Thursday, 25 April 2019

In Brief

Smartphone and data uptake drive growth in Australian mobile services

Strong uptake of smartphones and mobile telecommunications data services are dominant trends in new figures from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), which show there are more than 29 million mobile services in operation in Australia.


AMTA CEO Chris Althaus said the official ACMA figures showed that the number of mobile services in operation had increased by 13 per cent during 2010-11 to 29.28 million.


“Given Australia’s population of 22.7 million, this means that there is a mobile penetration rate (mobile phone services per head of population) of 129 per cent,” Mr Althaus told Business Insider. “That means in Australia there are nearly 130 mobile services in operation for every 100 people.


“To put this in comparison, only 10 years go Australia’s mobile penetration rate was about 58 per cent in 2000-01 and in a decade it has soared by a factor of 2.2 times.”


Mr Althaus said increasingly mobile telecommunications are at the centre of people’s lives, providing mobility, connectivity and productivity benefits - with mobile broadband the stand out performer.


“Everywhere you look mobile networks, devices and applications and services have been evolving very rapidly, presenting new challenges and opportunities for industry, governments and consumers alike,” Mr Althaus said.


“The rapid uptake of smartphones and explosion of applications highlights the demand and growth in mobile data traffic which is currently doubling every 9 – 12 months.


“Just as significant growth in road traffic leads to investment in new roads – so the huge current and projected growth in mobile traffic must be supported by new and upgraded mobile infrastructure.”


Mobile coverage to improve from Optus Vodafone deal


An infrastructure sharing deal between Vodafone and Optus is set to boost mobile coverage with the nation's No 2 and No 3 telcos planning to build 500 new mobile base stations in regional and metropolitan Australia over the next four years.


Another 1300 existing mobile sites will also be shared among the two telcos to expand their network reach, The Australian reported in May.


By sharing the construction costs of those 500 new mobile base stations, which typically cost about $400,000 each, Optus said it would save $100m in costs had it decided to pursue the building of the base stations on its own.


However, that $100m in savings is only the beginning of the financial benefit for Optus, with the company also expecting to bag extra earnings through a roaming deal with Vodafone that will see the No 3 telco's customers switch to the Optus network when out of range of VHA towers.


As part of the infrastructure sharing deal, Vodafone will gain access to about 400 Optus base stations in regional and outer metropolitan areas, while Optus will be granted access to 900 base stations that have migrated to Vodafone from the defunct 3 Mobile service.


WA bush to benefit from government phone tower funding


Patchy mobile phone coverage on outback roads could soon be alleviated after the Western Australia government awarded funding for Telstra to install 113 new mobile antennas along major roads and highways across the state.


Telstra has been given $39.2 million under the state’s Royalties for Regions Regional Mobile Communications Project designed to provide Western Australia’s regional, rural and remote communities and businesses with access to a self-sustainable and affordable mobile voice and wireless broadband service.


The new sites will increase Telstra's coverage of the state's area by 22 per cent, from 430,000km2 to more than 525,000km2.


Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls said the RMCP would also enhance the safety and convenience of people living, working and holidaying in regional WA.


“The Regional Mobile Communications Project will not only benefit individuals and businesses, it will have a huge impact on the delivery of State Government and emergency services, especially in communities prone to bushfire and road trauma, Mr Grylls said.

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