3G ARPU is much greater than 2G. "The impact of 3G on ARPU was felt for the first time last year, putting a stop to the ARPU decline the industry had experienced since the mobile debut two decades ago," Telsyte says. "With 3G ARPU carrying a 55 percent premium over that of 2G, there was a clear correlation between the size of a carrier's 3G customer base and its ARPU improvement. Non-voice revenue mix grew to 22 percent of carrier revenue, with SMS still making up 70 percent of all non-voice activity. Hutchison's 3G user base boasted the industry's highest non-voice revenue mix at 28 percent."
Chaisatien contends that affinity marketing has not been well-exploited in Australia. "One to the things they [mobile operators] can look at is non-telco brands consumer brands. That could be something that could shake up the market. There are some very strong brands that could partner with Telstra, Optus or Vodafone: companies like NRMA, a very strong brand and they could provide location based services."
According to Chaisatien, a major contributor to the reduced growth rate of the market overall has been a slowing of the IP telephony market.
"The Australian business market, especially the high end business and government users have almost all adopted IP telephony so the market is pretty saturated. And at the low end people are starting to use low end VoIP services like Engin.
"The next step will be unified communications but that is a big step. It involves the integration of business processes and applications, so CIOs and CTOs are having another look and getting ready for that big leap. Many of them are also evaluating the RoI on the IP telephony they have deployed."
Chaisatien said that the mid range market still had room to grow "but prices will be coming down fairly quickly through commoditisation. And if you look at the offerings from the major vendors, there is very little differentiation between them, which wil also help to push prices down."
A disruptive force in this market could be the entry of Microsoft, particularly through its collaboration with Nortel. Chaisatien commented: "We have heard a lot about that partnership, primarily out of North America, but I think Microsoft in Australia has not pushed that hard enough. Nortel are strong in North America but a relatively small player and Microsoft is new in the voice market so they would make a very good match, but they could be much more aggressive."