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2018 Australia - Mobile Infrastructure, Broadband, Operators - Statistics and Analysis

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Last updated: 12 Nov 2018 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 153

Analyst: Phil Harpur

Publication Overview

This report provides data and analysis on a range of mobile technologies in Australia, as well as an assessment of network developments.

It assesses the prospects for operators as they extend their LTE deployments beyond the major urban areas and deeper into rural areas, and invest in prototype 5G technologies in preparation for deployments anticipated from 2020.

The report contains a range of key statistics in the mobile market, operator strategies and emerging technologies.

In addition, the report assesses operator revenue and ARPU and details the development of the prepaid and contract subscriber bases for each Mobile Network (MNO) as well as a market forecast.

The handset and smartphone markets are covered, as well as MNOs’ financial and operational data and an overview of their network.

This report also provides an overview of the mobile broadband market in Australia, including updated statistics, industry estimates and analyses of key market trends.

An overview of the Australian spectrum market is also covered.

Researcher:- Phil Harpur
Current publication date:- November 2018 (18th Edition)

Executive Summary

5G developments gain momentum in Australian market

5G represents the next evolution in mobile technologies. It is expected to support an immense increase in data rates, at 1Gb/s and higher, reduce latency and enable networks to connect a vast number of devices. 5G is only one element of a larger ecosystem that includes broadband access, Internet of Things (IoT), M2M, cloud computing, data centres and data analytics. Only when 5G is deployed within that broader ecosystem will operators be able to reap the benefits of this new technology.

Australia’s mobile network operators continued to work towards the launch of 5G, laying foundations for the next-generation network and continued to develop and enhance their existing 4G networks on the upgrade pathway to 5G.

Australia is predicted to be one of the top four of markets that will drive the growth of 5G in Asia, which is projected to become the world’s largest 5G market by 2025, as networks are rolled out in urban areas and handset vendors integrate 5G chipsets into mobile devices.

In August 2018 Telstra switched on 5G-capable sites on the Gold Coast, which enable it to test 5G pre-commercial devices in real world conditions and use innovations like its Connected Car to test its 5G footprint. It will enable Telstra to connect compatible commercial 5G devices for customers in 5G areas as they become available.

5G devices are expected to arrive in 2019 and 5G services in Australia are scheduled to be launched from 2020.

The auction of unused spectrum in the 1800MHz band further improved the ability of MVNOs to extend their LTE services, while proposals by the ACMA to release spectrum in a range of bands through to 2024 should see strong growth in the areas of 5G and IoT.

This report provides an overview of the mobile broadband market in Australia, statistics and analyses of key market trends. It also provides data and analysis on a range of mobile technologies in Australia, an overview of the smartphone, tablet and handset market as well as an overview of the mobile spectrum market.

In common with most mature markets, in Australia there are significantly more subscribers to mobile services than there are people. Australia’s mobile market is now highly mature and developed with slow annual subscriber growth rates since 2013. Mobile penetration is now well over 100%.

Growth is being driven by population increases as well as a rise in the number of people using two or mobile subscriptions – commonly one is for personal use and another for business use.

Very slow growth is predicted over the next five years to 2023 with penetration rates predicted to rise only slightly above projected population increase.

Revenue for mobile operators in recent years has been characterised by the continuing take up of services based on LTE technology, and to the rising proportion of mobile data to overall revenue.

By 2018, competition among operators is having a braking effect on ARPU however ARPU growth from mobile data services going forward is offsetting declines in voice ARPU. Pricing competition and market saturation is eroding voice revenue, while the continued substitution of cheaper OTT services for mobile SMS messages and the SMS is also eroding SMS revenue.

For all operators, price competition combined with a focus on managing their mobile businesses as they adapt to new technologies being brought into play, have led to considerable pressure in recent years.

All three Australian mobile operators are now investing billions of dollars in their networks annually, with a view to securing new customers and retaining existing ones. Increasingly, consumers are looking to mobile communications for their broadband needs.

Key Developments

  • Australia’s mobile network operators continue to work towards the launch of 5G.
  • Australia is predicted to be one of the top four of markets that will drive the growth of 5G in Asia.
  • 5G connections are predicted to account for around 50-60% of total connections by 2025.
  • Competition among operators is having a braking effect on ARPU.
  • Very slow mobile subscriber growth is predicted over the next five years to 2023.
  • All three Australian mobile operators are now investing billions of dollars in their networks annually.

Key companies mentioned in this report:

VHA, Vodafone, 3, Optus, Huawei, Telstra, Vividwireless, Ericsson, EnergyAustralia, SingTel, Unwired, Kogan Mobile, Apple, Nokia, Google, Ericsson, Samsung, Vodafone, 3, VHA, Optus, Telstra.

Phil Harpur

November 2018

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