The number of 5G mobile network connections in Australia could reach over 10 million by the end of the 2022 financial year, according to new estimates by industry analyst firm, Telsyte.
The company’s latest predictions, derived from the Telsyte Australian Mobile Services Market Study 2018, also suggest that at least one local mobile network operator will begin shutting down 3G services by 2020.
The figures come as Australia braces itself for the introduction of 5G services in 2019, with the country’s three largest mobile network carriers, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, all slating a 2019 5G fixed wireless service rollout time frame.
As such, Telsyte said that it expects the Australian mobile services market to enter the realm of 5G next year, with the move set to quickly change the current market dynamic, which is driven by price competition.
According to Telsyte, the arrival of 5G in Australia is set to enable further innovation in mobile services plans and bundled services, helping create differentiation in the market for network operators.
However, it remains to be seen whether price differentiation will end up playing second fiddle to other competitive aspects, with Telsyte research showing 32 per cent of those surveyed still feel they are paying too much for their current mobile services.
Meanwhile, Telsyte’s latest figures show that 616,000 new mobile network services in operation (SIO) were added during the six months to December 2017, ending the period with a total of 34.2 million.
To put that figure into perspective, Australia’s population currently stands at $24.9 million, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
According to Telsyte, the mobile market collectively achieved similar net growth compared to the same period in 2016, which tallied up 593,000 new services in operation, with handsets being the main driver followed by machine-to-machine (M2M) connections and mobile broadband.
The latest research showed that Telstra and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) as a combined unit claimed the largest growth, contributing more than 70 per cent of the total net additional services in operation.
Importantly, Telsyte’s latest research indicates that mobile connectivity is now becoming critical for most Australians.
Indeed, the study suggested that more than one in four Australians were forced to tether to their mobile connection in the past 12 months, due to a slow, or non-working, fixed broadband connection at home or work – an issue that appears to be coming to the fore as the pace of the country’s National Broadband Network (NBN) ramps up.
Amongst those forced to tether, according to Telsyte, 32 per cent said they are likely to upgrade their mobile data limit.
“The market is conditioning people to consider and pay for different access technologies separately, but ultimately consumers just want their Internet to work, anywhere at any given time, on all their digital devices,” Telsyte senior analyst, Alvin Lee, said.