Mobile telecommunications “punches above its weight” in the economy, says Access Economics

The mobile telecommunications industry “punches above its weight” because of its ability to drive productivity gains throughout the Australian economy, says Access Economics Director Steve Brown.

Access Economics’ report, Australian Mobile Telecommunications Industry: Economic Significance & State of the Industry, was released today in Sydney at the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association Conference.

The Access Economics report says: “The mobile telecommunications industry contributes substantially to the Australian economy. In addition to its direct contributions, it drives productivity gains throughout the economy.

“This characteristic of the mobile telecommunications industry contrasts with other key sectors such as mining, which makes a significant direct contribution to the economy but much smaller indirect contributions.”

The report says the direct contribution of the mobile telecommunications industry to the Australian economy in 2005-06 was $5.8 billion, with its share of value added to the whole communications industry found to be 24.9%.

Access Economics says the indirect or spill-over effects of mobile telecommunications on the broader Gross Domestic Product is estimated to be $6.4 billion – greater than the direct economic impact.

“It is interesting to note that the broader impacts on GDP are even larger than the direct value added by the industry,” says the report.

“The ubiquity of mobiles has transformed the way businesses operate and their employees work in almost every industry and sector of the Australian economy. This means the economic impact of the mobile telecommunications industry encompasses its flow-on impacts on all other industries.”

The report has also produced a forward estimate of the economy-wide benefits arising from mobile data use made possible by 3G networks. Given the current adoption trend, the report suggests the increasing uptake of 3G technology and increase in mobile data traffic could add an additional $1 billion to GDP by 2010.

AMTA Chief Executive Officer, Chris Althaus, said: “This report shows how significant the telecommunications sector is both as a direct contributor and an enabling technology across all facets of the economy.”

The Access Economics report concludes that it is important for the industry and governments to work co-operatively to ensure a consistent and integrated set of policies and regulations that will “not inhibit, but rather facilitate, rapid uptake of emerging Information and Communication Technologies by households and businesses”.

View the report here.

For more information contact Randal Markey, AMTA, 0421 240 550