"Mobile financial products and services will become staples for Malaysia's large and growing community of SMEs," he said. "Already, Malaysia is near the top of the curve in mobile commerce, behind only South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Norway and Sweden."
Malaysians outdo the Swedes
A comparison study done by Telenor's research arm, Telenor Research, found that compared to Sweden, Malaysians are actually more digitally communicative, said Brekke.
Across the range of mobile communications functions, Malaysia's "digital frontrunners" (urban 16-35 year-olds with Internet-capable phones) out-use their Swedish counterparts in every category, with the largest difference seen in communications apps. And at least eight out of 10 Malaysians use a mobile SMS app, whereas only roughly one in 10 Swedes do, the study measured.
"Because Malaysians tend to be both price-conscious and technology adept, they choose to communicate across a range of platforms - SMS, application, social media, voice, data, 3G, WiFi, and so on," he said. "This flexibility and tendency toward leveraging the mobile Internet - even compared to their Scandinavian equivalents - is a significant development in Malaysia's telecoms evolution. It shows us just how important a role the mobile Internet is now playing in Malaysians' lives."
TNS's Mobile Life 2013 study, which used data from 38,000 people from 43 countries, was undertaken between 20 November 2012 and 4 February 2013. In Malaysia, the sample size was 500; in Thailand, 1,000; and in India, 2,980.