Australians are expected to spend $27.2 billion on telecom connectivity services this calendar year, a healthy four per cent year-on-year growth, according to Telsyte's latest research. The mobile market -- now the single largest segment -- will attract 42 per cent of that spending, with penetration approaching 108 per cent of the population.
Overall market growth will be driven by the "star" segments of VoIP, mobile non-voice, and fixed broadband projected to grow 44 per cent, 31 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively. Meanwhile, fixed line and dial-up, data communications, and mobile voice services will be the industry's "dog" performers.
"Within the mobile non-voice segment, mobile broadband will be the growth powerhouse this year, projected to grow by a stellar 76 per cent to three-quarters of a billion dollars," said. Warren Chaisatien, Telsyte's research director. "With HSPA increasingly blanketing Australia and WiMAX operators still finding their feet, the battle between mobile broadband and wireless broadband is over. Moreover, handset innovations like the Apple iPhone and BlackBerry Bold, and a growing range of off-deck mobile applications, will encourage average consumers to ramp up their mobile data use."
Meanwhile, the fixed broadband market will grow to $A3.5 billion, spurred on by the increased availability of ADSL2+ and Telstra's recent about-face plan to wholesale the technology. Despite market uncertainty generated by the national broadband network debate and aggravated by the threat of substitution by mobile broadband, the fixed broadband market grew steadily last year, with the addition of more than one million new DSL-based subscribers recording an impressive year-on-year growth of 28 per cent.
"This growth in the fixed market is expected to continue, fuelled by both business and consumer demand for high-speed services to support bandwidth-hungry video-based applications and the rollout of fibre services," concluded Samia Jawed, Telsyte's broadband analyst. Take-up of mobile broadband is mostly taking place as a secondary service for on-the-go Internet access, complementing -- rather than replacing -- the fixed broadband connection at home and in the office. A recent Telsyte consumer survey showed that fewer than five per cent of Australian homes were utilising mobile broadband as their primary broadband access technology, without a fixed broadband connection.
Len Rust is publisher of