Emerging markets have mixed fortunes weathering the ‘broadband crunch’

New statistics unveiled by a major broadband analyst have revealed that while many emerging markets are showing major growth, other have struggled to meet expectations. Comparing numbers from three years ago with current reports, Point Topic has released its results showing which emerging markets have weathered the broadband ‘crunch’.

Oliver Johnson, CEO at Point Topic, said: “This has been a difficult period for the world.  Markets have been subject to a number of internal and external shocks that have made it pretty difficult. Our global projection from May 2009 ended up being just over 3.5% too optimistic compared to the actual numbers reported at the end of 2011.”

The two extremes of the scale are Russia and Malaysia. In Russia, it has been notoriously difficult to source accurate figures for broadband take-up. New sources of information released since 2009 have driven up not just forecasts but also the actual number of broadband subscribers. Fibre has been particularly impressive according to the numbers that operators are now reporting.

“At the other end of the scale, in Malaysia, it’s a much more disappointing number, despite the market being theoretically ripe for growth - there were plans in place, the subscription pricing was at a reasonable level, demand certainly existed, but there is still not the level of take-up expected. It seems it’s down to lack of competition,” commented Johnson.

Malaysia only very recently launched services with bandwidths over 4Mbps, so the hope is that the advent of faster services and more competition will drive the numbers up in future.

India missed projections by a small margin. The market faces significant infrastructure issues and has suffered from corruption, particularly with reference to licence allocation. Coupled with a slow moving approach from government and regulator these elements have all combined to make the market with the second biggest potential in the world report stuttering numbers. While this is likely to accelerate, rural India will be making do with expensive low speed services for some time to come.

Brazil and China are both reporting very strong numbers. The relaxation of some of the more onerous regulations and access to at least part of the markets by foreign suppliers and the growth of their monied middle classes has meant strong growth. Both however face major infrastructure challenges. Currently penetration is still fairly low in comparison to many markets and there is plenty of demand left in deployment areas.

“Overall broadband has fared reasonably well given the prevailing market conditions and certainly in comparison to other industries. Variances in local market conditions have had an impact on overall global growth but there are almost as many ups as there are downs”, concluded Johnson.

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