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Potential growth in Lao mobile market despite a number of limitations

Infocom’s Country Dashboard
Published: 2013-12-20

The Lao mobile market is expected to post modest growth in the next five years, as the already high penetration rate in the country (2013 estimate at 106%) will impact the acquisition of new subscribers. Active government participation, such as the state's regulation on prepaid ownership – adopted for security purposes, after an ordinance of the Ministry of Post, Telecommunication and Communication (MPTC) that all mobile prepaid subscribers’ identities must be registered – will also affect mobile growth, as it will discourage users to easily switch or avail of another prepaid service from other mobile networks.

On the services side, the expansion of 4G LTE network will usher the development of new services supported higher bandwidths. Its adoption will likely remain relatively weak, at least within the medium-term (next 3 to 5 years), mainly due to high cost, which suggests that LTE services may only serve specific, high-end market segments. In light of the growing popularity of mobile Internet, InfoCom expects ARPU to further stabilise, or even increase slightly in the next few years, with the help of government regulation through the imposition of a price floor policy.

Another development, which InfoCom foresees impacting the market is the introduction of mobile phones with native Lao language features. Mobile operators are expected to take advantage of this feature to up-sell existing offers as well as reach market segments, which are not attuned to the conventional, non-native mobile handset.

Published: 2013-12-20

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