Mobile broadband and internet services take off

During 2008-09, Australians continued to demonstrate their thirst for flexible communications.

Take-up continued across a range of platforms and technologies, with the use of 3G mobile and wireless broadband services growing by 162%.

At the same time, general internet use continues to grow and diversify strongly, with Australians downloading ever-increasing amounts of data and more people going online for business and personal transactions.

These are some of the highlights of the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s Communications Report 2008-09, released in January.

“Digital convergence is well and truly with us,” said Chris Chapman, Chairman of the ACMA. “During 2008-09, Australians continued to adopt new communication and media services and adapt their usage patterns to meet their specific lifestyle needs.

Services such as 3G, VoIP and wireless broadband internet are being increasingly used, with factors such as lifestyle, age and family type shaping these choices.”

Australians increasingly seek flexibility in where and how they access communications and content.

The number of mobile phone services increased by 9.5% in 2008-09 to 24.22 million, while wireless broadband services grew strongly increasing 162% to reach 2.1 million services as at 30 June 2009. This contrasts with the number of fixed-line telephone services, which declined by 3% to 10.67 million.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Growth in mobile services has been driven by a continuing surge in the take-up of 3G mobiles, with 12.28 million services in operation at June 2009 compared with 8.55 million at June 2008, reflecting in part increased 3G network coverage and handset functionality.
  • The growing importance of mobile networks as a revenue source was demonstrated in 2008-09, with all major carriers reporting mobile network revenue exceeding revenue from the public switched telephone network (PSTN).
  • There were 8.4 million internet subscribers in Australia at June 2009, up from 7.2 million at June 2008. Nearly 80% of Australians have an internet service at home, most of which (90%) are broadband enabled. Broadband (non dial-up) internet subscribers have risen from 5.66 million to 6.72 million.
  • Wireless broadband subscribers accounted for 25% of all internet subscribers at June 2009, up from 11% at June 2008.
  • During the June quarter of 2009, Australians downloaded 99,993 terabits of data compared with 55,434 terabits during the same period in 2008, a staggering 80% increase. Australians also viewed 46.6 billion web pages from home compared with 38.9 billion in 2008.
  • Online data and information services generated $1.37 billion in revenue during 2008-09 while online advertising expenditure increased by 27% to reach $1.7 billion at the end of 2008.

Source: Voice & Data