Home Telecoms & NBN Mobile-only households could reach 40% by 2020: survey
Mobile-only households could reach 40% by 2020: survey Featured

A survey of both fixed broadband and mobile users has indicated that a total of 40% could be using only mobile services by 2020 if the data limits and price points matched their needs.

The survey was carried out in April by the Centre for International Economics for Vodafone Hutchison Australia.

The survey found that 17% of households in Australia use only a mobile connection and the users were likely to be in the 18-24 and over 55 age categories.

It found that while higher demand for data would, if nothing else changed, lower the number of mobile-only users but the constant increases in data and lower mobile costs would push people towards mobile, with the arrival of 5G being an additional push factor.

However, the rise of the percentage of mobile users could be countered in the event that there were improvements in both speed and reliability of fixed broadband connections.

current data usage

While the survey found that the median use of data was 100GB per month, there were a significant percentage of users (39%) whose data usage came in at up to 50GB. The overlap between fixed broadband and mobile usage in this band was described as "striking".

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicated that median data use was about 145GB per month.

The CIE survey found that five factors determined the split between fixed broadband and mobile: reliability, data inclusion, speed, compatibilty and mobility.

While fixed broadband users had reliability, data inclusion and the fact that they could use many devices as plus points, mobile users counted speed and mobility as positives. But mobile users were disadvantaged by having one device for use.

usage by connection

The survey found that there would be multiple advantages to using a mobile service when 5G arrived, with latency, connection density and data throughput rising by a factor of 10, while traffic capacity and network efficiency would be 100 times as good.

Looking at data usage patterns, the survey concluded that:

  • Thirty-two percent of subscribers would switch to a mobile plan if offered the same data allowance and price;
  • Six percent would switch if the mobile plan were $10 cheaper per month than fixed line plans;
  • Twelve percent would switch if the mobile plan were $20 cheaper per month;
  • Fifteen percent would switch if the mobile plan were $40 cheaper per month; and
  • Thirty-five percent reported that they would never choose mobile only.

The survey found that spectrum allocation, competitive neutrality, subsidy arrangements, NBN pricing and access to NBN infrastructure were critical polcy areas that could have an imapct on the convergence of fixed line and mobile services.

Graphics: courtesy Vodafone Hutchison Australia


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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