Just finished the COMSOC East Asia Society Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, and I should say the reports presented triggered a few thoughts.
We had representatives from China, Taiwan, India, Vietnam (in the photo), and a few reports from other East Asia Countries (there were 40 people from Asia plus a 100 Vietnamese).
I have to confess, I am still not used to big numbers and when I heard that India is adding 8 million new cell phone users a month and still they will have to go ahead at this pace through this decade to get close to 100% penetration I feel small. And today there are still over 500,000 villages in India that do not have proper telecommunications service.
Vietnam used to be rivers of bikes just few years ago. Now there are rivers of motorbike, and each rider has a cell phone….
I was impressed by the report that they have reached in 2009 17 million land line connection (out of a population of 88 million people) AND that in 2010 the number went down to 14 million and now is down to 12 million! At the same time the cell phone “population” has grown to 111 million…
The cell phone is killing, at least in Vietnam, the land lines. The penetration in Internet terms is much lower, only 15% use the cell phone to connect to Internet but it is easy to predict that this percentage will increase as more and more people will be able to buy a smart phone. Their price is still too high for most Vietnamese. Consider that a basic cell phone in Vietnam cost as little as 20$, whilst a smart phone costs at least 8 times as much…
In Vietnam the cost for unlimited wireless (3G) connectivity is 2$ per month. Even considering the lower cost of life in Vietnam this is still dirty cheap!
There does not seem to be, in spite of the large penetration of wireless Internet in all East Asia, a use of Internet as a foundation for e-government services. It is still more related to personal entertainment (or social communication).
In the next few days all presentations will be available on the COMSOC web site.