Despite the number of mobile internet subscriptions overtaking the number of fixed internet subscriptions in Australia, the mobile subscriptions don't come anywhere near to matching the download volume of fixed subscriptions, according to the latest stats from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The total number of mobile broadband subscriptions (excluding mobile handsets) jumped from 4.9 million to 5.6 million between June and December 2011, bringing it over the number of fixed DSL, cable and fibre subscriptions at 5.5 million. Fixed subscriptions only increased from 5.4 million to 5.5 million in the same period.
But despite these mobile broadband subscriptions making up nearly half of all internet connections in Australia, the mobile subscribers aren't matching fixed data usage.
Fixed downloads continued to skyrocket, jumping by 26.4 per cent from 254,947 terabytes (TB) in the six months to June 2011 to 322,280TB in the six months to December 2011. Wireless did see an increase, but it was smaller at 20.9 per cent from 19,149TB to 23,142TB. This means mobile downloads made up 6.7 per cent of all downloads in December, a decrease from approximately 7 per cent in June.
This came despite Telstra launching its long-term evolution (LTE) "4G" mobile network in that period, providing much faster download speeds than had previously been available. The company estimated that it had sold 100,000 dongles in the second half of the year.
The ABS has also reported statistics for Australians accessing the internet from their mobile handsets. The total number of mobile phone subscriptions that accessed the internet jumped from 9.7 million in June to 11 million in December 2011. The ABS also reported that in the three months from October to the end of December 2011, those mobile users downloaded 5000TB of data.
Internet service provider consolidation
iiNet spent a good portion of the second half of 2011 on an acquisition rampage, bringing many to question whether competition in the telco industry was suffering because of consolidation. In its statistics, the ABS provided proof that the internet service provider (ISP) industry is shrinking.
In the 12 months from December 2010 to December 2011, the total number of ISPs in Australia shrank from 104 to 91. The vast majority of this drop came from smaller ISPs with between 1001 and 10,000 customers, whose numbers dropped from 71 to 58. The number of ISPs with between 10,001 and 100,000 customers increased from 21 to 23, while the number of big ISPs with over 100,000 customers dropped from 12 to 10.