Thursday, 07 November 2019 10:09

Telecoms in Australia a billion dollar a week industry Featured

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Australia’s telecommunications industry directly contributes more than $51 billion annually to the Australian economy and supports more than 350,000 jobs across the nation, new research has revealed.

In addition to being an important industry vertical, telecommunications is a key ‘horizontal enabler’, facilitating innovation and enterprise in every other industry sector,” the research, from Industry body Communications Alliance says.

Economic analysis of these productivity benefits shows that the Australian economy is 6.5%, or $126 billion, larger in 2019 than it would have been without the positive impact of telecommunications. This equates to an additional $5,000 per Australian, per year.

These are among the findings of this year’s Connected Nation report, launched today by the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher. The research was undertaken by Deloitte Access Economics and is available here.

The report shows the industry employed 87,300 full time equivalent (FTE) roles directly, across Australia in 2017-18. The telco sector also supported 267,000 roles elsewhere in the economy.

John Stanton, CEO of Communications Alliance, which commissioned the research, said the findings underlined the central role that telecommunications plays in the lives of virtually all Australians and in the health and robustness of the national economy.

“The research also highlights the ways in which telecommunications infrastructure generates economic efficiency, by enhancing the ability of individuals and businesses to communicate and collaborate – creating additional opportunities for the growth that Australia needs so badly,” he said.

Minister Fletcher welcomed the findings and said the report demonstrates the importance of the telecommunications sector in supporting a strong and stable economy.

“It is clear that the telecommunications sector is a vital enabler of Australia’s economic activity, directly contributing more than $51 billion to GDP in 2017-18. Telecommunications is a key input to every industry – helping businesses operate more efficiently, connecting them to new national and international markets, and aiding communication with customers and suppliers.”

“I look forward to continued innovation from the sector as it paves the way for the adoption of new technologies such as 5G networks and the Internet of Things.”

The report also found that telecommunications has the second highest investment rate compared to 93 other industries in the economy. Robust competition in the sector has resulted in the price of services falling significantly in real terms over the past decade, while connectivity, data, speed, and the diversity of products and services have all improved – often dramatically.

The report is chock full of facts and figures. One illuminating chart shows that Telstra alone comprises almost half the industry (49%), with Optus on 15% and Vodafone Hutchinson Australia on 10%. TPG comprises 4% and NBN Co 3%. (see graph)

“Beyond these five businesses, which account for 78% of industry revenue), a large number of smaller businesses comprise 22% of the industry revenue,” says the report. “These smaller businesses account for 92% of the number of telecommunication businesses in Australia and reflect the relatively low barrier-to-entry for carriage service providers in Australia.”

John O’Mahony, Partner at Deloitte Access Economics, outlined the key research findings at today’s launch and commented: “This report demonstrates that telecommunications is central to delivering two of the Commonwealth Government’s economic objectives – lifting investment and improving productivity – which are the basis of higher living standards in the long term.”

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire. He is one of Australia’s longest serving and most experienced IT journalists. He is author of the only definitive history of the Australian IT industry, ‘A Vision Splendid: The History of Australian Computing.’

He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time weekly IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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