In 1997, few people believed that mobile would be a mass market in Bangladesh. Last year, Telenor surpassed 50 million customers in Bangladesh, now the biggest in the whole Telenor group, according to Sigve Brekke Telenor EVP and head of Asia operations.
In part because of that precedent, many believe Internet access will be a mass market in Bangladesh and all other parts of South Asia and Southeast Asia within the next 10 to 15 years, despite all difficulties and apparent obstacles.
In fact, Google is working on programs to add 500 million new Internet users in India, alone, by about 2017, an impressively short amount of time to add so many new Internet end users.
Growth forecasts vary. Some 4.3 billion people do not yet have Internet access. Perhaps two billion of those people live in Asia. But “average” obscures huge differences. It does not so much matter how fast the average increases.
In a region where a few countries such as China and India represent such a high percentage of total population, “average” doesn’t mean much. But if mobile can achieve adoption few expected in Bangladesh, there is good reason to believe Internet access will likewise achieve wide adoption as well.