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

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

Table of Contents

  • Mobile infrastructure and mobile broadband

    • Mobile broadband
      • Market analysis
      • Mobile broadband statistics
    • Mobile infrastructure
      • 5G
      • 4G (LTE)
      • 3G based services
      • 2G services
      • VoLTE
      • Small cell technology
    • NB-IoT
    • Smartphones, tablet and handsets
      • Smartphone adoption trends
      • Smartphone usage statistics
      • Smartphone and tablet shipments
      • Handset supplier market shares
      • Tablets
      • Wearables and smartwatches
    • Mobile Spectrum overview
      • Spectrum ownership and licences
      • Fifteen-year spectrum licence pathway
      • Additional spectrum – 5G
    • Mobile spectrum auctions
      • 800MHz and 1.8GHz auctions
      • 700MHz and 2.5GHz auction results Auctions
      • 4G Auctions - 2016
      • Residual spectrum auction – 2017
      • 700 MHz spectrum auction 2017
  • Mobile subscribers, revenues and forecasts

    • Mobile subscriber statistics
      • Total mobile subscribers and market forecast
      • Mobile operator – subscriber market shares and growth
      • Prepaid and postpaid subscribers by operator
      • 2G, 3G and 4G subscribers
      • Wholesale market
      • International comparisons
    • Mobile services revenues, forecast and market analysis
    • Operator revenue statistics overview
      • Revenue by major operator
      • Revenue market share and trends by operator
      • Revenue trends by service
    • Average revenue per user (ARPU)
      • Overview of ARPU
      • Blended ARPU
      • Prepaid and postpaid ARPU
  • Mobile network operators and MVNOs

    • Mobile operator ecosystem structure
    • Market analyses
      • The rise of mobile data services
    • Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)
      • Telstra
      • Gigabit LTE
      • Optus
      • Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA)
    • Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
      • Market definition
      • Market overview
      • Market statistics
      • Historical overview
      • Amaysim
      • Kogan Mobile
      • Aldi Mobile
      • Ovo Mobile
      • Lebara Mobile
      • Boost Mobile
      • TravelSIM
      • Virgin Mobile
      • Woolworths Mobile
      • MeU Mobile
    • Closed MVNOs
      • Red Bull Mobile
    • Mobile resellers
      • Background information
      • Resellers on the Telstra network
      • Resellers on the Optus network
      • Resellers on the Vodafone network

List of Tables

  • Table 1 – Wireless broadband subscribers by access type – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 2 – Mobile broadband subscribers by mobile network operator – 2007 – 2018
  • Table 3 – Estimated mobile broadband data downloaded in Petabytes – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 4 – Proportion of people using smartphones for internet access – 2012 – 2017
  • Table 5 – Internet connections via mobile handsets – 2011 – 2018
  • Table 6 - Use of mobile phones and ownership of smartphones – 2013 – 2017
  • Table 7 - Percentage of Australians mobile-only / no fixed-line telephone at home 2013 – 2017
  • Table 8 – Historic - Australian handset shipments (historic) – 2004 – 2016
  • Table 9 – Australian handset platform market share – 2018
  • Table 10 – Historic - Australian handset brand market share – major suppliers – 2010 – 2014
  • Table 11 – Historic - Estimated tablet users – 2010 - 2012; 2015 – 2016
  • Table 12 – Historic - Tablet market share by manufacturer – 2014 – 2015
  • Exhibit 6 – Expiring spectrum allocation timetable – 2015 – 2028
  • Table 13 – Spectrum charges for spectrum bandwidth licenses
  • Table 14 – 1.8GHz spectrum auction results – 2016
  • Table 15 – 700MHz and 2.5GHz auction results – 2013
  • Table 16 – 1800MHz auction results – February 2016
  • Table 17 – Mobile subscribers, penetration and annual change (with forecast) – 2000 – 2023
  • Table 18 – Mobile subscribers (millions) by MNO (with forecast) – 2009 – 2020
  • Table 19 – Annual change of mobile subscribers by MNO – 2010 – 2020
  • Table 20 – Market share of mobile subscribers by MNO (with forecast) – 2010 – 2020
  • Table 21 – Historic - Retail mobile subscriber market share by MNO and MVNO – 2015 – 2016
  • Table 22 – Historic - Annual change of mobile subscribers by carrier – 1995; 1997; 2000 – 2009
  • Table 23 – MNO prepaid subscribers (millions) by operator – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 24 – MNO market share of prepaid subscribers – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 25 – MNO postpaid subscribers (millions) by operator – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 26 – MNO market share of postpaid subscribers – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 27 – MNO total market of prepaid and postpaid subscribers (millions) – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 28 – MNO total market proportion of prepaid and postpaid subscribers – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 29 – Prepaid as % of Total Subscribers by operator - 2009 – 2018
  • Table 30 – Postpaid as % of Total Subscribers by operator - 2009 – 2018
  • Table 31 – Historic - Share of postpaid subscribers by MNO and MVNO – 2014 – 2015
  • Table 32 – Historic Share of prepaid subscribers by MNO and MVNO – 2014 – 2015
  • Table 33 – Historic - 3G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2003 – 2011
  • Table 34 – Historic - Proportion of 3G mobile subscribers versus total subscribers by carrier – 2006 – 2011
  • Table 35 – Historic - Annual change of 3G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2007 – 2011
  • Table 36 – Historic - 2G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2006 – 2011
  • Table 37 – Historic - Annual change of 2G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2006 – 2011
  • Table 38 – Telstra wholesale subscribers – 2007 – 2018
  • Table 39 – Vodafone wholesale (MVNO) subscribers – 2014 – 2016
  • Table 40 – Total mobile services market revenue and annual change (with forecast) – 2005 – 2020
  • Table 41 – Historic - Total mobile services market revenue and annual change – 1993 – 2009
  • Table 42 – Mobile market revenue per major operator – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 43 – Mobile market revenue market share per major operator – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 44 – Annual change of mobile market revenue per major operator – 2005 – 2018
  • Table 45 – Historic - Mobile market revenue per major operator – 1993 – 2004
  • Table 46 – Historic - Annual change of mobile market revenue per major operator – 1994; 1997; 2000 - 2004
  • Table 47 – Total telecoms revenues by major providers – 2005 – 2014
  • Table 48 – Mobile market share in revenue per major operator – 2000 – 2018
  • Table 49 – Telstra mobile broadband revenue – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 50 – Blended monthly ARPU by MNO – 2000 – 2017
  • Table 51 – Telstra mobile ARPU - prepaid, postpaid, mobile broadband – 2004 – 2018
  • Table 52 – Optus mobile subscriber - Monthly ARPU – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 53 – VHA Monthly ARPU – 2015- 2018
  • Table 54 – Telstra Group - Top Line Annual Financial Results - 2005 – 2018
  • Table 55 – Telstra Group - Revenue ($billion) by Product Segment and Annual Change – 2017 – 2018
  • Table 56 – Telstra mobile prepaid and postpaid revenue – 2008 – 2018
  • Table 57 – Telstra mobile services revenue – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 58 – Telstra mobile ARPU - prepaid, postpaid, mobile broadband – 2004 – 2018
  • Table 59 – Telstra - Mobile Subscribers (millions) by prepaid, postpaid, wholesale – 2008 – 2018
  • Table 60 – Optus Group – Financial Results by Consumer Segment – 2014 – 2018
  • Table 61 – Optus mobile revenue – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 62 – Optus - mobile subscribers and annual change – 2005 – 2018
  • Table 63 – Optus -mobile pre/postpaid and mobile broadband customers (thousands) – 2008 – 2018
  • Table 64 – Optus mobile subscriber - Monthly ARPU – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 65 – Historic - Optus mobile subscribers, annual change – 1998 – 2004
  • Table 66 – Vodafone Australia revenue – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 67 – VHA Monthly ARPU – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 68 – Historic - HTA key metrics - 2009 – 2015
  • Table 69 – Historic - Monthly ARPU and by segment – 2009 – 2012
  • Table 70 – Historic - Vodafone Australia revenue – 1996; 1998 – 2008
  • Table 71 – Vodafone Australia (Group) – subscribers (millions) by type – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 72 – Historic - VHA MVNO customers – 2014 – 2016
  • Table 73 – Retail Mobile subscribers share by MNO and MVNO – 2016 – 2017
  • Table 74 – Historic - Retail Mobile subscribers share by MNO and MVNO – 2013 – 2015
  • Table 75 – Retail mobile subscriber market share by MNO and MVNO - 2015 – 2016
  • Table 76 – Amaysim Mobile subscribers and subscriber churn – 2015 – 2017

List of Charts

  • Chart 1 – Historic - PC, desktop and Mobile Device Ownership – 2016
  • Chart 2 – Mobile subscribers and penetration (with forecast) – 2007 – 2023
  • Chart 3 – Market share of mobile subscribers by MNO (with forecast) – 2009 – 2020
  • Chart 4 – MNO market share of prepaid subscribers – 2009 – 2018
  • Chart 5 – MNO market share of postpaid subscribers – 2009 – 2018
  • Chart 6 – Total mobile services market revenue and annual change (with forecast) – 2010 – 2020
  • Chart 7 – Overview of mobile revenue share per major operator – 2010 – 2018
  • Chart 8 – Optus - mobile subscribers and annual change – 2001 – 2018

List of Exhibits

  • Exhibit 1 – The initial analogue operators – brief historic background
  • Exhibit 2 – Mobile spectrum by operator in capital city and regional area
  • Exhibit 3 – GSM services by operator
  • Exhibit 4 – WCDMA services by operator
  • Exhibit 5 – Ownership of selected frequencies for 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz services
  • Exhibit 7 – MVNO models
  • Exhibit 8 – Australian MVNOs Mobile carriers – 2018
  • Exhibit 9 – Mobile carriers and selected resellers and MVNEs

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Licence Information

Annual Publication Profile

Technologies

Companies (Major Players)
Mobile & Wireless Broadband and Media
Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure)
Strategies & Analyses (Industry & Markets)

Number of pages 153

Status Current

Last updated 12 Nov 2018
Update History

Lead Analyst: Phil Harpur

Contributing Analyst:

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