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Australia - Mobile Broadband & Media

This annual report provides the reader with a through overview of the mobile broadband and media market in Australia in 2009 and shares important analysis of the market in 2010 and beyond.


BuddeComm’s Mobile Broadband and Media annual publication profiles critical elements of the mobile broadband and mobile media sectors in Australia. It provides an overview of the major mobile broadband technologies in use in Australia, as well as analysis and other information relating to the use of mobile broadband media.

All the major mobile broadband providers, Telstra, Optus and VHA (Vodafone and 3) have recently completed upgrades to their mobile networks based on HSPA technologies. High-speed mobile broadband coverage has also been expanded to numerous regional centres in Australia in 2009. In many of these centres broadband over mobile networks is the only alternative to relatively expensive services provided by the largest Australian telecommunications company, Telstra.

As such, competition between fixed-line broadband operators and mobile operators in Australia is likely to intensify in the second half of 2009 and 2010. The outcome of this battle will be critical to the broader domestic telecommunications industry. If mobile broadband operators can effectively compete with fixed-line competitors in providing affordable, moderate-speed broadband, then this will increase downward pressure on revenue earned by fixed-line operators over the next five years.

This report provides an analysis of the prospects for the various mobile network operators. It also examines mobile operators’ efforts with respect to content. The statistical sections of this report provide selected data on SMS and other mobile media services.

Key highlights:

  • Globally, the Australian mobile wireless market holds quite a unique position in 2009. Fixed-line broadband is less developed in Australia than in other western countries. Its availability is not yet widespread, and speeds are lower than those available to consumers in other developed markets. High prices, and in particular restrictive data caps, are making these fixed-line broadband services less attractive.
  • Although prices have fallen over the last two years, and smaller operators Vodafone and 3 have initially led the market in this respect, services still remain too expensive for the majority of the mass market. It certainly is taking off among the business market and the top-end of the residential market, particularly among professional people.
  • Mobile data traffic grew steadily in 2008 and this trend is continuing in 2009 albeit at a slightly slower rate. Growth in 2009 will continue to be driven by increasing take-up of capped mobile data tariffs offered by all the major network operators and the increasing availability of compelling mobile web services and content.
  • Mobile web centric devices have grown more popular in Australia and the success of the iPhone has generated a competitive response from rival handset makers which is further stimulating the market.
  • The merger of Vodafone and 3’s operations in Australia 2009 will create a significant third force in the mobile broadband market. The combined firm brings together two companies each with a strong mobile Internet brand and a focus on providing competitively priced mobile broadband. Both are popular among the youth segments of the market and combined may be a larger force in the business market too. As such VHA, as the merged firm will be known, is likely to outperform industry peers Optus and Telstra.
  • The majority of Australian mobile Internet traffic in 2009 will remain to mobile operator portals and affiliated content providers such as free-to-air and pay TV broadcasters.
  • However, in the longer term data usage trends are likely to be heavily influenced by handsets. In 2009 and 2010 a number of devices competing with the Apple iPhone will be introduced by rival handset makers, in particular Nokia, LG, Samsung and HTC.
  • Apple’s iPhone and Google’s mobile web applications pose a clear threat to telecommunications operators. For over a decade mobile phone operators have refused to provide better business models that would see their users moving over from traditional voice to data-based usage. Now events may overtake them as mobile web service providers gain control of the subscriber by providing increasingly innovative, useful and affordable services.
  • With respect to advertising on mobiles, the key advantage mobile web media has over certain traditional formats is the ability to target advertising based on the specific profile of the viewer. The hope is that targeted advertisements will be more effective than the non-focussed equivalent, enabling advertisers to make more effective use of their advertising budgets while simultaneously enabling the industry to command a higher margin when placing advertisements.
Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

1. Mobile Broadband in Australia in 2009
1.1 Introduction
1.1.1 Mobile broadband in Australia
1.2 Market issues and forecasts
1.2.1 Market overview in 2009 & 2010
1.2.2 Key trends and developments
1.2.3 Market forecasts
2. Technology Developments, HSPA & LTE
2.1 High-speed mobile networks
2.1.1 High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA)
2.1.2 Long-term evolution (LTE)
2.2 Australian mobile network operators
2.2.1 Telstra
2.2.2 Hutchison
2.2.3 Vodafone
2.2.4 Optus
2.3 Mobile data market
2.3.1 Overview and analysis
2.3.2 4G LTE and 3G HSPA at 42Mb/s
2.3.3 3G HSDPA steaming ahead
2.3.4 Neutral broadband connections for HSDPA
3. Mobile Media
3.1 Statistics, revenues
3.1.1 Introduction
3.1.2 The AIMIA Mobile Traffic Trend Report
3.1.3 Ericsson’s Executive Exchange
3.1.4 Revenue statistics
3.2 Market analyses
3.2.1 The mobile content market in 2009
3.2.2 The market for mobile digital media
3.2.3 Operators have lost the content battle - analysis
3.2.4 New marketing and distribution models
3.2.5 Mobile TV
3.3 Products and services
3.3.1 Mobile media products and services
3.3.2 Analysis
3.4 Mobile TV
3.4.1 What is mobile TV?
3.4.2 Market overview and analysis
3.4.3 Major players
3.4.4 Regulation
3.4.5 Technology platforms
4. M-Commerce
4.1 Overview and analysis of m-commerce in Australia
4.1.1 Issues impacting development of m-commerce in Australia
4.2 M-commerce services
4.2.1 Mobile payments
4.2.2 Mobile banking
4.2.3 Mobile advertising and marketing
4.2.4 Other m-commerce services
5. Prepaid Payment Market
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Major players in Australia
5.2.1 e-pay Australia
5.2.2 Web-based services
5.2.3 Bill Express Limited (defunct)
5.3 Market developments
5.3.1 Prepaid mobile data in 2009 and 2010
5.3.2 Mobile prepaid
5.3.3 Rechargeable calling cards (swipe cards)
5.3.4 Retail outlets
5.3.5 Card and PIN (scratch cards)
5.3.6 Other recharge models
5.3.7 Prepaid open to misuse
5.3.8 New electronic recharge cards
5.3.9 New markets
5.3.10 Electronic gift cards (open loop cards)
5.4 Revenue overview
6. SMS
6.1 Overview & statistics
6.1.1 Introduction
6.1.2 SMS market overview
6.1.3 SMS services in Australia
6.1.4 Usage statistics
6.2 Premium rate SMS
6.2.1 The market in 2009
6.2.2 Subscription-based services
6.2.3 Key players
6.2.4 Premium SMS revenues
6.2.5 Premium rate services
7. Glossary of Abbreviations
List of Tables and Exhibits
Table 1 - Mobile traffic growth, selected major Australian mobile Internet sites - 2008 - 2009
Table 2 - Industry opinion regarding control of mobile content - 2008
Table 3 - Telstra average data revenue per user per month - 2005 - 2010
Table 4 - Estimated mobile data ARPU per customer by operator - 2009
Table 5 - Estimated mobile data revenue by operator - 2009
Table 6 - Estimated total mobile data revenue - 2008 - 2012
Table 7 - Estimated market share: electronic mobile payments of total prepaid - 2002 - 2010
Table 8 - Estimated market share of major electronic payment providers - 2009
Table 9 - Estimated electronic payment market revenues - 2007 - 2011
Table 10 - Estimated breakdown of prepaid electronic payment market revenues - 2009
Table 11 - Forecast sent SMS messages - 2003 - 2012
Table 12 - Telstra SMS messages sent per annum - 2005 - 2009
Table 13 - PSMS market revenues - 2004 - 2009
Table 14 - PSMS estimated market share by operator - 2009
Exhibit 1 - Industry opinion regarding mobile opportunities
Exhibit 2 - Media companies are ready for mobile business, but channel-specific requirements are a challenge for them
Exhibit 3 - Mobile facts and figures
Exhibit 4 - What users want
Exhibit 5 - Key applications from data pack users
Exhibit 6 - Broadcast Australia DVB-H trials - 2005 - 2009
Exhibit 7 - Revenue mix PSMS
Exhibit 8 - Micro-payments examples

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