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Thursday, 08 December 2005 09:41

VoIP growth pushes demand for PSTN numbers through the roof

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has reported a 14 fold growth in demand for local telephone numbers in 2004-05, largely as a result of VoIP.

The ACMA says that over 1.97 million metropolitan and 8.79 million non-metropolitan geographic numbers were allocated, representing a demand for geographic numbers that was more than 14 times the average annual demand over the last three years.

The statistic is one of many contained in the ACMA's Telecommunications Performance Report 2004-05, tabled in Parliament on 7 December. The report covers the performance of telecommunications carriers and carriage service providers, and reports on consumer satisfaction, consumer benefits and quality of service. It also contains telecommunications statistics concerning the 2004-05 year, analyses significant telecommunications trends and reports on compliance by carriage service providers with consumer safeguards contained in telecommunications legislation.

The ACMA reported a large increase in broadband Internet subscribers, continuing strong growth in mobile services and a small but significant decline in fixed services.

Broadband subscribers grew by 108 percent to 2.18 million at 30 June 2005. In comparison, over the year to 31 March 2005 dial-up Internet subscribers fell by four percent to 4.18 million.

The geographic availability of terrestrial broadband services also grew, nationally by seven percent in the 12 months to 31 March 2005. There was particularly strong growth in Tasmania and the Northern Territory over this period.

During 2004-05 mobile services increased by 12 percent to 18.42 million taking the penetration level to 90 percent of the population. There was particularly strong growth in retail prepaid mobile services, which increased by 20 percent. The mobile handset market continued its exceptional sales rate, with 7.7 million mobile handsets sold, an increase of eight percent from the previous year. The number of SMS and MMS messages sent increased rapidly, with over 6.74 billion SMS and 49.8 million MMS messages sent in 2004-05.

The number of fixed services declined in 2004-05 by two percent. Consistent with this trend, the number of services covered by the Customer Service Guarantee Standard'”fixed telephone services supplied to residential and small business premises with five lines or less'”declined by four percent.

In the 12 months to 31 March 2005 the local, long distance and international fixed service markets all experienced declines in revenue, total call volumes and call minutes. The biggest decline was 14.2 percent for local call revenue.

The Telecommunications Performance Report 2004-05 is available complete as a pdf file or as a chapter by chapter summary on the ACMA website, here.

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