2014.

“Of the available mobile operating systems, Android has the most device options, as a large number of mobile phone manufacturers are adopting Android,” said Mishra.

The traditional revenue sources of telcos – voice and SMS – have been declining rapidly, with strong uptake of OTT applications, which offer both voice and instant messaging, among other features. To find growth in business, telco operators have been driving smartphone adoption and mobile data/mobile internet uptake with affordable options for both.

“To attract first-time users, telcos allow access to popular applications such as Facebook or Twitter at no charge for a limited period of time or limited amount of data. Many customers want to continue to use these applications after such offers and start subscribing to mobile data plans, which helps telcos drive top line as well as profitability,” said Mishra.

The study found Vietnam to have the highest levels of data consumption in the region, with each user using 85MB per month – close to the global average of 90MB per month. Indonesia and Vietnam also have high frequency data users, who access mobile sites and apps five or more days every week, which is above the global average.

The P4 region users also tend to be young and male, with 24 being the average user age in the four countries. In Vietnam, 50% are 19 years old or younger. The most visited mobile sites and apps are in the social networking category, the consumption of which is led by the Philippines, with high levels even when compared with high global averages.

In terms of revenue generators, the business, finance and investing publishers fared well, accounting for 42% of revenue paid to mobile publishers across the P4 region. Smartphone adoption in the wider Asian region continues to grow at a pace on par with the rest of the world, with page-view volume on mobile websites and apps approaching global averages.

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