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Australia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 27 Apr 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 305

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

Publication Overview

This report covers extensive statistics and forecasts for the Australian telecoms industry over a wide range of topics including:

  • Overall Telecoms Industry segmented by major provider (including second tier markets) and by telecommunications service. 
  • Mobile and Mobile Broadband segment.
  • Smartphones, Tablets and Handset Market.
  • Fixed Broadband Market: NBN, FTTN, VDSL, FTTP, FTTB and HFC Networks.
  • Fixed Wireless and Satellite Networks.
  • Pay TV and Free-to-Air TV. 
  • Video Streaming.
  • Smart cities.
  • IoT.

Researchers:- Phil Harpur
Current publication date:- November 2019 (32nd Edition)

Executive Summary

Australia’s NBN makes slow progress

While fixed-line telephony traffic and revenue are declining, the mobile broadband market is growing steadily. Fixed-line broadband on the copper network is also declining as fibre and fixed-wireless broadband services become more widely available, through the NBN’s multi-technology architecture, with its emphasis on VDSL with Fibre-to-the Node (FttN). In time, much of the voice traffic will be data packet via technologies such as Voice over Long-term Evolution (VoLTE).

Penetration in the fixed line market in Australia has been declining at a significant and increasing rate over the past five years. A major reason for this is due to the dominance of the mobile segment and the growth of mobile broadband segment. The market is predicted to further decline over the next five years to 2024 as both mobile and mobile broadband penetration continue to increase.

The second-tier market continues to grow strongly although it has eased off to some degree during 2019. Developments in this market have been dominated by industry consolidation a process that is set to continue over coming years, despite the temporary setback after the failed Vodafone and TPG merger.

Within the Australian fixed broadband market, there is a dynamic shift among customers to fibre networks, as this infrastructure is being built out by nbn (NBN Co), the company responsible for the national broadband deployment. Australia’s broadband sector is making improved progress in its migration to a multi-technology NBN.

Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) is delivered via a multi-technology mix (MTM) to homes and businesses including: fibre to the premises (FTTP), fibre to the building (FTTB), fibre to the node (FTTN), Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC), fixed wireless and satellite.

The annual growth rate in the overall number of broadband subscribers is expected to continue to slow into 2020, with most growth coming from the mobile wireless and fibre broadband markets, due to increased uptake by the nbn is these two segments.

The DSL sector is expected to shrink as customers are migrated to the NBN in areas where services become available, while subscribers on HFC infrastructure will continue to be provided by existing cable within the NBN’s multi-technology mix. Commercial cable services based on the DOCSIS3.1 standard are anticipated in 2020.

The fixed-line broadband market continues to grow steadily as the nbn rollout gains momentum, although overall penetration is predicted to grow slowly over the next five years to 2024.

The Australian mobile market is dominated by the three major mobile network operators Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone (VHA). These have been able to offer LTE services on a wholesale basis thus encouraging growth in the LTE sector.

There is also a significant number of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) in Australia: These companies purchase wholesale mobile services from the MNOs, provide services under their own brand and typically provide their own billing and customer care. Key MVNOs in Australia include Amaysim, Kogan Mobile, Aldi Mobile, Ovo Mobile, Boost Mobile, Lebara Mobile and Virgin Mobile.

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.

By 2019 all three MNOs now provide comprehensive population coverage with their LTE networks and were well on the way to launching 5G services.

Streaming is closing in on broadcast TV. There is a rapid increase in the rate of adoption of SVOD is occurring where high-quality broadband is already available. The growth in the uptake of catch up and live traditional TV streaming services had slowed down, with SVOD penetration on track to overtake it. The NBN is accelerating this trend as the mass deployment of high-quality broadband takes place and will significantly decrease cost of delivery of SVOD.  Netflix has emerged as the SVOD dominant operator.

FOXTEL during the last few years has struggled to increase pay TV penetration in Australia. Viewing habits have also been affected by the advent of catch-up TV services, which are available from the main broadcasters. In addition, subscription video services from VOD operators such as Stan and Netflix are further eroding live TV viewing as subscribers choose instead to watch programs at a time of their choosing.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key Developments

  • The mobile broadband market is predicted to grow steadily over the next five years to 2024.
  • Fixed-line DSL broadband is declining as fibre and fixed-wireless broadband services become more widely available.
  • The second-tier market continues to grow strongly although it has eased off to some degree during 2019.
  • Consolidation within the fixed broadband market has occurred over the past few years.
  • 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.
  • The Australian IoT industry reached nearly $20 billion by 2020.
  • The driven by rising demand for smart devices, increasing demand for analytics, cloud platform adoption and growth of wireless networking technologies.
  • Foxtel will continue to lose ground to streaming media providers such as Netflix and Stan.
  • Assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector.

Key companies mentioned in this report:

Vodafone, 3, VHA, Optus, Telstra, nbn (NBN Co), iiNet, TPG, TransACT, M2, iiNet, Optus, Primus, Austar; Ericsson; Visionstream; Optus, iiNet, AUSTAR, Foxtel, Neighbourhood Cable, nbn (NBN Co), LBNCo, OPENetworks, OptiComm, RedTrain, Pivit, Fibercorp, Huawei, Telstra, Vividwireless, Ericsson, EnergyAustralia, SingTel, Unwired, Kogan Mobile, Apple, Nokia, Google, Ericsson, Samsung,

Sebastein de Rosbo

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