Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/29/2014 -- The Australian telecommunications industry is one of the highest value markets in Asia Pacific and even the world, underpinned by high incomes and strong uptake of higher value services such as broadband and smartphone handsets. However, subscription growth opportunities are severely limited in the years ahead due to the highly saturated nature of the market. In 2014, we believe 4G offerings would take centre stage, given the proliferation of smart devices and growth in demand for high-speed data services. This should provide lift the near-term ARPU for mobile operators.
- By December 2013, mobile subscription figure has reached 30.590mn, representing a penetration rate of 131.0%. Telstra continues to gain significant net additions at the expense of Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA).
- The auction of 700MHz digital dividend spectrum in May 2013 has encouraged the spread of LTE and value-added services; however, we expect strong competition and a deteriorating economy to apply downward pressure on ARPUs.
- We forecast Australia's broadband industry to receive a boost in the latter part of our forecast period when the National Broadband Network (NBN) and LTE services are widely available. The coalition's alternative NBN plan announced in April 2013 may bring this boost forward as it aims for a faster rollout.
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Key Trends And Developments
The controversial AUD37.4bn (US$36.7bn) National Broadband Network (NBN) project was thrown into disarray in September 2013, when the entire board of the state-owned NBN Co reportedly offered to resign, in response to a proposal by the new Minister of Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, to replace the previously-planned fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology with fibre-to-the-node (FTTN).
Turnbull belongs to the recently-elected Liberal-National Coalition (LNC), which has opted for an alternative NBN to that favoured by the outgoing Australian Labor Party (ALP). While the ALP proposed covering 93% of Australian premises with FTTH by mid-2021, the LNC plans rely on FTTN and the existing ageing copper network to serve about 70% of premises, with FTTP accounting for just 22%.
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