Asian carriers will need to improve their broadband service level - InfoCom

Manila, Philippines, Oct 11, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio / prurgent) While the Asian region appeals investors from any part of the World thanks to relatively cheap cost levels of labour and land, foreign companies have then to face local conditions in terms of communications infrastructure development and havoc associated prices. This is revealed by InfoCom’s recent study on broadband business services in a number of relevant developing Asian countries. As compared to the Western World, where intense competition and advanced infrastructure secure fast, reliable and affordable communication services, telecom carriers in Asia are still beset with issues of infrastructure, cost and overall service availability. In the region, generally, costs for a business broadband access are considerably higher and bandwidth speeds for ADSL literally pale in comparison to Western countries where download speeds faster than 5 Mbit/s are establishing as standard. Additionally, the availability of other types of DSL technologies — Symmetrical DSL (SDSL) and Very High Speed DSL (VDSL) — is scarce in the majority of Asian countries.

The economies that appear to charge the highest prices for business DSL lines are Malaysia and India. In these countries, users are charged the most expensive one-time costs. “The reason behind this”, an InfoCom Senior Analyst commented, “ is that most of the carriers charge subscribers with a number of additional, sometimes hidden fees”. InfoCom research revealed that several carriers charge users with installation and router fees or, as in India, with registration and testing fees, as well as security deposits. In Malaysia, the incumbent charges activation and stamp duty fees on top of two-month advance subscription fees. „The research revealed a quite heterogeneous panorama of different prices and conditions”, InfoCom Senior Analyst continued, “In some markets, such as in the Philippines, Thailand or Indonesia, carriers charge little one-time costs, while in Vietnam business ADSL connection is totally free of one-off charges”.

As of bandwidths available for a business ADSL, the most common bandwidths offered are 1 to 4 Mbit/s. Among the Southeast Asian countries, Thailand and Vietnam offer the fastest downstream access while the Philippines and Thailand offer the highest number of bandwidth choices. While subscribing to business ADSL in Indonesia is cheaper than in other countries, the incumbent only offers the service in two options, 2 and 3 Mbit/s access speeds, and the availability of the bandwidths largely depends on the location. The subscriber’s geographical setting also plays an important role in determining the availability of bandwidths in India and Malaysia and especially in the Philippines, due to the specific archipelagic configuration of the country.