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)
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.
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.
Number of pages 121
Last updated 13 Jul 2016
Lead Analyst: Henry Lancaster
Paul has been a relentless advocate and tireless activist for making the world a more connected place.
His passion for broadband and his firm belief in its transformational impact on societies across the globe is unrivalled.
I am honoured to call Paul a friend and I trust he will keep up the fight for better broadband and better access to broadband for all people, wherever they live and whatever their background, into the future.
Senator Stephen Conroy, former Communications Minister and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate
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