Home Mobility Competition drives greater value, price drops for mobile users: ACCC

Competition drives greater value, price drops for mobile users: ACCC

Mobile is king and fixed line is fading fast, with consumers relying more and more on their mobile devices for voice calling, as mobile voice minutes rose by seven billion in the 12 months to the end of the 2016-2017 financial year. And, competition has benefitted consumers, with price drops and better value for money, according to the competition regulator.

The latest market report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reveals that overall demand for communication services continues to grow, and more consumers chose to rely on their mobile devices for voice calling in particular.

And the rise of seven billion mobile voice minutes over the year more than offset a reduction in fixed-line minutes of three billion, the ACCC reports.

The report shows that not only was mobile the device of choice, but consumers also enjoyed the benefits of enhanced competition, getting more value as prices fell and plan inclusions increased.

“At a time when affordability in energy markets is a major concern, competition in the broadband and mobile market is continuing to benefit consumers,” said ACCC acting chair Delia Rickard.

Data downloads rose by 43% over the year, with consumers continuing to rely heavily on fixed broadband connections, which accounted for 92% of all downloads.

The ACCC says the real prices for fixed Internet services in the market fell by an average of 4.5% year-on-year from 2014 to 2017. The range of plans and bundles available has changed significantly and a quarter of all fixed broadband plans had an unlimited data allowance, up from 5% in 2014.

On the price front, consumers benefitted, with real prices of mobile services dropping by an average of 7.1% each year over the same period (2014-2017), though the price of higher-priced pre-paid plans increased in the last year.

“Consumers are obtaining greater value for money and receiving and using more data each year,” Rickard said.

“In other encouraging developments, we are seeing new players enter the fixed and wireless broadband markets and this will provide further competitive pressure going forward.”

The ACCC also found that mobile handsets were the preferred way of accessing the Internet, accounting for 66% of all broadband subscriptions, while fixed broadband connections are used far more intensively by businesses and consumers.

Rickard says the ACCC continues to be active in the sector and will soon release the first report of its Measuring Broadband Australia programme.

“Our commitment to truth in advertising related to broadband speeds is already making it easier for Australians to choose a service provider. We have also initiated an inquiry into NBN wholesale access terms which was one of the 29 recommendations of the draft report of the communications market study,” Rickard notes.

To access the ACCC telecommunications report for 2016-2017 click here.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year 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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