Pipeline Publishing, Volume 3, Issue 1
This Month's Issue: 
Balancing Billing 
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Telecom and the emerging
Asia-Pacific Marketplace
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By Dan Blacharski

China Mobile, the largest mobile operator in China, has revenues of $23 billion. But China is not alone in the Asian nations; India and Japan both present enormous opportunities for telecom companies and OSS providers alike. India, in particular, has a rapidly growing middle class, and the need for telecom services in that country is particularly burgeoning.

At the Broadband World Forum Asia 2006 in Hong Kong, Michel Rahier, EVP and President of the Fixed Communications activities within Alcatel, stressed that the increasingly sophisticated services, such as IPTV and triple play, that are in demand throughout much of Asia must rely on an IP-based infrastructure.  This infrastructure must be able to deliver the interactivity necessary for cutting-edge services, and also the necessary QoS levels.

Last month, the 6th Annual Asia Pacific Billing and Revenue Management Week took place in Bangkok, another event that underscores not only the emergence of telecom in the Asian countries, but also the importance of OSS systems to telecom companies that wish to participate in this huge market.

The Asian Marketplace
The Chinese telecom industry has grown more than 20 percent annually for the past decade. There's no disputing the enormity of the Chinese marketplace and the rapidly growing demand for wireless services. The upside of telcos doing business here is high, with growing demand and low penetration. The country has nowhere near the penetration of the United States in terms of telephone lines, yet China has 311.7 million main lines in use, compared to the US's 268 million; China has 334.8 million cell phones, compared to America's 194.5 million. According to Research in China, by the end of 2005 China had 111 million Internet users.

And Chinese users aren't just demanding plain vanilla phone service. The Asia-Pacific market in general, and China specifically, is a high-stakes market. Seventy percent of China Telecom customers in a recent survey indicated that they want IPTV. From a broader Asian perspective, the survey indicated that by 2010, half of all IPTV customers will be in Asia.

Chinese telcos are spending the money it takes to bring their OSS systems up to the level they need to be to accommodate this rapidly growing marketplace. Chinese telecom operators are investing more money in standards-based, flexible infrastructures, which allow    them    to   take  greater   advantage
of 3G networks and deliver new and more sophisticated telecom services to their customers. Several international OSS and telecom companies have exhibited a strong

"Chinese telcos are spending the money it takes to bring their OSS systems up to the level they need to be to accommodate this rapidly growing marketplace. "

commitment to China. Most recently, BEA Systems announced the establishment of a telecommunications technology center in Beijing, to address the specific needs of China's telecommunications market.

The other major Asian growth opportunity is in India, and deregulation and liberalization of the telecom industry in India has given way to significant changes and enormous opportunities. Saturation is still quite low, at seven for every 100 persons in the country, but telecom is on the move in India, especially for cellular service. Vivek Subramanyam, principal of Indian Century Investments, comments that "The Indian telecom market is one of the most exciting markets in the world, with the telecom subscriber base having grown by more than 40 percent last year to cross 140 million. Of this, the mobile subscriber base exceeded 90 million, growing at a breathtaking pace, given that India had just 10 million subscribers about three and a half years back."  Subramanyam added, "In a nation of low tele-density with a population of over a billion people, playing catch up means that more than five million mobile subscribers were added last month, and this pace is expected to continue."  In contrast, China adds 5.42 million mobile phone users a month. Subramanyam also notes that. "Compared to China Mobile's revenues of over $24 billion last year, Bharti Airtel, the largest mobile operator in India, recorded revenues of just over $2.5 billion, an indicator of just how much growth lies ahead."

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