Australia - Mobile Market - Overview, Statistics, Forecasts, and Analyses

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 2017 (17th Edition)

Executive Summary

Australia is a world leader in the 4G and 5G mobile market ecosystem

The Australian mobile market is dominated by the three major mobile network operators (MNO) Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone (VHA). There is also a significant number of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) in Australia.

Increasingly in an era leaning further to mobile data than voice, mobile networks must offer sufficient performance for customers. The three LTE networks operated by Optus, Telstra and Vodafone have developed rapidly during the past three years as these players strive to provide an infrastructure capable of meeting customer demand for mobile broadband services.

These MNOs have invested in spectrum and network upgrades to bolster network capacity, while the geographic extension of LTE will see wider take-up from consumers in coming years. Given that about 90% of all mobile device sales are now smartphones, the growth in mobile data traffic is increasing rapidly.

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.

Mobile broadband usage in particular has taken off during the last few years, a trend which will continue in the wake of the marketing of a wide range of affordable and more capable devices, and of LTE population coverage which by 2017 had reached about 98%.

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 of below 3% since 2013. Mobile penetration is now well over 100%.

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.

Very slow growth is predicted over the next five years to 2022 with penetration rates predicted to rise only slightly above the projected population increase.

All three Australian MNOs 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.

Smartphones, and to a lesser extent tablets, have become central as a means of accessing the internet, particularly among the younger demographic. In addition, these devices are beginning to dominate overall e-commerce, accounting for about a third of e-commerce transactions. This proportion will increase further into 2018 in line with the wider availability of devices with larger screens, more mobile-friendly websites and easier payment systems. These devices account for a growing proportion of mobile data accessed and of business and commerce related transactions.

Key developments:

  • MNVO Amaysim announced the launch of its NBN products.
  • Telstra started to roll out new next-gen optical tech in its underlying transmission network.
  • Telstra and Ericsson are actively working to build momentum in the LTE-Broadcast global ecosystem.
  • Telstra has claimed a world first with the launch of a live LTE network capable of supporting 1Gbps peak download speeds.
  • Optus took a step towards 5G switching on 4.5G network services across a suburb in NSW.
  • 4.5G and 5G are the new frontiers linked to wearable device communications and other IoT and M2M activities.

Companies mentioned in this report:

SingTel, Vodafone, 3, VHA, Optus, Telstra, MeU Mobile; Amaysim, Woolworths, Crazy Johns, JB HiFi, Hutchison Australia, 3, NBN, Virgin Mobile, Aldi Mobile; Lebara, Kogan Mobile, Red Bull Mobile, Macquarie Telecom, Pivotel, Apple, Nokia, BlackBerry, HTC, Google, Ericsson, Sony, Samsung.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Mobile network operators and MNVOs
    • 1.1 Mobile Operator Ecosystem Structure
    • 1.2 Market Analyses and Emerging Trends
      • 1.2.1 The rise of mobile data Services
      • 1.2.2 Moving towards 5G and IoT
      • 1.2.3 Cutting the fixed-line cord
    • 1.3 Industry overview
      • 1.3.1 International Comparisons
      • 1.3.2 Mobile coverage black spots
      • 1.3.3 Roaming
      • 1.3.4 Mobile technology boosts productivity
    • 1.4 Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)
      • 1.4.1 Telstra
      • 1.4.2 Optus
      • 1.4.3 Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA)
    • 1.5 Network technologies
      • 1.5.1 HSPA-based services
      • 1.5.2 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
      • 1.5.3 2G services
      • 1.5.4 NB-IoT
    • 1.6 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
      • 1.6.1 Market Definition
      • 1.6.2 Market overview
      • 1.6.3 Background developments in the MVNO market
      • 1.6.4 Amaysim
      • 1.6.5 Kogan Mobile
      • 1.6.6 Aldi Mobile
      • 1.6.7 Ovo Mobile
      • 1.6.8 Lebara Mobile
      • 1.6.9 Virgin Mobile
      • 1.6.10 Woolworths Mobile
      • 1.6.11 MeU Mobile
    • 1.7 Closed MNVOs
      • 1.7.1 Red Bull Mobile
    • 1.8 Mobile resellers
      • 1.8.1 Background information
      • 1.8.2 Resellers on the Telstra network
      • 1.8.3 Resellers on the Optus network
      • 1.8.4 Resellers on the Vodafone network
  • 2. Mobile subscribers, revenues and forecasts
    • 2.1 Mobile subscriber statistics
      • 2.1.1 Total Mobile subscribers and Market Forecast
      • 2.1.2 Operator market shares and growth
      • 2.1.3 Prepaid and postpaid subscribers by operator
      • 2.1.4 2G, 3G and 4G subscribers
      • 2.1.5 Wholesale market
      • 2.1.6 International Comparisons
    • 2.2 Mobile Services Revenues, Forecast and Market Analysis
    • 2.3 Operator revenue statistics overview
      • 2.3.1 Revenue by major operator
      • 2.3.2 Revenue Market share and Trends by Operator
      • 2.3.3 Revenue Trends by Service
    • 2.4 Average revenue per user (ARPU)
      • 2.4.1 Overview of ARPU
      • 2.4.2 Blended ARPU
      • 2.4.3 Prepaid and postpaid ARPU
  • 3. Mobile broadband – statistics, LTE and 5G
    • 3.1 Market analysis
      • 3.1.1 Mobile broadband to drive structural change
      • 3.1.2 Mobile broadband slowly substitutes fixed services
    • 3.2 Mobile broadband market statistics
      • 3.2.1 Mobile broadband subscribers
      • 3.2.2 Fixed wireless broadband market
    • 3.3 High-speed mobile network Technology
      • 3.3.1 High-speed packet access (HSPA) Background information
      • 3.3.2 LTE Background information
      • 3.3.3 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
      • 3.3.4 VoLTE
      • 3.3.5 Moving from 4G to 5G
      • 3.3.6 5G developments
    • 3.4 Mobile Blackspot Program
    • 3.5 Overview of 4G frequency usage
    • 3.6 State projects
  • 4. Smartphones, Tablets and handset market
    • 4.1 Market overview
    • 4.2 Wearable technology
    • 4.3 Smartphone data usage Statistics
    • 4.4 Smartphone, tablet and handset statistics
      • 4.4.1 Smartphone and other Device Ownership
      • 4.4.2 Smartphone and tablet Shipments
      • 4.4.3 Handset supplier market shares
      • 4.4.4 Tablet sales falling
    • 4.5 Market surveys
      • 4.5.1 Smartphone Usage - 2017
      • 4.5.2 Wearables and Smartphone Survey
      • 4.5.3 Australian teenager smartphone usage
      • 4.5.4 Mobile handset Usage Trends
      • 4.5.5 Smartphones lead to higher data spend
      • 4.5.6 Smartphone users are action buyers
      • 4.5.7 Android remains the favoured operating system
      • 4.5.8 Enterprise mobility market increasing in value
  • 5. Mobile spectrum overview
    • 5.1 Overview
    • 5.2 Spectrum regulations
      • 5.2.1 Background information
      • 5.2.2 Australian Radiofrequency Plan
    • 5.3 ACMA five-year outlook – 2016 - 2020
      • 5.3.1 Spectrum demand overview
      • 5.3.2 Towards 2020 – Future spectrum requirements
      • 5.3.3 Regulatory issues
      • 5.3.4 Fifteen-year spectrum licence pathway
      • 5.3.5 Improving spectrum trading arrangements
    • 5.4 Spectrum-based services
      • 5.4.1 Mobile services
      • 5.4.2 WiMAX wireless services
      • 5.4.3 Ultra-Wideband services (UWB)
      • 5.4.4 New broadband wireless technology
    • 5.5 Spectrum ownership and licences
      • 5.5.1 Mobile spectrum
      • 5.5.2 Apparatus licences
      • 5.5.3 Unlicensed spectrum (IMS)
  • 6. Mobile spectrum auctions
    • 6.1 Introduction
    • 6.2 Digital dividend auction
      • 6.2.1 700MHz and 2.5GHz spectrum
      • 6.2.2 Competition limits
      • 6.2.3 Spectrum Auction 2017
      • 6.2.4 Price of spectrum
      • 6.2.5 Combinatorial Clock Auction (CCA) of 700MHz and 2.5GHz band
      • 6.2.6 CCA auction in 2013 with spectrum to use in 2015
      • 6.2.7 Auction Results - 2013
    • 6.3 500MHz frequency
    • 6.4 800MHz and 1.8GHz frequencies
      • 6.4.1 15-year spectrum licences up for renewal in 2013
      • 6.4.2 Auction of 1998
      • 6.4.3 Additional auction – September 1998
      • 6.4.4 Additional 800MHz auction – May 1999
      • 6.4.5 Final 800MHz auction – 2001
      • 6.4.6 1800MHz auction of 2000
      • 6.4.7 1800MHz auction - 2016
    • 6.5 1880-1920MHz (1.9GHz) frequency
      • 6.5.1 1900-1920MHz band auctions – 2007
    • 6.6 2010-2025MHz frequencies
    • 6.7 2.3GHz band
    • 6.8 Unused 2GHz spectrum
    • 6.9 3.4GHz frequencies
      • 6.9.1 Trials
      • 6.9.2 Auction announcement
      • 6.9.3 Spectrum sales - 2002, 2004, 2005
      • 6.9.4 ACMA reduces spectrum prices
    • 6.10 3G Auctions
      • 6.10.1 Overview
      • 6.10.2 Auction process – 2001
      • 6.10.3 Auction price
      • 6.10.4 Auction results – 2001
      • Table 1 – Mobile-only phone users – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 2 – GSMA mobile connectivity markers (top five countries) – 2016
      • Table 3 – Telstra LTE data cards in service – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 4 – Telstra Group - Top Line Annual Financial Results - 2005 - 2017
      • Table 5 – Telstra Group - Revenue ($billion) by Product Segment and Annual Change – 2015 - 2017
      • Table 6 – Telstra mobile subscribers – 2008 - 2017
      • Table 7 – Telstra mobile subscribers – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 8 – Overview of Optus overall operating revenue summary – 2000 - 2017
      • Table 9 – Optus key financial indicators – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 10 –Optus – Financial Result - Division – 2014 - 2017
      • Table 11 – Optus mobile subscribers, annual change – 2005 - 2017
      • Table 12 – Optus mobile pre/postpaid and mobile broadband customers (thousands) – 2008 - 2017
      • Table 13 –Optus – Key Operating Statistics - 2015 - 2017
      • Table 14 – Vodafone Australia revenue – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 15 – Vodafone Australia (Group) – subscribers (millions) by type – 2009 – 2017
      • Table 16 – VHA MVNO customers – 2014 – 2016
      • Table 17 – Retail Mobile subscribers share by MNO and MVNO – 2013 – 2015
      • Table 18 – Retail mobile subscriber market share by MNO and MVNO - 2015 - 2016
      • Table 19 – Amaysim Mobile subscribers and subscriber churn – 2015 - 2017
      • Table 20 – Mobile subscribers, penetration and annual change (with forecast) – 2000 - 2022
      • Table 21 – Mobile subscribers (millions) by MNO (with forecast) – 2009 - 2019
      • Table 22 – Annual change of mobile subscribers by MNO – 2010 - 2019
      • Table 23 – Market share of mobile subscribers by MNO (with forecast) – 2010 - 2019
      • Table 24 – Historic - Annual change of mobile subscribers by carrier – 1995; 1997; 2000 - 2009
      • Table 25 – Historic - Retail mobile subscriber market share by MNO and MNVO – 2015 - 2016
      • Table 26 – MNO prepaid subscribers (millions) by operator – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 27 – MNO market share of prepaid subscribers – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 28 – MNO postpaid subscribers (millions) by operator – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 29 – MNO market share of postpaid subscribers – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 30 – MNO total market of prepaid and postpaid subscribers (millions) – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 31 – MNO total market proportion of prepaid and postpaid subscribers – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 32 – Prepaid as % of Total Subscribers by Operator - 2009 - 2017
      • Table 33 – Postpaid as % of Total Subscribers by Operator - 2009 - 2017
      • Table 34 – Historic - Share of postpaid subscribers by MNO and MNVO – 2014 – 2015
      • Table 35 – Historic Share of prepaid subscribers by MNO and MNVO – 2014 – 2015
      • Table 36 – Historic - 3G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2003 - 2011
      • Table 37 – Historic - Annual change of 3G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2007 - 2011
      • Table 38 – Historic - Proportion of 3G mobile subscribers versus total subscribers by carrier – 2006 - 2011
      • Table 39 – Historic - 2G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2006 - 2011
      • Table 40 – Historic - Annual change of 2G mobile subscribers by carrier – 2006 - 2011
      • Table 41 – Telstra wholesale subscribers – 2009 - 2016
      • Table 42 – Vodafone wholesale (MVNO) subscribers – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 43 – Total mobile services market revenue and annual change (with forecast) – 2005 - 2019
      • Table 44 – Historic - Total mobile services market revenue and annual change – 1993 - 2009
      • Table 45 – Telstra mobile services revenue – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 46 – Telstra mobile prepaid and postpaid revenue – 2008 – 2017
      • Table 47 – Vodafone Australia revenue – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 48 – Optus mobile revenue – 2013 – 2017
      • Table 49 – Annual change of mobile market revenue per major operator – 2005 - 2017
      • Table 50 – Historic - Mobile market revenue per major operator – 1993 - 2004
      • Table 51 – Historic - Annual change of mobile market revenue per major operator – 1994; 1997; 2000 - 2004
      • Table 52 – Mobile market share in revenue per major operator – 2000 - 2017
      • Table 53 – Telstra mobile and broadband revenue – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 54 – Blended monthly ARPU by MNO – 2000 - 2017
      • Table 55 – Telstra mobile ARPU - prepaid, postpaid, mobile broadband – 2004 – 2017
      • Table 56 – Optus postpaid ARPU per month – 2004 - 2017
      • Table 57 – VHA Monthly ARPU – 2015- 2016
      • Table 58 – Wireless broadband subscribers by access type – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 59 – Mobile broadband subscribers by mobile network operator – 2007 - 2017
      • Table 60 – Estimated mobile broadband data downloaded in Petabytes – 2007 - 2017
      • Table 61 –Fixed wireless broadband subscribers – 2010 - 2017
      • Table 62 – Average LTE speed by MNO – 2012 - 2016
      • Table 63 - 1800MHz auction results – February 2016
      • Table 64 – Proportion of people using smartphones for internet access – 2012 - 2017
      • Table 65 – Internet connections via mobile handsets – 2011 - 2017
      • Table 66 – Australian handset shipments (historic) – 2004 - 2009
      • Table 67 – Australian handset shipments – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 68 – Historic - Australian handset brand market share – major suppliers – 2008 - 2014
      • Table 69 – Estimated tablet users – 2010 - 2012; 2015 - 2016
      • Table 70 – Tablet market share by manufacturer – 2014 - 2015
      • Table 71 – Apps info and payment plan data – 2009 - 2014
      • Table 72 – Monthly phone spend on services – 2010 - 2014
      • Table 73 – Types of use on smartphones – 2012 - 2014
      • Table 74 – Smartphone and tablet use of services – 2014
      • Table 75 – Typical selected usage pattern of a smartphone user – 2011 - 2014
      • Table 76 – Estimated Australian platform market share – 2008 - 2016
      • Exhibit 10 – Expiring spectrum allocation timetable – 2015 - 2028
      • Table 77 – The 500MHz spectrum licences – 1997
      • Table 78 – Spectrum charges for spectrum bandwidth licenses
      • Chart 1 – Overall Optus overall operating revenue and annual change – 2001 - 2017
      • Chart 2 – Optus mobile subscribers and annual change – 2001 - 2017
      • Chart 3 – Optus mobile pre/postpaid customers – 2008 – 2017
      • Chart 4 – Mobile subscribers and penetration (with forecast) – 2007 - 2022
      • Chart 5 – Market share of mobile subscribers by MNO (with forecast) – 2010 - 2019
      • Chart 6 – Market share of mobile subscribers by MNO (with forecast) – 2010 - 2019
      • Chart 7 – MNO market share of prepaid subscribers – 2009 - 2017
      • Chart 8 – MNO market share of postpaid subscribers – 2009 - 2017
      • Chart 9 – Total mobile services market revenue and annual change (with forecast) – 2010 - 2019
      • Chart 10 – Overview of mobile revenue share per major operator – 2000 - 2017
      • Chart 11 – PC, desktop and Mobile Device Ownership - 2016
      • Exhibit 1 – The initial analogue operators – brief historic background
      • Exhibit 2 – MVNO models
      • Exhibit 3 – MVNO opportunities
      • Exhibit 4 – Examples of key MVNO customer segments
      • Exhibit 5 – Mobile carriers and selected resellers and MVNEs
      • Exhibit 6 – The Power of 5G
      • Exhibit 7 – 700MHz reallocation – 2011 - 2014
      • Exhibit 8 – Digital dividend spectrum
      • Exhibit 9 – Proposed 2.5GHz reallocation – 2011 - 2016
      • Exhibit 11 – Allocations for wireless access services (WAS)
      • Exhibit 12 – Mobile spectrum by operator in capital city and regional area
      • Exhibit 13 – GSM services by operator
      • Exhibit 14 – WCDMA services by operator
      • Exhibit 15 – Ownership of selected frequencies for 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz services
      • Exhibit 16 – An overview of the digital dividend auction timeline – 2010 - 2015
      • Exhibit 17 – 700MHz and 2.5GHz auction results – 2013
      • Exhibit 18 – Companies initially showing interest in the 800/1800MHz auctions
      • Exhibit 19 – Auction results
      • Exhibit 20 –1.8GHz spectrum auction results - 2000
      • Exhibit 21 –1.8GHz spectrum auction results - 2016
      • Exhibit 22 – The 1900-1920MHzGHz spectrum auction results
      • Exhibit 23 – The 2.3GHz spectrum auction results – 2011
      • Exhibit 24 – 3.4GHz initial bidders – August 2000
      • Exhibit 25 – Final 3.4GHz – October 2000
      • Exhibit 26 – 3G auction results per bidder – 2001

Related Reports

Annual Publication Profile

Technologies

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

Number of pages 110

Status Current

Last updated 8 Nov 2017
Update History

Lead Analyst: Phil Harpur

Contributing Analyst:

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