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Australia-Mobile Infrastructure

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Australia’s MNOs prepare for migration to 5G

The Australian mobile market is dominated by the three major mobile network operators Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone (VHA), though there are numerous MVNOs which have a significant market share. MVNOs have been able to offer LTE services on a wholesale basis since early 2016, thus encouraging growth in the LTE sector and cementing the role which MVNOs play in the overall market.

Operators provide a full range of services essential for commerce as well as communication and social networking. Voice services remain a staple for revenue, though in terms of revenue share voice is steadily losing ground to various forms of mobile data. Mobile broadband usage has taken off during the last few years, a trend which will continue in the wake of the marketing of a wide range of affordable and more capable devices, and of LTE population coverage which by the end of 2016 had reached about 98%. 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.

Although mobile penetration was about 143% at the close of 2016, it continues to rise as users make use of multiple SIM cards and connected devices. Under competitive pressure, MNOs must find innovative business models and services, and provide attractive bundles to increase revenue.

To address poor services in rural areas, the government has progressed with its Mobile Black Spot Programs, funded by the federal and state governments as well as by MNOs. Deployment for the second round will start in 2017, and the work to deploy several hundred new or upgraded base stations is expected to be completed by 2018.

Telstra remains the market leader with about 17.2 million subscribers reported as of June 2016 (including mobile broadband), while Optus had around 8.41 million subscribers as of September 2016. 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.

Pressure on pricing will continue to place a strain on operator revenue into fiscal 2017, with revenue from mobile data services failing to offset the sharpening decline in revenue from voice services. This is being exacerbated by the popularity of OTT services which has led to a fall in SMS traffic and revenue. In addition OTT services are helping to reduce voice traffic volume, while with VoLTE technologies voice traffic is rendered as data.

The three LTE networks operated by Optus, Telstra and Vodafone have developed rapidly during the past two years as these players strive to provide an infrastructure capable of meetings customer demand for mobile broadband services. 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 including a prototype 5G.

Key developments:

Details of Round 2 Black Spot Program;

Vodafone switches LTE data traffic to new core network, reports growth in revenue and subscribers into 2016;

MNOS launch VoLTE services;

Telstra commits to $5 billion mobile spend over three years;

Smartphone sales drop in response to market saturation;

Telstra closes down its 2G network;

Lycamobile providing LTE services through Telstra Wholesale;

Australia rated with the highest mobile broadband speed globally;

Kogan Mobile providing LTE on Vodafone’s network;

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;

Report update includes telcos’ operating data to Q3 2016, ACMA market report 2015, TIO’s 2016 annual report; market surveys into 2016, ABS data to June 2016, Akamai broadband survey data to Q2 2016, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

MeU Mobile; Amaysim, Woolworths, Crazy Johns, JB HiFi, Telstra, Optus, VHA, Hutchison Australia, 3, nbn, Virgin Mobile, Aldi Mobile; Huawei, Lebara, AAPT, Kogan Mobile, GRLmobile, Red Bull Mobile, Macquarie Telecom, Boost Tel, Pivotel, Globalstar, SingTel, Vividwireless, Ericsson, EnergyAustralia, Unwired, Apple, Nokia, BlackBerry, HTC, Google, Sony, Samsung, Mobile Muster, Motorola.


Table Of Content


1. Industry overview

1.1 Background information

1.1.1 Subscriber statistics

1.1.2 Intensifying market competition

1.1.3 Mobile coverage black spots

1.1.4 Roaming

1.1.5 NBN as backhaul

1.1.6 Mobile technology boosts productivity

1.1.7 Cutting the fixed-line cord

1.1.8 Data mining the next driver of mobile revenue

1.2 Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)

1.2.1 Telstra

1.2.2 Optus

1.2.3 Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA)

1.3 Network technologies

1.3.1 HSPA-based services

1.3.2 Long-term Evolution (LTE)

1.3.3 2G services

1.4 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)

1.4.1 Background on the MVNO sector

1.4.2 Market overview

1.4.3 Other developments in the MVNO market

1.4.4 Amaysim

1.4.5 Red Bull Mobile

1.4.6 Kogan Mobile

1.4.7 Aldi Mobile

1.4.8 Lebara Mobile

1.4.9 Macquarie Telecom

1.4.10 Virgin Mobile

1.4.11 Woolworths Mobile

1.4.12 MeU Mobile

1.5 Mobile resellers

1.5.1 Background information

1.5.2 Resellers on the Telstra network

1.5.3 Resellers on the Optus network

1.5.4 Resellers on the Vodafone network

1.6 Mobile Virtual Network Enablers (MVNEs)

1.6.1 Background information

1.6.2 Pivotel

2. Mobile retail market

2.1 An overview of the mobile retail market

2.1.1 Major retail categories

2.1.2 Retail margins

2.1.3 Retail revenue

2.1.4 Consolidation

2.1.5 The move from prepaid to postpaid

2.1.6 Mobile broadband (separate report)

2.1.7 Superior customer care to come from a new TCP Code

2.1.8 Mobile calling plan standardisation a start to a clearer choice

2.1.9 Replacement market

2.1.10 Wholesale aggregators

2.2 Major mobile retail companies

2.2.1 Background information

2.2.2 Vertically integrated operators

2.2.3 Independents retailing services exclusively for mobile operators

2.2.4 Independents retailing services for a variety of network operators

3. Statistical overview of the mobile market

3.1 Revenue overview and statistics

3.1.1 Statistical sources

3.1.2 Total mobile services revenue and forecasts

3.1.3 Operator revenue statistics overview

3.1.4 Average revenue per user (ARPU)

3.2 Subscriber statistics

3.2.1 Mobile subscriber statistics

4. Mobile infrastructure

4.1 Spectrum overview

4.1.1 Overview

4.1.2 Spectrum regulations

4.1.3 ACMA five-year outlook 2016-2020

4.1.4 Spectrum-based services

4.1.5 Spectrum ownership and licences

4.2 Spectrum auctions

4.2.1 Introduction

4.2.2 Digital dividend auction 2013

4.2.3 500MHz frequency

4.2.4 800MHz and 1.8GHz frequencies

4.2.5 1880-1920MHz (1.9GHz) frequency

4.2.6 2010-2025MHz frequencies

4.2.7 2.3GHz band

4.2.8 Unused 2GHz spectrum

4.2.9 3.4GHz frequencies

4.2.10 3G Auctions

4.3 LTE and 5G infrastructure

4.3.1 High-speed packet access (HSPA)

4.3.2 Long-term Evolution (LTE)

4.3.3 VoLTE

4.3.4 Moving from 4G to 5G

4.3.5 5G developments

5. Mobile satellite services

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Second generation satellites with Globalstar to benefit rural Australians

5.3 Public subsidies and regulation

5.3.1 Overview

5.3.2 Mobile satellite service band plan

5.3.3 Mobile satellite phone subsidies

5.3.4 Overview of operators

6. Smartphones, tablets and handset market

6.1 Market overview

6.1.1 Trends in mobile handset market

6.1.2 4G market continues to grow

6.1.3 Telstra's T-Hub 2 moving fixed-line customers to the future NBN

6.2 Predictions into 2017 and beyond

6.2.1 Smartphone data usage increasing

6.2.2 Tablets and e-readers

6.3 Smartphone, tablet and handset statistics

6.3.1 Shipments

6.3.2 Handset recycling

6.3.3 Handset supplier market shares

6.3.4 Smartphones and internet usage

6.3.5 Tablet sales

6.3.6 Smartwatch market

6.4 Market surveys

6.4.1 Overview

6.4.2 Smartphones lead to higher data spend

6.4.3 Smartphone users are action buyers

6.4.4 Tablet usage strong but sales decline

6.4.5 Android remains the favoured operating system

6.4.6 Enterprise mobility market increasing in value

6.5 The future of the smartphone market

6.5.1 Hardware becomes a utility platform

6.5.2 Platform for innovation and industry transformation

6.5.3 Breaking into new markets

6.6 Wearable technology

List Of Figure

Chart 1 Mobile market subscribers, penetration rate and annual change 2005-2017

Chart 2 Mobile subscriber gains and losses by MNO 2010 2016

Chart 3 Optus mobile pre/postpaid customers 2008 2016

Chart 4 Telstra mobile services revenue 2009 2016

Chart 5 Overview of Vodafone Australia revenue 2009-2016

Chart 6 Optus key financial indicators 2009 2017

Chart 7 Overview of mobile revenue share per major operator 2000-2016

Chart 8 Telstra mobile and broadband revenue 2010 2016

Chart 9 Overview of blended monthly ARPU by MNO 2005-2016

Chart 10 Overview of mobile market subscribers versus population 2005 2017

Chart 11 Overview of annual change of mobile subscribers by carrier 2005-2015

Chart 12 Vodafone prepaid and contract subscribers 2009 2016

Chart 13 Optus mobile prepaid and contract customers 2008 2016

Chart 14 Telstra mobile subscribers 2009 2016

Exhibit 1 The initial analogue operators brief historic background

Exhibit 2 MVNO models

Exhibit 3 MVNO opportunities

Exhibit 4 Examples of key MVNO customer segments

Exhibit 5 Mobile carriers and selected resellers and MVNEs

Exhibit 6 An overview of Boost Tel

Exhibit 7 Background information on the 3G race by the MNOs

Exhibit 8 700MHz reallocation 2011-2014

Exhibit 9 Digital dividend spectrum

Exhibit 10 Proposed 2.5GHz reallocation 2011-2016

Exhibit 12 Allocations for wireless access services (WAS)

Exhibit 13 Mobile spectrum by operator in capital city and regional area

Exhibit 14 GSM services by operator

Exhibit 15 WCDMA services by operator

Exhibit 16 Ownership of selected frequencies for 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz services

Exhibit 17 An overview of the digital dividend auction timeline 2010-2015

Exhibit 18 700MHz and 2.5GHz auction results 2013

Exhibit 19 Companies initially showing interest in the 800/1800MHz auctions

Exhibit 20 Auction results

Exhibit 21 1.8GHz spectrum auction results-2000

Exhibit 22 1.8GHz spectrum auction results-2016

Exhibit 23 The 1900-1920MHzGHz spectrum auction results

Exhibit 24 The 2.3GHz spectrum auction results 2011

Exhibit 25 3.4GHz initial bidders August 2000

Exhibit 26 Final 3.4GHz October 2000

Exhibit 27 3G auction results per bidder 2001

Exhibit 28 The Power of 5G

List Of Table

Table 1 GSMA mobile connectivity markers (top five countries) 2016

Table 2 Mobile subscribers, penetration rate and annual change 2000-2017

Table 3 Total mobile services market revenue and annual change 2010 2016

Table 4 Mobile subscriber gains and losses by MNO 2009 2014

Table 5 Mobile-only phone users 2010-2016

Table 6 Telstra-overview of mobile subscribers 2008-2016

Table 7 Optus revenue 2012-2017

Table 8 Optus mobile revenue 2013-2017

Table 9 Optus mobile pre/postpaid customers 2008-2016

Table 10 Optus mobile broadband customers 2013-2015

Table 11 VHA financial data 2014 2016

Table 12 VHA subscribers by type 2009 2016

Table 13 VHA MVNO customers 2014 2016

Table 14 Mobile subscribers share by MNO and MVNO 2013 2015

Table 15 Mobile phones subscribers with no fixed-line phone 2012-2016.

Table 16 Selected retailers number of outlets by state

Table 17 The wholesale market in Australia-key players-2016

Table 18 Historic-Total mobile services market revenue and annual change 1993-2009

Table 19 Total mobile services market revenue and annual change 2010-2017

Table 20 Telstra mobile services revenue 2009-2016

Table 21 Vodafone Australia revenue 2009-2016

Table 22 Optus key financial indicators 2009-2017

Table 23 Optus mobile revenue 2013 2016

Table 24 Historic-Mobile market revenue per major operator 1993-2004

Table 25 Historic-Annual change of mobile market revenue per major operator 1994; 1997; 2000-2004

Table 26 Annual change of mobile market revenue per major operator 2005-2015

Table 27 Mobile market share in revenue per major operator 2000-2016

Table 28 Telstra mobile and broadband revenue 2009-2016

Table 29 Blended monthly ARPU by MNO 2000-2016

Table 30 Annual change in blended monthly ARPU by MNO 2004-2016

Table 31 Telstra postpaid ARPU per month 2004-2016

Table 32 Optus postpaid ARPU per month 2004-2017

Table 33 Mobile subscribers, penetration rate and annual change 2000-2017

Table 34 Vodafone mobile subscribers 2009 2016

Table 35 Telstra mobile subscribers 2008-2016

Table 36 Telstra active retail prepaid and contract mobile subscribers 2011-2016

Table 37 Optus mobile subscribers 2008-2016

Table 38 Historic-Annual change of mobile subscribers by carrier 1995; 1997; 2000-2009

Table 39 Annual change of mobile subscribers by carrier 2010-2016

Table 40 Retail mobile subscriber market share by carrier 2015-2016

Table 41 Mobile subscriber market share by carrier 2010-2016

Table 42 Historic-3G mobile subscribers by carrier 2003-2011

Table 43 Historic-Annual change of 3G mobile subscribers by carrier 2007-2011

Table 44 Historic-Proportion of 3G mobile subscribers versus total subscribers by carrier 2006-2011

Table 45 Historic-2G mobile subscribers by carrier 2006-2011

Table 46 Historic-Annual change of 2G mobile subscribers by carrier 2006-2011

Table 47 Average LTE speed by MNO 2012-2016

Table 48 Share of postpaid subscribers by operator 2014 2015

Table 49 Share of prepaid subscribers by operators 2014 2015

Table 50 Vodafone prepaid and contract subscribers 2009 2016

Table 51 Optus mobile prepaid and contract customers 2008-2016

Table 52 Telstra mobile subscribers 2009-2016

Table 53 MNO share of prepaid subscribers 2009-2016

Table 54 MNO share of postpaid subscribers 2009-2016

Table 55 MNO market proportion of prepaid and contract subscribers 2009-2015

Table 56 Telstra wholesale subscribers 2009-2016

Table 57 Vodafone wholesale (MVNO) subscribers 2014-2016

Exhibit 11 Expiring spectrum allocation timetable 2015-2028

Table 58 The 500MHz spectrum licences 1997

Table 59 Spectrum charges for spectrum bandwidth licenses

Table 60 Average LTE speed by MNO 2012-2016

Table 61 Proportion of people using smartphones for internet access 2012-2017

Table 62 4G subscribers by MNO 2012-2015

Table 63 Internet connections via mobile handsets 2011-2016

Table 64 Smartphone users 2012-2016

Table 65 Australian handset shipments 2004-2016

Table 66 Smartphone penetration 2012-2016

Table 67 Key recycling indicators Mobile Muster 2006-2016

Table 68 Australian handset brand market share major suppliers 2008-2016

Table 69 Top 5 uses of mobile internet 2009-2015

Table 70 Estimated tablet users 2010-2012; 2015-2016

Table 71 Tablet market share by manufacturer 2014-2016

Table 72 Apps info and payment plan data 2009-2014

Table 73 Monthly phone spend on services 2010-2014

Table 74 Types of use on smartphones 2012-2014

Table 75 Smartphone and tablet use of services 2014

Table 76 Typical selected usage pattern of a smartphone user 2011-2014

Table 77 Typical selected usage pattern of a tablet user 2012-2014

Table 78 Estimated Australian platform market share 2008-2016

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paul budde communication, buddecomm, telecomunications research, country profile, forcast, forcasting, estimates, Companies (Major Players), Mobile & Wireless Broadband and Media, Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure), Strategies & Analyses (Industry & Markets), Australia, Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific


MeU Mobile, Amaysim, Woolworths, Crazy Johns, JB HiFi, Telstra, Optus, VHA, Hutchison Australia, 3, nbn, Virgin Mobile, Aldi Mobile, Huawei, Lebara, AAPT, Kogan Mobile, GRLmobile, Red Bull Mobile, Macquarie Telecom, Boost Tel, Pivotel, Globalstar, SingTel, Vividwireless, Ericsson, EnergyAustralia, Unwired, Apple, Nokia, BlackBerry, HTC, Google, Sony, Samsung, Mobile Muster, Motorola.