2013 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 infrastructure and voice services as 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 2013
  • Industry overview
  • Subscriber statistics
  • Revenue overview and statistics
  • Latest developments in mobile spectrum
  • 3G and 4G infrastructure
  • Retail market
  • Smartphone market
  • Mobile satellite services 

For Mobile Broadband research see separate report: Australia - Mobile Broadband Market

Researchers:- Paul Budde, Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- July 2013 (13th Edition)

Executive Summary

Mobile operators face stagnating revenues in a booming mobile broadband market

The Market in 2013

The mobile communications market in Australia has seen considerable activity in the last year from the mobile network operators, with some of the results of that activity still to come to fruition. Yet some of the forces that are driving change in the mobile sector, such as consumer demand, market saturation and the offering of faster-speed technologies in the fixed- broadband market, are also driving down revenue and ARPU for operators.

Although mobile penetration is now above 130%, and continues to rise as users make use of multiple SIMs and connected devices, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) must find innovative business models and provide attractive services and bundles to increase revenues in this competitive market.

Previously the MNOs had a hold on the apps and portals market, but with the increased use of over-the-top applications the mobile industry has become a facilitator for broadband infrastructure. This has created a new growth area in the industry, which is based more on infrastructure than on apps or services.

As a consequence of the mobile handset market being driven by the consumer take-up of smartphones and similar devices, mobile broadband usage is also growing strongly. In addition, the growth in the availability and adoption of over-the-top applications are depriving the MNOs of their traditional income streams. Although total mobile services revenue is expected to have grown to nearly $18 billion in 2012, the introduction of reduced network termination rates, coupled with lower costs for monthly mobile broadband packages, means that revenue growth will slow in coming years, reaching perhaps $18.8 billion by 2014. Much of this limited growth will be derived from opportunities available from the nascent LTE sector. Telstra was the first operator to release devices for its LTE service, and has since been joined by both Vodafone and Optus.

One of the key issues for the industry moving beyond 2015 is the desperate need for more spectrum, in order to keep up with the demand for mobile broadband services.

Subscriber and Revenue Statistics

Overall mobile services revenue growth by the MNOs over the last financial year has fallen year-on-year. We should expect to see slower revenue growth from Telstra and Optus into 2014, with revenue again negative for Vodafone. While the issues that saw Vodafone revenues slide are unique, the company will continue to be affected by the loss of subscribers, price competitiveness and the cost of investing in infrastructure as it struggles to compete in the LTE-arena.

BuddeComm expects that revenue from MNOs will show only 2% growth rate year-on-year to 2014. Future revenue growth will be impacted by increased activity from some MVNOs and by tactics deployed to make greater use of upgraded networks.

For the MNOs, the results of the latest financial year are mixed, with Optus (to March 2013) reporting a 2% growth, Telstra showing a 10% growth and VHA, the entity created with the merger of Vodafone and Hutchison, continued to experience steep revenue declines on the back of customer disaffection with service offerings. This report provides analysis of high-level revenue, market shares and revenue growth, as well as revenue earned from mobile voice and mobile data services. In addition, the report includes additional statistical data relating to prepaid and postpaid revenue and average revenue per user (ARPU) for selected mobile voice and data services.

The number of mobile subscribers continues to grow steadily, and by mid-2013 mobile penetration had reached more than 130%. This reflects population growth as well as the significant proportion of subscribers who make use of multiple phones or SIM cards, often to separate personal from business use. While growth is likely to continue in the next few years as subscriber adoption of smartphones escalates, this will slow in line with higher penetration, to about 2% into 2014.

Network operators can also expect to benefit from further migration among consumers from fixed-line to mobile telecoms.

Telstra remains the market leader with more than 14 million subscribers, Optus has around 9.5 million subscribers, and Vodafone has seen subscriber number fall to just over three million.

This report provides operator statistics for the financial year to March 2013 as well as high-level commentary on the overall market, market shares by operator and details of the 2G, 3G and 4G environments. It also assesses the market share of the prepaid and postpaid segments and reviews the wholesale market.

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 2013
    • 1.1 Market and industry analyses
      • 1.1.1 Strong mobile competition
      • 1.1.2 Competition moving forwards
      • 1.1.3 Only structural change can save the mobile industry
      • 1.1.4 High demand for mobile broadband
      • 1.1.5 Mobile broadband – killer app for FttH
      • 1.1.6 Watch out for the next WiFi wave
      • 1.1.7 Spectrum key to broadband utility
      • 1.1.8 Consumers ditching fixed-line for mobile
    • 1.2 Mobile network operators overview
      • 1.2.1 Telstra
      • 1.2.2 Optus
      • 1.2.3 Vodafone
    • 1.3 Overview of trends and developments
      • 1.3.1 Mobile broadband
      • 1.3.2 Mobile subscribers
      • 1.3.3 Mobile voice
      • 1.3.4 Network termination rates lowered may drive mobile competition
  • 2. Industry Overview
    • 2.1 Background information
    • 2.2 Mobile coverage remains major problem for the region
    • 2.3 Consumer rip-off stops with new Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code
    • 2.4 Mobile calling plan standardisation a start to a clearer choice
    • 2.5 Roaming
    • 2.6 Mobile churn
    • 2.7 Mobile network operators (MNOs)
      • 2.7.1 Telstra
      • 2.7.2 SingTel Optus
      • 2.7.3 Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA)
    • 2.8 Network technologies
      • 2.8.1 HSPA-based services
      • 2.8.2 Long-term evolution (LTE)
      • 2.8.3 2G services (historic)
    • 2.9 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
      • 2.9.1 Background MVNO information
      • 2.9.2 Market overview
      • 2.9.3 Other developments in the MVNO market
      • 2.9.4 Amaysim
      • 2.9.5 Red Bull Mobile
      • 2.9.6 Kogan Mobile
      • 2.9.7 Lebara Mobile
      • 2.9.8 Macquarie Telecom
      • 2.9.9 Virgin Mobile
      • 2.9.10 Woolworths Mobile
    • 2.10 Mobile resellers
      • 2.10.1 Background information
      • 2.10.2 Resellers on the Telstra network
      • 2.10.3 Resellers on the Optus network
      • 2.10.4 Resellers on the Vodafone network
    • 2.11 Mobile Virtual Network Enablers (MVNEs)
      • 2.11.1 Background information
      • 2.11.2 Pivotel
      • 2.11.3 M2 Telecommunications Group
  • 3. Revenue Overview and Statistics
    • 3.1 Statistical sources
    • 3.2 Total mobile services revenue and forecasts
      • 3.2.1 Overview of current year
      • 3.2.2 Moving towards 2014
    • 3.3 Operator revenue statistics overview
      • 3.3.1 Background
      • 3.3.2 Revenue per major operator
      • 3.3.3 Revenue growth
      • 3.3.4 Revenue share
      • 3.3.5 Revenue by service
    • 3.4 Average revenue per user (ARPU)
      • 3.4.1 Overview of ARPU
      • 3.4.2 Blended ARPU
      • 3.4.3 Historic ARPU statistics
  • 4. Subscriber Statistics
    • 4.1 Statistical sources
    • 4.2 Mobile subscriber statistics
      • 4.2.1 Total subscribers and annual growth rates
      • 4.2.2 Operator market shares and growth
      • 4.2.3 2G, 3G and 4G subscribers
      • 4.2.4 Prepaid and postpaid subscribers by operator
      • 4.2.5 Wholesale market
  • 5. Retail Market
    • 5.1 An overview of the mobile retail market in 2012
      • 5.1.1 Major retail categories
      • 5.1.2 Retail margins
      • 5.1.3 Retail revenues
      • 5.1.4 Consolidation
      • 5.1.5 The move from prepaid to postpaid
      • 5.1.6 Superior customer care to come from a new TCP Code
      • 5.1.7 Mobile calling plan standardisation a start to a clearer choice
      • 5.1.8 Replacement market
    • 5.2 Major mobile retail companies
      • 5.2.1 Background information
      • 5.2.2 Vertically integrated operators
      • 5.2.3 Independents retailing services exclusively for mobile operators
      • 5.2.4 Independents retailing services for a variety of network operators
  • 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. Spectrum Auctions and Overview
    • 7.1 Digital dividend auction – 2013
      • 7.1.1 700MHz and 2.5GHz spectrum
      • 7.1.2 Competition limits
      • 7.1.3 Price of spectrum
      • 7.1.4 Combinatorial Clock Auction (CCA) of 700MHz and 2.5GHz band
      • 7.1.5 CCA auction in 2013 with spectrum to use in 2015
      • 7.1.6 Auction Results
  • 8. Smartphones, Tablets and Handset Market
    • 8.1 Market overview – mid-2013
      • 8.1.1 Trends in mobile handset market
      • 8.1.2 4G market increasing
      • 8.1.3 Telstra’s T-Hub 2 – moving fixed-line customers to the future NBN
    • 8.2 Predictions into 2013 and beyond
      • 8.2.1 Smartphone data usage to increase
      • 8.2.2 Online usage
      • 8.2.3 Tablets and e-readers
    • 8.3 Smartphone, tablet and handset statistics
      • 8.3.1 Shipments
      • 8.3.2 Handset recycling
      • 8.3.3 Handset supplier market shares
      • 8.3.4 Smartphones and internet usage
      • 8.3.5 Tablet uptake increasing
    • 8.4 Analysis
      • 8.4.1 Mobile vendors set to lose the proprietary battle
      • 8.4.2 Mid-tier mobile phones to decline
    • 8.5 Market surveys
      • 8.5.1 Overview
      • 8.5.2 Smartphones lead to higher data spend
      • 8.5.3 Tablet usage
      • 8.5.4 Smartphone users are action buyers
      • 8.5.5 Tablet uptake and usage increases
      • 8.5.6 Phone usage for no phone activities increasing
    • 8.6 The future of the smartphone market
      • 8.6.1 Hardware becomes a utility platform
      • 8.6.2 Platform for innovation and industry transformation
      • 8.6.3 Breaking into new markets
      • 8.6.4 Who will dominate the WiFi market?
      • 8.6.5 Conclusion
  • 9. Mobile Satellite Services
    • 9.1 Introduction
    • 9.2 Second generation satellites with Globalstar to benefit rural Australians
    • 9.3 Twitter on satellite phones
    • 9.4 Public subsidies and regulation
      • 9.4.1 Overview
      • 9.4.2 Mobile satellite service band plan
      • 9.4.3 Mobile satellite phone subsidies
    • 9.5 Overview of operators
      • 9.5.1 Telstra
      • 9.5.2 Optus
      • 9.5.3 Pivotal Group
      • 9.5.4 VIX QuikTrak
      • 9.5.5 AST Australia
      • 9.5.6 Addcom
      • 9.5.7 Indigo Telecom
      • 9.5.8 FedSat – Australia’s low earth orbit satellite (historic)
    • 9.6 Usage and revenue estimates
      • 9.6.1 Background information
      • 9.6.2 Revenue
      • Table 1 – Mobile broadband monthly ARPU – 2010 - 2013
      • Table 2 – Estimated mobile broadband revenues and annual change – 2010 - 2013
      • Table 3 – Mobile market subscribers, penetration rate and annual change – 2010 - 2013
      • Table 4 – Total mobile services market revenue and annual change – 2010 - 2013
      • Table 5 – Overview of Kogan Mobile prepaid plans – December 2012
      • Table 6 – Pivotel Globalstar satellite data costs – July 2012
      • Table 7 – Total mobile services market revenue and annual change – 1993 - 2014
      • Table 8 – Mobile market revenue per major operator – 1993 - 2014
      • Table 9 – Annual change of mobile market revenue per major operator – 1994; 1997; 2000 - 2014
      • Table 10 – Annual change of mobile market share per major operator – 2000 - 2014
      • Table 11 – Estimated proportion of mobile service revenue from voice services – 2007 - 2014
      • Table 12 – Total mobile voice revenue per major operator – 2007 - 2014
      • Table 13 – Mobile voice revenue per major operator as a proportion of total mobile services revenue – 2007 - 2014
      • Table 14 – Mobile data revenue per major operator – 2007 - 2013
      • Table 15 – Annual change in data revenue per major operator as a proportion of total mobile services revenue – 2008 - 2013
      • Table 16 – Blended monthly ARPU by MNO – 2000 - 2013
      • Table 17 – Annual change in blended monthly ARPU by MNO – 2004 - 2013
      • Table 18 – Postpaid ARPU per month – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone – 2004 - 2010
      • Table 19 – Mobile data ARPU per month - Telstra versus Hutchison – 2004 - 2010
      • Table 20 – Mobile market subscribers, penetration rate and annual change – 2000 - 2013
      • Table 21 – Mobile subscribers by carrier – 1993; 1997; 2000 - 2013
      • Table 22 – Annual change of mobile subscribers by carrier – 1995; 1997; 2000 - 2013
      • Table 23 – Mobile subscriber acquisition cost by carrier – 2009 - 2012
      • Table 24 – Annual change in mobile subscriber acquisition cost by carrier – 2009 - 2012
      • Table 25 – Mobile subscriber market share by carrier – 1993; 1997; 2000 - 2013
      • Table 26 – 3G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2003 - 2012
      • Table 27 – Annual change of 3G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2007 - 2012
      • Table 28 – Proportion of 3G mobile subscribers versus total subscribers by carrier – 2006 - 2012
      • Table 29 – 2G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2006 - 2012
      • Table 30 – Annual change of 2G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2006 - 2012
      • Table 31 – Prepaid subscribers by mobile network operator – 2006 - 2013
      • Table 32 – Prepaid subscribers market share by mobile network operator – 2006 - 2013
      • Table 33 – Number of mobile phone services in operation - prepaid and postpaid – 2006 - 2013
      • Table 34 – Wholesale subscribers – Telstra versus Optus – 2006 - 2013
      • Table 35 – Estimated number of outlets and market share of leading retailers – 2011 - 2012
      • Table 36 – Selected retailers – number of outlets by state – mid-2012
      • Table 37 – Mobile base stations – 2009; 2011 - 2012
      • Table 38 – Crown Castle mobile tower acquisitions – 2000 - 2012
      • Table 39 – Internet connections via mobile handsets – 2009 - 2013
      • Table 40 – Australian handset shipments – 2009 - 2013
      • Table 41 – Australian handset shipments (historic) – 2004 - 2008
      • Table 42 – Key recycling indicators – Mobile Muster – 2006 - 2013
      • Table 43 – Estimated Australian handset supplier market share – major suppliers – 2008 - 2012
      • Table 44 – Australian 3G handset market (historic) – by major operator – 2008 - 2010
      • Table 45 – Use of advanced phone features – % of mobile users who access rich media and other smartphone features
      • Table 46 – Smartphone use of the internet – 2010 - 2011
      • Table 47 – Estimated tablet users – 2010 - 2012; 2015 - 2016
      • Table 48 – Low-end, mid-tier and high-end mobile device markets – percentage of units sold – 2007; 2013.
      • Table 49 – Apps info and payment plan data – 2009 - 2012
      • Table 50 – Sale percentage of mobile apps that are purchased on a smartphone – 2010 - 2012
      • Table 51 – Typical selected usage pattern of a tablet user – 2012
      • Table 52 – Revenue by business area – Jan 2011
      • Table 53 – Pivotel Globalstar satellite data costs – July 2012
      • Table 54 – Estimate mobile satellite users – 2007 - 2012
      • Table 55 – Optus satellite revenue – 2007 - 2013
      • Chart 1 – Overview of mobile broadband revenues and annual change – 2010 - 2012
      • Chart 2 – Overview of mobile market subscribers, penetration rate and annual change – 2010 - 2013
      • Chart 3 – Overview of total mobile services market revenue and annual change – 2010 - 2013
      • Chart 4 – Overview of total mobile services market revenue and annual change – 2002 - 2014
      • Chart 5 – Overview of mobile market revenue per major operator – 2002 - 2014
      • Chart 6 – Overview of annual change of mobile market revenue per major operator – 2002 - 2014
      • Chart 7 – Overview of mobile revenue share per major operator – 2000 - 2014
      • Chart 8 – Overview of mobile service revenue voice versus data – 2007 - 2014
      • Chart 9 – Overview of total mobile voice revenue per major operator – 2007 - 2014
      • Chart 10 – Overview of mobile voice revenue per major operator as a proportion of total mobile services revenue – 2007 - 2013
      • Chart 11 – Overview of total mobile data revenue per major operator – 2007 - 2013
      • Chart 12 – Overview of annual change in mobile data revenue per major operator – 2008 - 2013
      • Chart 13 – Overview of blended monthly ARPU by MNO – 2005 - 2013
      • Chart 14 – Overview of prepaid ARPU per month – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone – 2004 - 2010
      • Chart 15 – Overview of mobile data ARPU per month – Telstra versus Hutchison – 2004 - 2010
      • Chart 16 – Overview of mobile market subscribers versus population – 2000 - 2013
      • Chart 17 – Overview of mobile subscribers by carrier – 2005 - 2013
      • Chart 18 – Overview of annual change of mobile subscribers by carrier – 2005 - 2013
      • Chart 19 – Overview of subscriber acquisition costs by carrier – 2009 - 2012
      • Chart 20 – Overview of mobile subscriber market share by carrier – 2005 - 2013
      • Chart 21 – Overview of 2G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2006 - 2012
      • Chart 22 – Overview of prepaid subscribers by mobile network operator – 2006 - 2013
      • Chart 23 – Overview of market share of prepaid subscribers by mobile network operator – 2006 - 2013
      • Chart 24 – Overview of number of mobile phone services in operation – prepaid and postpaid – 2006 - 2012
      • Chart 25 – Overview of wholesale subscribers – Telstra versus Optus – 2006 - 2013
      • Chart 26 – Overview of Australian handset shipments – 2009 - 2013
      • Chart 27 – Overview of tonnes of mobile equipment collected versus public awareness – 2006 - 2013
      • Chart 28 – Overview of smartphone apps info and paid plan data – 2009 - 2012
      • Chart 29 – Overview mobile apps that are purchased on a smartphone – 2010 - 2012
      • Chart 30 – Overview of mobile satellite users – 2007 - 2012
      • Chart 31 – Overview of Optus satellite revenue – 2007 - 2013
      • Exhibit 1 – The initial analogue operators – brief historic background
      • Exhibit 2 – MVNO models
      • Exhibit 3 – MVNO opportunities
      • Exhibit 4 – Mobile carriers and selected MVNOs – 2013
      • Exhibit 5 – Examples of key MVNO customer segments
      • Exhibit 6 – Amaysim at a glance – 2013
      • Exhibit 7 – Mobile carriers and selected resellers and MVNEs
      • Exhibit 8 – An overview of Boost Tel
      • Exhibit 9 – Pivotel Communications Pty Limited at a glance – 2013
      • Exhibit 10 – Background information on the 3G race by the MNOs
      • Exhibit 11 – Strathfield Group – a brief background look at its services
      • Exhibit 12 – An overview of the digital dividend auction timeline – 2010 - 2015
      • Exhibit 13 – 700MHz and 2.5GHz auction results – 2013
      • Exhibit 14 – Pivotel Communications Pty Limited at a glance – 2012

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