Australia - Mobile Broadband Market - Services and Apps

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 also assesses the prospects for operators as they extend their LTE deployments beyond the major urban areas and deeper into rural areas. The report contains a range of valuable key statistics on network data throughput, operator strategies and emerging technologies.

Researchers:- Henry Lancaster, Paul Budde
Current publication date:- July 2016 (16th Edition)

Executive Summary

Australia’s MVNOs now accessing the world’s fastest LTE networks

The three LTE networks operated by Optus, Telstra and Vodafone have been developed rapidly during the past two years. These MNOs are striving to provide an infrastructure capable of meeting customer demand for mobile broadband services, and are also preparing for the possibilities anticipated through the deployment of 5G within the next few years. Telstra continues to be a global leader in mobile services, being a partner with Ericsson in developing 5G. The two companies have demonstrated 1Gb/s capabilities over a commercial LTE network using carrier aggregation technology, and will use the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Queensland to trial a range of technologies. Increasingly in an era leaning further to mobile data than voice, these networks must offer sufficient performance for customers. These developments have propelled Australia in global league tables, with the country having recorded the fastest peak mobile broadband speeds globally.

Optus and Telstra have been able to utilise their 700MHz spectrum assets since early 2015, with which they aim to provide about 98% population coverage by the end of 2016. Vodafone is relying on upgrades to its existing concessions, and provides about 95% coverage in metro areas. The auction of unused spectrum in the 1800MHz band in February 2016 will further improve the ability of MNOs to extend their LTE services. As a result of these developments the mobile market has seen a steady migration of subscribers from 3G to LTE.

Upgraded networks face daunting data demands from customers, many of whom make use of data-intensive graphics, videos and files shared across the networks. In addition, popular OTT services such as Netflix, a company which alone had attracted about five million customers by June 2016, provide streaming of content over mobile devices. While networks can at times be strained, the MNOs are continually adding capabilities and applications in an effort to reduce their overall costings. Customer preference for Wi-Fi from homes and workplaces has meant that mobile broadband traffic is largely offloaded to fixed-line infrastructure. Given that about 90% of all mobile device sales are now smartphones, the growth in mobile data traffic is increasing rapidly. In the year to December 2015 mobile data traffic grew 21% year-on-year.

The market among providers has seen some changes over the last few years as company mergers and acquisitions bring consolidation to the industry. The major mobile media players are becoming digital media providers as they provide access to their services via mobile devices.

While the SMS service remains popular there is also increasing competition from OTT services such as WhatsApp, Skype, Viber and built-in messaging services from the likes of Facebook and other social media providers. The preponderance of bundled plans which include a large number of texts and voice minutes has also helped to retain the popularity of messaging, though at the expense of SMS revenue for operators.

This report provides an overview of the mobile broadband market in Australia and analyses key market trends.  It includes updated statistics, industry estimates and forecasts as well as data and developments involving the major mobile media providers and mobile content services.  Also included is information from the ACMA’s 2015 report on mobile broadband productivity.

Key developments:

  • Australia rated with the highest mobile broadband speed globally;
  • Comms Alliance calls for flexibility in spectrum management;
  • Growing number of MVNOs offering LTE services;
  • Telstra and Ericsson to use Commonwealth Games to trial 5G capabilities;
  • Telstra launches five-band carrier aggregation;
  • Mobile data traffic expected to grow six-fold to 2018;
  • Optus and Telstra aiming for 98.5% population coverage with LTE by end-2016;
  • Mobile broadband a significant contributor to economic growth;
  • Spectrum auction in the 1800MHz band;
  • Report update includes telcos’ operating data to Q1 2016, ACMA market report 2015, TIO’s 2015 annual report; Sensis survey 2015, ABS data to December 2015, Akamai broadband survey data to Q4 2015, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

VHA, Vodafone, 3, Optus, Huawei, Telstra, Vividwireless, Ericsson, EnergyAustralia, SingTel, Unwired, SingTel, Vodafone, 3, VHA, Optus, Telstra, BigAir, vividwireless, Unwired, nbn (NBN Co), TPG.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Market analyses
    • 1.1 Market overview
    • 1.2 Uptake in LTE adds to mobile broadband users
    • 1.3 Mobile data and messaging exceeds voice revenues
    • 1.4 Globalgig hotspot local and international data roaming
    • 1.5 Overview of 4G frequency usage
    • 1.6 Spectrum reallocations
      • 1.6.1 1800MHz
    • 1.7 Hardware drives applications
    • 1.8 Mobile broadband to drive structural change
    • 1.9 Mobile broadband slowly substitutes fixed services
    • 1.10 The economic impact of mobile broadband
    • 1.11 Mobile broadband market statistics
      • 1.11.1 Mobile broadband subscribers
      • 1.11.2 Fixed wireless broadband market
  • 2. LTE and 5G developments
    • 2.1 High-speed mobile networks
      • 2.1.1 High-speed packet access (HSPA)
      • 2.1.2 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
      • 2.1.3 VoLTE
      • 2.1.4 Moving from 4G to 5G
      • 2.1.5 5G developments
    • 2.2 Mobile broadband operators
      • 2.2.1 Optus
      • 2.2.2 Telstra
      • 2.2.3 Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA)
    • 2.3 Mobile broadband market
      • 2.3.1 Overview and analysis
      • 2.3.2 Data growth
      • 2.3.3 Mobile industry gets some spectrum certainty
      • 2.3.4 Neutral broadband connections for HSPA
      • 2.3.5 Will LTE steal the broadband revolution?
      • 2.3.6 Applications overview
      • 2.3.7 Government moving to mobile engagement
      • 2.3.8 Mobile video failing to make traction with LTE
  • 3. Mobile media
    • 3.1 Market and industry - surveys and statistics
      • 3.1.1 Introduction
      • 3.1.2 Recent surveys
      • 3.1.3 Australian Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index
      • 3.1.4 Mobile data observations
    • 3.2 Overview of key providers
      • 3.2.1 Mobile operators
      • 3.2.2 Service providers
    • 3.3 Mobile video streaming
      • 3.3.1 What is mobile video steaming?
      • 3.3.2 Market overview and analysis
      • 3.3.3 Cloud-based mobile streaming
      • 3.3.4 Major players
      • 3.3.5 Regulation
      • 3.3.6 Technology platforms
    • 3.4 Digital Economy – financial services
      • 3.4.1 The banking sector
      • 3.4.2 Trends and Developments
      • 3.4.3 Market Analyses
      • 3.4.4 Trends and developments in mobile payments
      • 3.4.5 Bitcoin
      • 3.4.6 Projects and Services
      • 3.4.7 Disrupting the insurance sector
    • 3.5 SMS – overview and statistics
      • 3.5.1 Background information on SMS
      • 3.5.2 Regulatory measures
      • 3.5.3 SMS market overview
      • 3.5.4 Overview of SMS services in Australia
      • 3.5.5 Usage statistics
  • 4. Smartphone, tablets and handset market
    • 4.1 Market overview
      • 4.1.1 Trends in mobile handset market
      • 4.1.2 4G market continues to grow
      • 4.1.3 Telstra’s T-Hub 2 – moving fixed-line customers to the future NBN
    • 4.2 Predictions into 2017 and beyond
      • 4.2.1 Smartphone data usage increasing
      • 4.2.2 Tablets and e-readers
    • 4.3 Smartphone, tablet and handset statistics
      • 4.3.1 Shipments
      • 4.3.2 Handset recycling
      • 4.3.3 Handset supplier market shares
      • 4.3.4 Smartphones and internet usage
      • 4.3.5 Tablet sales falling
      • 4.3.6 Smartwatch market
    • 4.4 Market surveys
      • 4.4.1 Overview
      • 4.4.2 Smartphones lead to higher data spend
      • 4.4.3 Smartphone users are action buyers
      • 4.4.4 Tablet usage strong but sales decline
      • 4.4.5 Android remains the favoured operating system
      • 4.4.6 Enterprise mobility market increasing in value
    • 4.5 The future of the smartphone market
      • 4.5.1 Hardware becomes a utility platform
      • 4.5.2 Platform for innovation and industry transformation
      • 4.5.3 Breaking into new markets
      • 4.5.4 Who will dominate the Wi-Fi market?
      • 4.5.5 Conclusion
    • 4.6 Wearable technology
    • Table 1 – 1800MHz auction results – February 2016
    • Table 2 – Wireless broadband subscribers by access type – 2009 - 2015
    • Table 3 – Mobile broadband subscribers by mobile network operator – 2007 - 2015
    • Table 4 – Estimated mobile broadband data downloaded in Petabytes – 2007 - 2015
    • Table 5 –Fixed wireless broadband subscribers – 2010 - 2016
    • Table 6 – Average LTE speed by MNO – 2012 - 2015
    • Table 7 – Telstra LTE data cards in service – 2010 - 2015
    • Table 8 – Preferred device for engagement, by activity – 2014
    • Table 9 – Preferred device for accessing the internet – 2013 - 2015
    • Table 10 – Customer satisfaction with mobile provider services – 2010 - 2014
    • Table 11 – Mobile phone brand ownership – 2010 - 2014
    • Table 12 – Use of mobile phones by service – 2010 - 2014
    • Table 13 – Data included in monthly plans – 2010 - 2014
    • Table 14 – Use of mobile phones by service – 2010 - 2014
    • Table 15 – Use of information services – 2010 - 2014
    • Table 16 – Tablet use of services – 2012 - 2013
    • Table 17 – Mobile data downloaded versus mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2015
    • Table 18 – Telstra mobile ARPU – 2009 – 2016
    • Table 19 – Telstra mobile prepaid and postpaid revenue – 2008 – 2016
    • Table 20 – Optus mobile revenue – 2013 – 2016
    • Table 21 – Vodafone Australia revenue – 2009 – 2015
    • Table 22 – HTA key metrics – financial overview – 2009 – 2015
    • Table 23 – Telstra SMS traffic – 2009 - 2016
    • Table 24 – Mobile Embrace key financial performance indicators – 2010 - 2016
    • Table 25 – MOKO financial data – 2010 - 2016
    • Table 26 – Enero (Photon Group) – key financial parameters – 2010 - 2015
    • Table 27 – Rapid uptake – September 2011 – March 2014
    • Table 28 – Estimated numbers of SMS sent – 2003 - 2016
    • Table 29 – Number of Telstra sent SMSs – 2005 - 2016
    • Table 30 – Proportion of mobile subscribers using SMS and IM services – 2011 - 2015
    • Table 31 – Proportion of people using smartphones for internet access – 2012 - 2016
    • Table 32 – 4G subscribers by MNO – 2012 - 2015
    • Table 33 – Internet connections via mobile handsets – 2011 - 2015
    • Table 34 – Australian handset shipments (historic) – 2004 - 2009
    • Table 35 – Australian handset shipments – 2010 - 2015
    • Table 36 – Key recycling indicators – Mobile Muster – 2006 - 2014
    • Table 37 –Australian handset brand market share – major suppliers – 2008 - 2014
    • Table 38 – Top 5 uses of mobile internet – 2009 - 2014
    • Table 39 – Estimated tablet users – 2010 - 2012; 2015 - 2016
    • Table 40 – Tablet market share by manufacturer – 2014 - 2015
    • Table 41 – Apps info and payment plan data – 2009 - 2014
    • Table 42 – Monthly phone spend on services – 2010 - 2014
    • Table 43 – Types of use on smartphones – 2012 - 2014
    • Table 44 – Smartphone and tablet use of services – 2014
    • Table 45 – Typical selected usage pattern of a smartphone user – 2011 - 2014
    • Table 46 – Typical selected usage pattern of a tablet user – 2012 - 2013
    • Table 47 – Estimated Australian platform market share – 2008 - 2016
    • Chart 1 – Overview of estimated mobile broadband data downloaded in petabytes – 2009 - 2015
    • Chart 2 – Mobile Embrace financial data – 2010 - 2016
    • Exhibit 1 – The Power of 5G
    • Exhibit 2 – Key issues for mobility industry
    • Exhibit 3 – MOKO.mobi at a glance – 2016
    • Exhibit 4 – Overview of MOKO.mobi subsidiary companies – 2016
    • Exhibit 5 – Enero at a glance – 2016
    • Exhibit 6 – Background information on Information Dialling Services (IDS)
    • Exhibit 7 – Overview of the now defunct cloud- based mobile streaming services
    • Exhibit 8 – Background information on the defunct Optus TV Now service
    • Exhibit 9 – Examples of Mobile TV technologies
    • Exhibit 10 – Broadcast Australia DVB-H trials – 2005 - 2009
    • Exhibit 11 - Participating financial institutions
    • Exhibit 12 - Key statistics for ANZ goMoney - 2014
    • Exhibit 13 – PayPal SMB Statistics – 2013
    • Exhibit 14 – Overview of Q-Jumper and Easy Canteen by mHITs

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Number of pages 121

Status Current

Last updated 13 Jul 2016
Update History

Lead Analyst: Henry Lancaster

Contributing Analysts:

Paul Budde

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