The mobile communications market in Australia has seen considerable activity in the last year from mobile network operators, with the results of that activity still coming to fruition. Yet some of the market-changing forces driving developments 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 operator returns from subscribers.
The mobile handset market is being driven by consumer uptake of smartphones, which is encouraging mobile broadband usage. It is also encouraging the further development of over-the-top applications, which are depriving MNOs of their traditional income streams.
Total mobile services revenue was expected to have reached over $18 billion in 2013. Further growth is anticipated for 2014 but will be moderate given the introduction of lower network termination rates and the falling costs of monthly mobile broadband packages. There is still an opportunity of growth from the emerging 4G sector which has seen devices and phones released from Telstra, with Optus becoming a serious contender and Vodafone having also entered the fray in mid-2013. The activity of these MNOs will result in further revenue growth in mobile data services as more consumers migrate from 3G to LTE offerings. However, competition among operators will reduce their ability to charge premium rates for 4G services, and so mobile data revenue will not be proportional to growth in data traffic.
One of the key issues for the industry moving beyond 2015 is the desperate need for more spectrum required to keep up with demand for mobile broadband services and the traffic carried on networks.
Optus, Telstra, Vodafone Hutchison Australia.
Hot topics and technologies mentioned
SMS, mobile, mobile content, mobile services, mobile broadband, smartphones, spectrum.
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