Some of Australia’s smaller National Broadband Network (NBN) retailers are increasing their grip on the wholesale market, putting pressure on the major players.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) latest NBN Wholesale Market Indicators Report, NBN providers Aussie Broadband and Superloop both increased their wholesale access seeker market share during the December 2021 quarter.
Aussie Broadband's share rose from 5.1 per cent in the September quarter up to 5.6 per cent, with the ACCC claiming it “continued to make gains”.
Meanwhile, Superloop's access rose from 1.5 per cent to 1.7 per cent.
At the top end of town, major telcos Telstra, TPG and Optus all recorded declines in wholesale market share.
In Telstra’s case, this saw it slip from 44.3 per cent to 44.1 per cent, while TPG fell from 23.9 per cent to 23.6 per cent. Optus suffered the greatest fall, declining from 14.5 per cent to 14.1 per cent.
Meanwhile, Vocus, the last of the big four telcos, increased its market share from 7.2 per cent to 7.3 per cent.
“We are glad to see continued growth from smaller NBN providers. Their presence in the market keeps pressure on the big four of Telstra, TPG, Optus and Vocus to maintain a high quality, competitive service,” ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey said.
“Some smaller providers are offering consumers different options to meet their specific needs, such as tailored plans and discounted pricing options, network performance graphs, Australia-only call centres and gamer-optimised plans.”
Additionally, NBN providers expanded their presence at the 121 NBN points of interconnection (POI), as well as at least 13 providers directly acquiring NBN services from those 121 POIs – up slightly from 119 POIs in the previous quarter.
“Some of the smaller regional retail providers are expanding their POI footprints nationally, and that will give greater variety of internet providers to consumers in more locations,” Brakey said.
NBN providers also acquired slightly less Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC) capacity over the December quarter, with average capacity acquired per user falling from 2.82 Mbps in the September quarter to 2.73 in the December quarter.
According to the national watchdog, NSW, Victoria and ACT saw large CVC declines while other states and territories increased. The ACCC said could be due to the eastern states’ easing of lockdown restrictions.
The report also found approximately 8.6 million broadband services are on the NBN, with 58 per cent of these on “high speed” services of at least 50 Mbps and 15 per cent on speeds above 50 Mbps.
However, with the end of most of the promotional discounts through NBN’s ‘Focus on Fast’ marketing campaign, which offered additional data inclusions and wholesale pricing rebates on higher speed tiers and extra CVC capacity credits to internet retailers, services above 100 Mbps took a hit.
Indeed, these “very high” services fell by 24 per cent, or about 108,000 services, during the quarter. However, nearly half of the households that took up these plans last year have plans still in this speed bracket.
“We encourage consumers to trial new services, but it’s important that they think about their internet usage and choose the speed tier that best fits their needs,” Brakey said.