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Thursday, 17 November 2011 19:00

Australian telecoms revenues pass $40 billion

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Telecoms services revenues in Australia are set to pass the $40 billion mark this year, with Telstra still the dominant market player with a 60 percent marketshare, but well short of the halcyon days in the early 2000s when it commanded 80 percent of the market.


In a report released today, the telecommunications market report, BuddeComm says the $40 billlion in revenues it estimates will be generated this year by telcos, reflects the 'mildness of the downturn' in Australia compared with other countries.

'However, as has been the case in 2011, growth is likely to remain very subdued in 2012. This is attributable to the continued decline in the fixed-line markets and levelling off of mobile subscriptions, along with reduced pricing from operators attempting to attract increased market share,' BuddeComm says.

The research and analysis company says that in 2011, overall line revenues across all operators fell to around $10.5 billion.

And, while Telstra still dominates the telecoms services market, BuddeComm says that Optus's share of revenues continues to stagnate between 20 and 22 percent, but its wholesale business had a market shift in 2011 and its growth suggests that, 'even with a subdued market, Optus's overall share could surpass 23% by 2013.'

On the merger of Vodafone and Hutchison, and the subsequent network issues, BuddeComm says those issues have contributed to the merged company's marketshare dropping slightly, and the increasing network expansion could see Vodafone return to its previous share of total industry revenue.

According to the report, declines in the fixed market limited overall telecommunications market growth in 2010 to just 2.7 percent, and, with the expectation of further fixed market falls, subdued broadband growth, and the likelihood of intense competition in the mobile market (which will limit ARPU growth), he expects overall market growth to be limited to around 1%-1.5% in 2011 and 2012.

On the second-tier market, BuddeComm says it is making gains in broadband and the companies in the market are gearing up for IPTV, which will then be bundled into their other product offerings. Share of revenue for the second-tier telcos has continued to grow since 2009, being just over nine percent of total revenues by mid-2011, and BuddeComm expects revenues to increase slightly by 2013, to around 12%.

According to BuddeComm, the second-tier telcos' share of revenue has continued to grow since 2009, being just over nine percent of total revenues by mid-2011, and expected to increase slightly by 2013, to around 12 percent.

BuddeComm lists key market highlights in 2011 as:

'¢    A massive mobile broadband revolution is taking place with more than 5 million people now regularly using mobile to access broadband applications.

'¢    Rapid growth continues in wireless in 2011 as asymmetrical digital subscriber line (ADSL) growth slows down further. However it should be noted that BuddeComm estimates that approximately 90% of all wireless broadband subscribers have more than one broadband plan.

'¢    For the 12 months to end-2010 the annual growth in digital subscriber line (DSL) slowed down to approximately 10%, by which time the market would have reached around 9.7 million broadband subscribers. A further 17% growth is projected for 2010/11 to take the total market to 10.4 million subscribers. The majority of the growth by this time will be coming from the mobile wireless broadband market.

'¢    BuddeComm estimates that in early 2011 there were around 450 provider services, ranging from dial-up through to digital subscriber line, fibre and wireless solutions. Some internet service providers only service small numbers of fewer than 100 users.

'¢    The business market in Australia was quick to embrace broadband, and by 2009 the vast majority of this sector had made the transition. A major reason businesses moved to broadband was for faster speed, yet, according to some studies in 2011, they still suffer from slow speeds.

'¢    In the 2011 financial year Telstra's total mobile revenue passed $7 billion, with Optus around $6 billion. Vodafone revenue was close to $4.5 billion.

'¢    Total mobile services revenue earned by the major mobile operators in the 2010/11 financial years continues to grow, but at a slower rate than the growth seen in the last years of the previous decade.

'¢    Mobile services now represent considerably more than 50% of overall industry revenues in Australia.

'¢    There are around six million more mobile subscribers than people in Australia. Growth is likely to continue in the foreseeable future as smartphone uptake increases, even though subscriber penetration rates are about 125% of the population. Into 2011/12 the rate of growth may drop below 5%.

'¢    The changing environment of the NBN linked to the digital economy will help the industry double its size to around $80 billion by 2020.



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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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