Monday, 10 August 2015 14:09

Mobile penetration in Australia continues to grow Featured

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Mobile penetration across Australia has soared to 137% of the country alongside a slowing in the number of mobile subscribers in recent years.

According to the latest Budde Report on the telecommunications market, there has been a rapid extension of mobile broadband availability across most areas of the country following the auction of spectrum in the 700MHz band early this year.

Budde’s senior analyst Henry Lancaster says the auction of spectrum has seen licensees able to makes use of their concessions since January with each mobile network operator (MNO) investing more than a billion dollars annually in network upgrades.

According to Lancaster, the operator’s investments are clearly beginning to deliver rewards, “resulting in a change in customer sentiments as it addresses popular concerns over poor network quality and stability.”

Lancaster says that the slowing growth in the number of mobile subscribers in Australia reflects the relatively high penetration rate, now sitting at about 137%.

“Although a significant proportion of subscribers make use of multiple phones or SIM cards, growth is stimulated by a steady increase in the population.

“Operators can also expect to benefit from further migration among consumers from fixed-line to mobile telecoms, supported by the practical benefits to consumers of improved quality of mobile data services resulting from network upgrades and the wide-scale reach of LTE infrastructure.”

According to Lancaster, despite pressures on pricing, revenue is expected to show continued growth for fiscal 2015, “though future revenue growth will be impacted by continuing activity from a number of the larger MVNOs (virtual mobile network operators).”

“Positive growth offsetting downward pressure on mobile voice revenue should be expected from mobile data services as the reach of LTE networks is extended into 2016. For the MNOs, the latest results are positive.

“Telstra reported a 9.8% increase in mobile revenue in the year to December 2014, while Optus recovered from revenue decline in FY2014, recording a 6.7% increase in FY2015.

VHA (Vodafone), which has been dogged by steep revenue declines for a number of years on the back of customer disaffection with service offerings, reported a 2.9% increase in revenue for the first half of 2015, supported by a 2.1% increase in its subscriber base.”

Lancaster also notes that smartphone use in Australia continues to grow among consumers, with the smartphone sector now accounting for about 80-90% of all new devices sold.

He says that smartphones and tablets are becoming a dominant internet access channel among the younger demographic and, in addition, these devices are beginning to “dominate overall e-commerce, being used in about a third of all e-commerce transactions.”

“This proportion will increase into 2016 in line with the availability of devices with larger screens, more mobile-friendly websites, easier payment systems and a widening availability of faster mobile networks,” Lancaster concludes.


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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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