Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine in a fully up-to-date manner the position in respect to the licensing and launch of long-term evolution (LTE) in a region that attracts relatively little attention when treated as a whole because the emphasis is usually upon the very large individual markets (China, India and Japan) contained within it. The purpose is also to examine the role of international groups and the extent to which the licensing of LTE can make a difference to the structure of mobile markets in the region. Design/methodology/approach: The initial step was to compile extensive databases with respect to the licensing and launch of high-speed networks in the region – defined both narrowly and also to encompass countries that are often treated as part of the Middle East – arranged so as to emphasise the status of dominant incumbents. There is a discussion of new entry and its potential to disrupt incumbents. Findings: For historical reasons, the region contains countries that have strong differences whether defined in terms of economic, social or cultural characteristics, and hence it has not been easy for a network with international aspirations to expand outside its home market nor for, say, European-based operators to gain a foothold. Attempts to introduce competition via new licences has also been problematic because of the strong, and sometimes very large, incumbents already present. Research limitations/implications: This is necessarily an overview that uses selected data to describe the overall picture because of the substantial number of quite different markets surveyed. Practical implications: It is possible to forecast how certain structural changes will occur – primarily the withdrawal of international groups such as Millicom that prefer to concentrate upon other regions. Originality/value: The databases that underpin the analysis are author-compiled and entirely original.