In Asia, No Such Thing As a Telecom Downturn

20090818-tgnia-mapA few years back, I wondered if broadband could predict economic shifts. As I noted back then, I believe that “what sea routes, air routes and highways were to the 20th century, broadband pipes are to the 21st century.” With the subsequent growth of Asia as a telecom hub, my belief is now that much stronger.

If there is a telecom downturn taking place, Asia isn’t experiencing any of it. Thanks to breakneck growth in the number of wireless and broadband subscribers in places such as China, India, Vietnam and other Asian nations, the demand for telecom equipment and bandwidth in the region remains strong. Here are three little news bits that illustrate the growth of Asia as a major telecom market.

  • Tata Communications just completed a new 3.8 Terabits-per-second TGN-Intra Asia optical cable that offers direct connectivity from Tokyo to Singapore. (See map.)
  • Infonetics Research expects the Asia-Pacific region, led by China and India, will increase its telecom/datacom revenue market share by 5 points from 2008 to 2013.
  • Also according to Infonetics, Huawei Research is now the No. 1 optical equipment provider in the world and continues to consolidate its position because it’s so dominant in the region.
  • ZTE, the other Chinese equipment giant, recently reported that during the first six months of 2009, its revenues were up 40.4 percent over the same period in 2008, while net profit showed year-on-year growth of 40.5 percent. If Huawei is winning the optical game, then ZTE is looking to win the LTE derby.

Such growth stands in sharp contrast to the stalled or falling revenues found at many of the Western telecom companies these days. Thanks to this tectonic shift, one of the grandest names in telecom, Nortel, is currently dismembering itself.