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Australia’s MVNOs now accessing the world’s fastest LTE networks
The three LTE networks operated by Optus, Telstra and Vodafone have been developed rapidly during the past two years. These MNOs are striving to provide an infrastructure capable of meeting customer demand for mobile broadband services, and are also preparing for the possibilities anticipated through the deployment of 5G within the next few years. Telstra continues to be a global leader in mobile services, being a partner with Ericsson in developing 5G. The two companies have demonstrated 1Gb/s capabilities over a commercial LTE network using carrier aggregation technology, and will use the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Queensland to trial a range of technologies. Increasingly in an era leaning further to mobile data than voice, these networks must offer sufficient performance for customers. These developments have propelled Australia in global league tables, with the country having recorded the fastest peak mobile broadband speeds globally.
Optus and Telstra have been able to utilise their 700MHz spectrum assets since early 2015, with which they aim to provide about 98% population coverage by the end of 2016. Vodafone is relying on upgrades to its existing concessions, and provides about 95% coverage in metro areas. The auction of unused spectrum in the 1800MHz band in February 2016 will further improve the ability of MNOs to extend their LTE services. As a result of these developments the mobile market has seen a steady migration of subscribers from 3G to LTE.
Upgraded networks face daunting data demands from customers, many of whom make use of data-intensive graphics, videos and files shared across the networks. In addition, popular OTT services such as Netflix, a company which alone had attracted about five million customers by June 2016, provide streaming of content over mobile devices. While networks can at times be strained, the MNOs are continually adding capabilities and applications in an effort to reduce their overall costings. Customer preference for Wi-Fi from homes and workplaces has meant that mobile broadband traffic is largely offloaded to fixed-line infrastructure. Given that about 90% of all mobile device sales are now smartphones, the growth in mobile data traffic is increasing rapidly. In the year to December 2015 mobile data traffic grew 21% year-on-year.
The market among providers has seen some changes over the last few years as company mergers and acquisitions bring consolidation to the industry. The major mobile media players are becoming digital media providers as they provide access to their services via mobile devices.
While the SMS service remains popular there is also increasing competition from OTT services such as WhatsApp, Skype, Viber and built-in messaging services from the likes of Facebook and other social media providers. The preponderance of bundled plans which include a large number of texts and voice minutes has also helped to retain the popularity of messaging, though at the expense of SMS revenue for operators.
This report provides an overview of the mobile broadband market in Australia and analyses key market trends. It includes updated statistics, industry estimates and forecasts as well as data and developments involving the major mobile media providers and mobile content services. Also included is information from the ACMA’s 2015 report on mobile broadband productivity.
Australia rated with the highest mobile broadband speed globally;
Comms Alliance calls for flexibility in spectrum management;
Growing number of MVNOs offering LTE services;
Telstra and Ericsson to use Commonwealth Games to trial 5G capabilities;
Telstra launches five-band carrier aggregation;
Mobile data traffic expected to grow six-fold to 2018;
Optus and Telstra aiming for 98.5% population coverage with LTE by end-2016;
Mobile broadband a significant contributor to economic growth;
Spectrum auction in the 1800MHz band;
Report update includes telcos’ operating data to Q1 2016, ACMA market report 2015, TIO’s 2015 annual report; Sensis survey 2015, ABS data to December 2015, Akamai broadband survey data to Q4 2015, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
VHA, Vodafone, 3, Optus, Huawei, Telstra, Vividwireless, Ericsson, EnergyAustralia, SingTel, Unwired, SingTel, Vodafone, 3, VHA, Optus, Telstra, BigAir, vividwireless, Unwired, nbn (NBN Co), TPG.
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