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Mobile users switching providers more often: survey

Australia's mobile services market is becoming more competitive with 15% of subscribers switching providers in 2016, a survey by technology analyst firm Telsyte has found.

And following on from this, about 25% of Australians said they were willing to consider getting a broadband service from their mobile provider, the survey said.

This was the case even if these mobile providers - like Vodafone, amaysim, Kogan Mobile and ALDIMobile - were not broadband providers right now.

Consumers who were surveyed rated mobile carriers much higher than brands such as Google, Facebook or Apple in terms of potential to become NBN service providers.

More than 10% of mobile and fixed broadband subscribers bundled their services already, and Telsyte said it believed this trend would grow.

The survey also found that the mobile services market continued to favour month-to-month plans, reaching 53% at the end of December 2016 despite higher smartphone prices and more competitive contract plans.

It said that this was likely to pave the way for more flexible fixed-line broadband packages which could include pay by the month and pre-paid offerings.

The survey found that mobile virtual network operators had about a tenth of the subscriptions but were responsible for a quarter of the net additional subscribers during the second half of 2016, driven by competitive pricing and flexible non-contract plans.

Telsyte found more than 600,000 services in operation were added in the second half of 2016, with 33.2 million SIOs in total.

“Carrier plans to use second SIMs to improve the bottom line have yet to really taken off,” Telsyte senior analyst Alvin Lee said.

Less than 10% of mobile users purchased second SIMs in 2016, as more Australians got used to tethering their devices to their smartphone with a larger data plan.

According to Telsyte’s research, the average smartphone data allowance increased by more than 40% in 2016 while data usage grew by more than 60%.

“More than 75% of Australian smartphone users streamed music, video or both to their smartphones during 2016 and average data utilisation rate increased to around two-thirds of the plan’s allowance,” Lee said.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.