Australia - Mobile Communications - Subscriber Statistics

Synopsis

The high mobile penetration in Australia is reflected in the slow-down in subscriber growth seen in recent quarters. By late 2016 mobile penetration approached 143%. Although a significant proportion of subscribers make use of multiple phones or SIM cards, growth is stimulated by a steady increase in the country’s population. Operators can also expect to benefit from further migration among consumers from fixed-line to mobile telecoms, supported by the practical benefits to consumers of the improved quality of mobile data services resulting from network upgrades and the wide-scale reach of LTE infrastructure.

Telstra remains the market leader with about 17.4 million subscribers reported as of December 2016 (including mobile broadband), along with over 500,000 wholesale customers which subscribe to services offered by MVNOs on Telstra’s network. Optus had around 8.4 million subscribers at this time, in addition to over one million mobile broadband subscribers. Vodafone has arrested the long decline in its subscriber base, reporting a 2.6% year-on-year growth in its subscriber base in the year to June 2016, discounting MVNO customers. The gains indicate that the company’s significant investment in recent years, and strategy for growth under new leadership, is paying dividends.

In common with other mature markets, a high proportion of mobile subscribers remain on 3G plans. However, this sector is diminishing in line with the greater reach of LTE networks and a wider range of affordable LTE-enabled smartphones. Subscribers to 2G networks are fast becoming a historical footnote: 2G infrastructure now carries less than 1% of total network traffic for all three MNOs Telstra closed down its 2G services in December 2016, and both Optus and Vodafone will follow suite in 2017. They will redeploy physical assets and also assign spectrum for LTE and the anticipated 5G services through deploying Single RAN technologies.

This report provides the latest operator statistics as well an analysis on the overall market, including operator market shares, and an assessment of the deployment of 2G, 3G and LTE technologies as operators upgrade networks to keep pace with customer demand for high-end mobile data services. The report assesses the prepaid and postpaid segments and reviews the wholesale market.

Key developments:

LTE subscriber base showing strong growth; Vodafone reverses customer losses thanks to investment in network performance; report update includes telcos’ operating data to September 2016, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

SingTel, Vodafone, 3, VHA, Optus, Telstra.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Synopsis
  • 2. Statistical sources
  • 3. Mobile subscriber statistics
    • 3.1 Total subscribers and annual growth rates
    • 3.2 Operator market shares and growth
    • 3.3 2G, 3G and 4G subscribers
    • 3.4 Background information
    • 3.5 Prepaid and postpaid subscribers by operator
    • 3.6 Wholesale market
  • 4. Mobile Usage Stats
  • 5. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Mobile subscribers, penetration rate and annual change – 2000 - 2017
  • Table 2 – Vodafone mobile subscribers – 2009 – 2016
  • Table 3 – Telstra mobile subscribers – 2008 - 2016
  • Table 4 – Telstra active retail prepaid and contract mobile subscribers – 2011 - 2016
  • Table 5 – Optus mobile subscribers – 2008 - 2016
  • Table 6 – Historic - Annual change of mobile subscribers by carrier – 1995; 1997; 2000 - 2009
  • Table 7 – Annual change of mobile subscribers by carrier – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 8 – Retail mobile subscriber market share by carrier – 2015 - 2016
  • Table 9 – Mobile subscriber market share by carrier – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 10 – Historic - 3G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2003 - 2011
  • Table 11 – Historic - Annual change of 3G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2007 - 2011
  • Table 12 – Historic - Proportion of 3G mobile subscribers versus total subscribers by carrier – 2006 - 2011
  • Table 13 – Historic - 2G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2006 - 2011
  • Table 14 – Historic - Annual change of 2G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2006 - 2011
  • Table 15 – Average LTE speed by MNO – 2012 - 2016
  • Table 16 – Share of postpaid subscribers by operator – 2014 – 2015
  • Table 17 – Share of prepaid subscribers by operators – 2014 – 2015
  • Table 18 – Vodafone – prepaid and contract subscribers – 2009 – 2016
  • Table 19 – Optus mobile prepaid and contract customers – 2008 - 2016
  • Table 20 – Telstra mobile subscribers – 2009 - 2016
  • Table 21 – MNO share of prepaid subscribers – 2009 - 2016
  • Table 22 – MNO share of postpaid subscribers – 2009 - 2016
  • Table 23 – MNO market proportion of prepaid and contract subscribers – 2009 - 2015
  • Table 24 – Telstra wholesale subscribers – 2009 - 2016
  • Table 25 – Vodafone wholesale (MVNO) subscribers – 2014 - 2016
  • Table 26 – Mobile Usage per State – 2017
  • Chart 1 – Overview of mobile market subscribers versus population – 2005 – 2017
  • Chart 2 – Overview of annual change of mobile subscribers by carrier – 2005 – 2016
  • Chart 3 – Vodafone – prepaid and contract subscribers – 2009 – 2016
  • Chart 4 – Optus mobile prepaid and contract customers – 2008 – 2016
  • Chart 5 – Telstra mobile subscribers – 2009 – 2016
  • Exhibit 1 – Background information on the 3G race by the MNOs

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Number of pages 15

Status Current

Last updated 2 Mar 2017
Update History

Analyst: Phil Harpur

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