Australians are spending less time talking on their phones and downloading more data, according to ACCC’s Communications Market Report for 2018-19.
The use of video streaming services such as Netflix, Stan, Optus Sport and Kayo Sports contributed to 47 percent increase in data downloads over the year, with fixed broadband services accounting for 88 percent of all data downloaded.
Minutes spent using traditional voice services on mobile phones dropped the first time over the year, reflecting the increasing use of social media and over-the-top services like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Viber.
The proportion of Australians who solely rely on mobile broadband dropped from 23 percent in 2014 to 16 percent in 2019.
Unlimited data fixed broadband plans have increased from 6 percent in 2014-15 to 57 percent in 2018-19.
“The quality of Australia’s communications services is also improving, allowing more of us to use and enjoy data-heavy activities like streaming in high definition,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
The ACCC notes investments in mobile networks, particularly with 5G, may bring stronger network-based competition to the NBN. The scale of 5G deployment is still uncertain in the short term as some of the future-use cases of 5G (e.g. network slicing and mass machine-to-machine connectivity) are less clear.
Average prices for mobile phone services dropped by 6.6 percent during the year, while fixed broadband prices fell by 1.5 percent.
5.5 million NBN services were in operation, as the NBN overtook DSL and HFC networks as the primary fixed-line access network in Australia.
Market shares for NBN services have shifted as customers living in metro areas stay with their same provider when migrating from and cable services. Telstra’s share of NBN access services was less than 50 percent with potential for this trend to continue as the NBN rollout is completed.