2.5 million more mobile phone services than people in Australia, says new report

There are nearly 2.5 million more mobile phones in service in Australia than people, according to the latest official telecommunications industry figures.


The Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, Chris Althaus, said new figures from the Australian Communications and Media Authority show there were 24.22 million mobile services in operation in June 2009, a rise of 9.5% over the previous year’s 22.12 million.


“With the population at 21.8 million when this figure was assessed, it means for every 100 people in Australia there are about 110 mobile phone services in operation, equating to a mobile penetration rate[1] of 110%. This compares with Singapore (130%), United States (89%) and China (55%),” he said.


Mr Althaus said a significant trend in ACMA’s Communications Report 2008-09 was a 43.6% rise in 3G mobile services in operation.


“This rapid rise in the take-up of 3G services from 8.6 million subscribers in 2007-08 to 12.3 million in 2008-09 marks a big shift in customer habits from voice and SMS to web browsing, email, video, chat and social networking with Australians extending the ways they use their mobiles by adopting innovative mobile data services. As an example, mobile broadband subscriptions increased by 162% in 2008/09,” he said.


“A study late last year found that 77% of respondents used their mobile phones for purposes apart from texting and/or voice and 50% used email and social networking on a daily basis[2] .


“This has had major implications for businesses as well because mobile data is playing a key role in streamlining business processes, reducing costs and increasing productivity of workers who are no longer constrained by a traditional work environment.”


Mr Althaus said the continued rapid growth of mobile telecommunications had occurred against the backdrop of an economic slowdown last year and uncertain financial conditions.


“Although mobile telecommunications are not divorced from economic conditions, it’s clear that they are a modern day essential that are delivering convenience, productivity, peace of mind and security to the community,” he said.


“Mobile telecommunications have also become central to Australia’s capacity to compete in the global marketplace via the capacity to drive productivity gains in the digital economy and its capacity to meet the connectivity needs of governments, services, businesses, communities, families and individuals.


“Australia cannot sustain strong economic growth unless it lifts its productive capacity and it cannot sustain ongoing improvements in living standards unless productivity growth improves. And a key enabler of productivity gains is mobile telecommunications.”



For more information contact Randal Markey, AMTA, on (02) 6239 6555 or 0421 240 550


[1] Mobile penetration rate is the mobile services per 100 inhabitants and it can be more than 100% because customers use more than one SIM card and/or mobile phone handset

[2] 2009 Australian Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index undertaken for AIMIA