2011 Australia - Mobile Communications - Statistics and Forecasts

Publication Overview

BuddeComm’s Australia - Mobile Communications - Statistics and Forecasts annual publication provides information and insight into the mobile communications sector in Australia with a particular reference to mobile voice services – mobile broadband is covered in a separate report. This report provides an analysis of high-level revenue, market shares and revenue growth, as well as revenue earned from mobile voice and mobile data services. It covers:

  • The market in 2011
  • Industry overview
  • Subscriber statistics
  • Revenue overview and statistics
  • Spectrum overview
  • 3G infrastructure
  • Retail market
  • Handset market
  • Mobile satellite services

Please note: This report does not contain information on Mobile Broadband. Please see separate report: Australia - Mobile Broadband Market for this research.

Researcher:- Paul Budde, Stephen McNamara
Current publication date:- July 2011 (11th Edition)

 

Executive Summary

Australia’s $17bn mobile industry hits 125% penetration

The market in 2011

In 2011 the mobile communications market in Australia, as in other developed economies, is seeing a further shift in emphasis from voice to data-orientated services, driven by more new handsets and applications. Penetration has outstripped the size of the market, which indicates that people are increasingly using multiple services and multiple devices.

While voice is still the dominant mobile service in Australia, mobile data has steadily become more popular, spurred on by the advent of smartphones from vendors like Apple, HTC and RIM. These smartphones facilitate a wide range of data applications and services. However the winner in 2011 will be the handsets based on Google’s Android operating system. No longer held back by the mobile operators, mobile broadband growth has been extremely rapid since late 2007 and this is also to be the main feature of 2011.

Competition between mobile operators is set to intensify, resulting in lower mobile call charges for customers. Telstra recently took the gloves off and has increased its position in the market.

This will combine to produce a decrease in mobile prices. Furthermore, more customers will reduce their use of fixed-line voice and data services in favour of mobile services.

Mobile penetration: 125%

There are around six million more mobile subscribers than people in Australia. As smartphone uptake increases growth is likely to continue in the foreseeable future, even though subscriber penetration rates are about 125% of the population.

Growth is being driven by population increases and a rise in the number of people using two mobile subscriptions – one for personal use and one for business use. Australian operators are likely to have more than 28 million mobile subscribers by late 2011 as more and more users migrate to a mobile-only environment. Telstra is still the market leader, with more than eleven million subscribers; Optus has around nine million subscribers; and VHA still has roughly seven million subscribers.

A $17 billion market

The industry as a whole will earn around $17 billion in revenue from mobile. Mobile services now represent considerably more than 50% of overall industry revenues in Australia. During 2011-2012 revenue growth is expected to be influenced by the following three major factors:

  • the broader economic environment; economic growth could well be subdued into late 2011 and 2012;
  • revenue growth because of increased price competition from Telstra and MVNOs;
  • new telephony services, including the LTE, will affect the pace of revenue growth.

However, it is also possible that strong adoption of new smartphones and data devices could drive continued growth, particularly in data services, which may offset other factors.

Australia’s competitive mobile industry

Mobile services have expanded beyond voice and SMS, as operators seek to increase their revenues and market share as the mobile penetration rate of around 125% continues to rise in the saturated mobile market in 2011/12.

The arrival of the iPhone forced the industry to change – rather than controlling the apps and portals market the industry has become a broadband infrastructure facilitator. This has created a new growth area in the industry, which is based more on infrastructure than on apps or services.

Total mobile services revenue earned by the major mobile operators is set to continue to grow, but at a slower rate than the growth seen in the final years of the previous decade. This may reflect price competition from Telstra, the effect of increased competition from MVNOs – eg, Lebara – and the effect of a saturated market and competition.

The mobile retail market is rapidly becoming more significant as the use of mobile devices extends well and truly beyond traditional voice and SMS. Retailers are fast becoming the focal point for interaction with customers, many of whom have individual needs which require a higher level of customer service. Many customers are now also using social networking to make contact with stores.

The non-specialist retail market such as food stores and petrol stations are catering for the prepaid market, while the specialised retailers are catering for a rapidly increasing postpaid market. Postpaid subscribers have been growing, while the prepaid market has been shrinking with a greater uptake of smartphones and mobile broadband plans.

Total sales volumes are also continuing to increase as customers are changing their mobile handsets more frequently, often only to a newer model smartphone. There are no indications that this situation is likely to alter in 2011/12.

Let the battle for spectrum begin

The Australian government sought public comment on the benefits and costs of maximising what has become known as Australia’s ‘digital dividend’, the term used to describe the radio frequency spectrum made available as a result of the switchover to digital-only television. In doing so it has announced it will release a contiguous block of spectrum between 694MHz and 820MHz to be freed up from switchover.

The government has established a target of 126MHz of contiguous ultra-high-frequency spectrum. In its latest report, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has flagged spectrum shortages and makes recommendations to secure extra bandwidth. Ultra-high-frequency spectrum block is expected to be available at the end of 2013, while other frequencies in the 700MHz and 2.5GHz ranges are to be reallocated across the 2011-2016 timeframe.

Smartphones

As the Australian smartphone sector takes off the handset market has seen a shift towards other vendors such as HTC and Apple. For many years this sector has been dominated by Nokia, but in late 2011, as the iPhone takes the users’ choice as the top phone, Nokia may see its total market share drop below 30% – although in the lower end of the market it may remain a dominant force.

While the cost of mobile broadband is still markedly expensive compared to fixed broadband increased usage is being led by smartphones, as around 50% of smartphone users use a mobile phone to access the internet. While the iPhone started the trend, competition from the Android operating system and others will see the smartphone market continue to increase to around 50% penetration by end-2011.

Market highlights:

  • Mobile services have expanded beyond voice and SMS, as operators seek to increase their revenues and market share as the mobile penetration rate of around 125% continues to rise in the saturated mobile market in 2011/12.
  • Total mobile services revenue is expected to reach $17 billion in 2011, representing a growth rate of around 8%, down from the double-digit growth rates of 2009. However over the next three years competition and commoditisation will lead to even lower ARPUs.
  • Ultra-high-frequency spectrum block is expected to be available at the end of 2013, while other frequencies in the 700MHz and 2.5GHz ranges are to be reallocated across the 2011-2016 timeframe.
  • The mobile retail market is rapidly becoming more significant as the use of mobile devices extends well and truly beyond traditional voice and SMS.
  • With around 60% of subscribers using 3G services the market is characterised by a high uptake of mobile value-added services across enterprise mobility and consumer segments.

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

Table of Contents

  • 1. The Market in 2011
    • 1.1 Industry overview
      • 1.1.1 Telstra
      • 1.1.2 Optus
      • 1.1.3 VHA
      • 1.1.4 MVNOs
      • 1.1.5 Mobile Retailers
    • 1.2 Key trends and developments
      • 1.2.1 Mobile broadband
      • 1.2.2 Mobile voice
      • 1.2.3 Prepaid still a strong market force
      • 1.2.4 But also a reverse trend from prepaid to postpaid
      • 1.2.5 Interconnection rates key to mobile competition
      • 1.2.6 National Roaming
      • 1.2.7 Mobile content
      • 1.2.8 IP telemetry
    • 1.3 Background Information
      • 1.3.1 Subscriber statistics
      • 1.3.2 Mobile communications – revenue overview and statistics
      • 1.3.3 Mobile broadband – statistical overview and forecasts
  • 2. Industry Overview
    • 2.1 Overview
    • 2.2 Network operators
      • 2.2.1 Telstra
      • 2.2.2 SingTel Optus
      • 2.2.3 Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA)
    • 2.3 Network technologies
      • 2.3.1 HSPA-based services
      • 2.3.2 Long-term evolution (LTE)
      • 2.3.3 2G services (historic)
    • 2.4 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
      • 2.4.1 Background MVNO information
      • 2.4.2 Overview of market
      • 2.4.3 Other developments in the MVNO market
      • 2.4.4 Amaysim
      • 2.4.5 GRLmobile
      • 2.4.6 Lebara Mobile
      • 2.4.7 Macquarie Telecom
      • 2.4.8 Virgin Mobile
      • 2.4.9 Woolworths
    • 2.5 Mobile resellers
      • 2.5.1 Background information
      • 2.5.2 Resellers on the Telstra network
      • 2.5.3 Resellers on the Optus network
      • 2.5.4 Resellers on the Vodafone network
    • 2.6 Mobile Virtual Network Enablers (MVNEs)
      • 2.6.1 Background information
      • 2.6.2 Pivotel
  • 3. Subscriber Statistics
    • 3.1 Statistical sources
    • 3.2 Mobile subscriber statistics
      • 3.2.1 Total subscribers and annual growth rates
      • 3.2.2 Operator market shares and growth
      • 3.2.3 2G and 3G subscribers
      • 3.2.4 Prepaid and postpaid subscribers by operator
      • 3.2.5 Wholesale market
  • 4. Revenue Overview and Statistics
    • 4.1 Statistical sources
    • 4.2 Total mobile services revenue and forecasts
    • 4.3 Operator statistics
      • 4.3.1 Background
      • 4.3.2 Revenue per major operator
      • 4.3.3 Revenue growth
      • 4.3.4 Revenue share
      • 4.3.5 Revenue by service
      • 4.3.6 Average revenue per user (ARPU)
  • 5. Spectrum Overview
    • 5.1 Introduction
    • 5.2 Spectrum regulations
      • 5.2.1 Overview
      • 5.2.2 Australian Radiofrequency Plan
      • 5.2.3 ACMA five-year outlook, 2010
      • 5.2.4 Towards 2020 – Future spectrum requirements
      • 5.2.5 Regulatory issues
      • 5.2.6 Fifteen-year spectrum licence pathway
      • 5.2.7 ACMA takes steps to improve spectrum trading arrangements
      • 5.2.8 Spectrum issue – more to it than meets the eye (analysis)
    • 5.3 Spectrum-based services
      • 5.3.1 Background information
      • 5.3.2 Mobile services
      • 5.3.3 WiMAX wireless services
      • 5.3.4 Ultra-Wideband services (UWB)
      • 5.3.5 Mobile satellite services
      • 5.3.6 DECT services
      • 5.3.7 New broadband wireless technology
    • 5.4 Spectrum ownership and licences
      • 5.4.1 Mobile spectrum
      • 5.4.2 Apparatus licences
      • 5.4.3 Unlicensed spectrum (IMS)
  • 6. 3G Infrastructure
    • 6.1 Background information
    • 6.2 Network operators
      • 6.2.1 Telstra
      • 6.2.2 Optus
      • 6.2.3 VHA
    • 6.3 Mobile sites infrastructure
      • 6.3.1 Overview and statistics
      • 6.3.2 Crown Castle
    • 6.4 Infrastructure analysis
      • 6.4.1 Structural separation and open networks
      • 6.4.2 Squeezed out of the content markets
      • 6.4.3 Mobile broadband market
  • 7. Retail Market
    • 7.1 The mobile retail market in 2011
      • 7.1.1 Major retail categories
      • 7.1.2 Retail margins
      • 7.1.3 Retail revenues
      • 7.1.4 Consolidation
      • 7.1.5 Moving from prepaid to postpaid
      • 7.1.6 Mobile broadband
      • 7.1.7 Superior customer care
      • 7.1.8 Replacement market
    • 7.2 Major mobile retail companies
      • 7.2.1 Background information
      • 7.2.2 Vertically integrated operators
      • 7.2.3 Independents retailing services exclusively for mobile operators
      • 7.2.4 Independents retailing services for a variety of network operators
    • 7.3 Analysis of the market in 2009 and 2010
      • 7.3.1 Impact of the financial crisis on the retail market in Australia
      • 7.3.2 Web-based retail
      • 7.3.3 Niche segmentation
  • 8. Handset Market
    • 8.1 Market surveys
      • 8.1.1 Overview
      • 8.1.2 Cyber bullying and use of mobile phones by children
    • 8.2 Predictions into 2011
      • 8.2.1 Smart devices
      • 8.2.2 Tablets
      • 8.2.3 Battery boosting
      • 8.2.4 Worldwide market overview
    • 8.3 Market overview – mid-2011
      • 8.3.1 Trends in mobile handset market
      • 8.3.2 Service provider-driven market
      • 8.3.3 Replacement market
    • 8.4 Historical overview
      • 8.4.1 Summary of activity in 2010
      • 8.4.2 Summary of activity in 2009
      • 8.4.3 Summary of activity in 2008
    • 8.5 Handset statistics
      • 8.5.1 Shipments
      • 8.5.2 Handset recycling
      • 8.5.3 Handset supplier market shares
    • 8.6 Analysis
      • 8.6.1 Overview
      • 8.6.2 Apple and Google – hijacking the mobile operators
      • 8.6.3 Mobile vendors set to lose the proprietary battle
      • 8.6.4 Mid-tier mobile phones to decline
      • 8.6.5 Rise of smartphones
    • 8.7 Market surveys
      • 8.7.1 Overview
      • 8.7.2 Smartphones lead to higher data spend
      • 8.7.3 Australians are smartphone fanatics
      • 8.7.4 iPhone takes out top spot globally
      • 8.7.5 Smartphone usage
    • 8.8 Safety and security issues
      • 8.8.1 Mobile security
      • 8.8.2 Mobile phones and viruses
  • 9. Mobile Satellite Services
    • 9.1 Introduction
    • 9.2 Public subsidies and regulation
      • 9.2.1 Overview
      • 9.2.2 Mobile satellite service band plan
      • 9.2.3 Mobile satellite phone subsidies
    • 9.3 Major operators
      • 9.3.1 Telstra
      • 9.3.2 Optus
      • 9.3.3 Pivotel Group
      • 9.3.4 VIX QuikTrak
      • 9.3.5 Other providers
      • 9.3.6 FedSat – Australia’s low earth orbit satellite (historic)
    • 9.4 Usage and revenue estimates
      • 9.4.1 Background information
      • 9.4.2 Revenue
  • 10. Glossary of Abbreviations
  • Table 1 – Mobile market subscribers, penetration rate and annual change – 1995 - 2012
  • Table 2 – Total fixed mobile broadband revenues and annual change – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 3 – Total mobile services market revenue and annual change – 1993 - 2012
  • Table 4 – Revenue by business area – Jan 2011
  • Table 5 – Pivotel satellite data costs – June 2011
  • Table 6 – Mobile market subscribers, penetration rate and annual change – 2000 - 2012
  • Table 7 – Mobile subscribers by carrier – 1993; 1997; 2000 - 2012
  • Table 8 – Annual change of mobile subscribers by carrier – 1995; 1997; 2000 - 20121
  • Table 9 – Mobile subscriber market share by operator – 1993; 1997; 2000 - 2012
  • Table 10 – 3G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2003 - 2012
  • Table 11 – Annual change of 3G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 12 – Proportion of 3G mobile subscribers versus total subscribers by carrier – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 13 – 2G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 14 – Prepaid subscribers by carrier – 2008 - 2012
  • Table 15 – Prepaid subscribers market share per operator – 2008 - 2012
  • Table 16 – Number of mobile phone services in operation - prepaid and postpaid – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 17 – Wholesale subscribers – Telstra and Optus – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 18 – Total mobile services market revenue and annual change – 1993 - 2012
  • Table 19 – Mobile services market revenue per major operator – 1993 - 2012
  • Table 20 – Annual change of mobile services market revenue per major operator – 1994; 1997, 2000 - 2012
  • Table 21 – Annual change of mobile services revenue share per major operator – 2000 - 2012
  • Table 22 – Estimated proportion of mobile service revenue from voice and data – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 23 – Total mobile voice revenue per major operator – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 24 – Mobile voice revenue per major operator as a proportion of total mobile services revenue – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 25 – Mobile data revenue per major operator as a proportion of total mobile services revenue – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 26 – Annual change in data revenue per major operator as a proportion of total mobile services revenue – 2008 - 2012
  • Table 27 – Blended ARPU per month per major operator – 2000 - 2012
  • Table 28 – Blended ARPU per month per major operator – annual change – 2004 - 2012
  • Table 29 – Postpaid ARPU per month – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone – 2004 - 2010
  • Table 30 – Mobile base stations – 2009; 2011
  • Table 31 – Estimated number of outlets and market share of leading retailers – 2011
  • Table 32 – Selected retailers - number of outlets by state – 2011
  • Table 33 – Australian handset shipments – 2004 - 2011
  • Table 34 – Seasonal comparison – Australian shipments per quarter – 2004 - 2011
  • Table 35 – Seasonal comparison – Australian shipments per quarter as a proportion of annual shipments – 2004 - 2011
  • Table 36 – Change in Australian shipments per quarter – seasonally adjusted – 2005 - 2011
  • Table 37 – Key recycling indicators – Mobile Muster – 2006 - 2011
  • Table 38 – Estimated Australian handset supplier market share – major suppliers – 2008 - 2011
  • Table 39 – Handset supplier worldwide market share – top five suppliers – 2008 - 2010
  • Table 40 –Australian 3G handset market – by major operator – 2008 - 2010
  • Table 41 – Low-end, mid-tier and high-end mobile device markets – percentage of units sold – 2007; 2013.
  • Table 42 – Payment plan data – 2009 - 2010
  • Table 43 – Percentage of paid-for applications
  • Table 44 – Customer loyalty with phone OS - % likely to stay with their existing operating system for next phone purchase
  • Table 45 - Use of advanced phone features - % of mobile users who access rich media and other smartphone features
  • Table 46 – Smartphone usage by children in Australia – 2009
  • Table 47 – Smartphone users accessing the internet – 2009 - 2011
  • Table 48 – Pivotel satellite data costs – June 2011
  • Chart 1 – Mobile market subscribers, penetration rate and annual change – 1993 - 2012
  • Chart 2 - Total fixed mobile broadband revenues and annual change - 2007-2012
  • Chart 3 – Total mobile services market revenue and annual change - 1993-2012
  • Chart 4 – Mobile market subscribers, penetration rate and annual change – 1995 - 2012
  • Chart 5 – Mobile subscribers by carrier – 1995 - 2010
  • Chart 6 – Annual change of mobile subscribers by carrier – 1995 - 2012
  • Chart 7 – Mobile subscriber market share by operator – 1995 - 2012
  • Chart 8 – 3G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2003 - 2012
  • Chart 9 – Annual change of 3G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2007 – 2012
  • Chart 10 – Proportion of 3G mobile subscribers versus total subscribers by carrier – 2009 - 2012
  • Chart 11 – 2G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2006 - 2012
  • Chart 12 – Annual change of 2G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2007 - 2012
  • Chart 13 – Prepaid mobile subscribers by carrier – 2006 - 2012
  • Chart 14 – Prepaid subscribers - market share by operator – 2006 - 2012
  • Chart 15 – Number of mobile phone services in operation - prepaid and postpaid – 2006 - 2012
  • Chart 16 – Wholesale subscribers – Telstra and Optus – 2006 - 2012
  • Chart 17 – Total mobile services market revenue and annual change – 1993 - 2012
  • Chart 18 – Mobile services market revenue per major operator – 1993 - 2012
  • Chart 19 – Annual change of mobile services market revenue per major operator – 1994 - 2012
  • Chart 20 – Mobile services revenue share per major operator – 2000 - 2012
  • Chart 21 – Estimated proportion of mobile service revenue from voice and data – 2007 - 2012
  • Chart 22 – Total mobile voice revenue per major operator – 2007 - 2012
  • Chart 23 – Mobile voice revenue per major operator as a proportion of total mobile services revenue – 2007 - 2012
  • Chart 24 – Total mobile data revenue per major operator – 2007 - 2012
  • Chart 25 – – Annual change in mobile data revenue per major operator – 2008 - 2012
  • Chart 26 – Blended monthly ARPU per major operator – 2000 - 2012
  • Chart 27 – Prepaid ARPU per month – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone – 2004 - 2010
  • Chart 28 – Mobile data ARPU per month – Telstra and Hutchison – 2004 - 2010
  • Chart 29 – 2G versus 3G subscriber ARPU per month – Telstra – 2006 - 2009
  • Chart 30 – Cyber bullying information study – 2011
  • Chart 31 – Australian handset shipments – 2004 - 2011
  • Chart 32 – Tonnes of mobile equipment collected versus public awareness – 2006 - 2011
  • Chart 33 – Estimated Australian handset supplier market share – major suppliers – 2008 - 2011
  • Chart 34 – Estimated mobile satellite users – 2007 - 2011
  • Chart 35 – Optus satellite revenue – 2007 - 2012
  • Exhibit 1 – The initial analogue operators – brief historic background
  • Exhibit 2 – MVNO models
  • Exhibit 3 – MVNO opportunities
  • Exhibit 4 – Mobile carriers and selected MVNOs
  • Exhibit 5 – Examples of key MVNO customer segments
  • Exhibit 6 – Mobile carriers and selected resellers and MVNEs
  • Exhibit 7 – Boost Tel 2010
  • Exhibit 8 – Pivotel Communications Pty Limited at a glance – 2011
  • Exhibit 9 – Proposed 700MHz reallocation – 2011 - 2014
  • Exhibit 10 – Digital dividend spectrum
  • Exhibit 11 – Proposed 2.5GHz reallocation – 2011 - 2016
  • Exhibit 12 – Allocations for wireless access services (WAS) – 2009
  • Exhibit 13 – Mobile spectrum by operator in capital city and regional area
  • Exhibit 14 – GSM services by operator
  • Exhibit 15 – WCDMA services by operator
  • Exhibit 16 – Ownership of selected frequencies for WiMAX services

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Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure)
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Number of pages 130

Status Archived

Last updated 27 Jul 2011
Update History

Analyst: Paul Budde

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