The use of mobile broadband in Australia has expanded rapidly in recent quarters in line with the expansion of LTE networks, which by mid-2015 reached about 90% population coverage, or 95% in metro areas. By June 2015 there were more than six million mobile broadband subscribers in Australia, a growing proportion of them on the LTE networks of Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. 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 more than 80% of all mobile device sales are now smartphones, the growth in mobile data traffic is increasing rapidly. In the six months June 2015 mobile data traffic grew 36% year-on-year, with the average mobile subscribers accounting for 1.1GB pr month.
In addition to mobile broadband, Wi-Fi has seen a resurgence as players respond to customer demand for connectivity. Telstra has rekindled its Wi-Fi ambitions, launching Air Wi-Fi in June 2015, and aiming to have about 8,000 hotspots made available. Through its partnership with Fon, Telstra customers can have access to about two million hotspots nationally and about 15 million globally.
To address the shortage of spectrum, the ACMA has reallocated available spectrum in several bands for LTE use. In June 2015 the government announced that spectrum in the 17251785MHz and 18201880MHz ranges in regional Australia would be reallocated through new licences. The auction for licences, to be held at the end of November 2015, are aimed at improving LTE services in regional Australia.
This report provides an overview of the mobile broadband market in Australia, including updated statistics, industry estimates and forecasts, and analyses of key market trends. It also includes data from the ACMA's 2014 report on mobile broadband productivity. Information on the major operators in the fixed-wireless market is covered in a separate: Australia - Mobile Broadband - Major Operators.
Mobile broadband a significant contributor to economic growth; iiNet announces plans to deploy up to 30,000 Wi-Fi hotpots in capital cities; Telstra launches Air Wi-Fi network; Victorian government plans to offer a free Wi-Fi service to three cities; Optus trials TD-LTE broadband using the 2300MHz band; spectrum auction in the 1800MHz band; VHA expands LTE coverage to 95% of the metro population; m-payment and m-banking developments, Globalgig network updates, Queensland, Tasmania and South Australian wireless contract developments, ABS data to June 2015, recent market developments.