Australia - Mobile Communications - Subscriber Statistics
The high mobile penetration in Australia is reflected in the slow-down in subscriber growth seen in recent quarters. By late 2016 mobile penetration approached 143%. Although a significant proportion of subscribers make use of multiple phones or SIM cards, growth is stimulated by a steady increase in the country's population. Operators can also expect to benefit from further migration among consumers from fixed-line to mobile telecoms, supported by the practical benefits to consumers of the improved quality of mobile data services resulting from network upgrades and the wide-scale reach of LTE infrastructure.
Telstra remains the market leader with about 17.4 million subscribers reported as of December 2016 (including mobile broadband), along with over 500,000 wholesale customers which subscribe to services offered by MVNOs on Telstra's network. Optus had around 8.4 million subscribers at this time, in addition to over one million mobile broadband subscribers. Vodafone has arrested the long decline in its subscriber base, reporting a 2.6% year-on-year growth in its subscriber base in the year to June 2016, discounting MVNO customers. The gains indicate that the company's significant investment in recent years, and strategy for growth under new leadership, is paying dividends.
In common with other mature markets, a high proportion of mobile subscribers remain on 3G plans. However, this sector is diminishing in line with the greater reach of LTE networks and a wider range of affordable LTE-enabled smartphones. Subscribers to 2G networks are fast becoming a historical footnote: 2G infrastructure now carries less than 1% of total network traffic for all three MNOs Telstra closed down its 2G services in December 2016, and both Optus and Vodafone will follow suite in 2017. They will redeploy physical assets and also assign spectrum for LTE and the anticipated 5G services through deploying Single RAN technologies.
This report provides the latest operator statistics as well an analysis on the overall market, including operator market shares, and an assessment of the deployment of 2G, 3G and LTE technologies as operators upgrade networks to keep pace with customer demand for high-end mobile data services. The report assesses the prepaid and postpaid segments and reviews the wholesale market.
LTE subscriber base showing strong growth; Vodafone reverses customer losses thanks to investment in network performance; report update includes telcos' operating data to September 2016, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
SingTel, Vodafone, 3, VHA, Optus, Telstra.