In 2017, Telstra is still gaining users from Vodafone

Despite increasing competition, Telstra has again grown its market share to now account for 43 percent of all post-paid customers and 39 percent of prepaid, with Vodafone continuing to lose customers.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Market research company Kantar has published the latest statistics on mobile market share in Australia, revealing that despite competition, Telstra has yet again increased its mobile market share to a total of 41.4 percent.

As of March 31, Telstra's post-paid market share grew by 2 percentage points for a total of 42.8 percent, although prepaid fell by 2.8 percentage points down to 38.9 percent of the market.

Optus also gained market share, albeit very slightly, from 22.7 percent to 22.8 percent total mobile market share as both prepaid and post-paid each rose by 0.5 percentage points.

The only other providers to make gains as of March 2017 were Australia's mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs): Aldi grew by almost 1 percentage point, to 2.7 percent total market share, 6.2 percent of prepaid, and 0.8 percent of post-paid; Boost gained slightly, now with 0.9 percent total market share, 2.1 percent of prepaid, and 0.3 percent of post-paid; and other MVNOs grew by a percentage point to make up 6.2 percent of the total Australian mobile market, 7.1 percent of prepaid services, and 5.7 percent of post-paid.

Making losses yet again, meanwhile, were Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA), Virgin Mobile, TPG, and Amaysim.

VHA fell from 15.3 percent total mobile market share this time last year to 13.9 percent as of March 31 this year. It lost market share across both post-paid and prepaid, from 15.8 percent down to 13.7 percent and 14.3 percent to 14.2 percent, respectively.

Virgin Mobile, which resells Optus' 4G network, also lost market share to hold just under 5 percent of the total Australian mobile market, 3 percent of prepaid customers, and 5.8 percent of post-paid customers.

TPG and iiNet held a 2.5 percent share of the mobile market, down from 2.7 percent last year; this could potentially increase over the next few years, however, as TPG builds out its own mobile network.

Amaysim stayed fairly stagnant, losing just 0.1 percentage point of the total mobile market for a share of 4.7 percent as prepaid customers left but post-paid customers remained.

According to Kantar, Telstra gained customers from VHA and MVNOs as they churned in order to get "better network coverage" and "better customer service", while other customers left Telstra and Virgin to join Optus.

Optus' gain was largely attributed to its Samsung Galaxy S6 and S7 deals that bundled the handset in with data and streaming for better pricing and inclusions than competitors.

Kantar added that MVNOs have been making gains thanks to several factors: Boost's high data allowances, Aldi's network coverage, and Kogan's high recommendation scores.

Telstra will likely continue gaining customers based on its better network coverage under the government's decision earlier this month not to declare wholesale mobile domestic roaming, which would have allowed Vodafone to piggyback off Telstra's mobile infrastructure.

Vodafone, which has the least network coverage across rural and remote Australia, called the decision a "missed opportunity" for those living in regional areas who it said will remain "hostage to Telstra".

"It denies the benefits of increased coverage, competition, and choice to Australian mobile customers, especially hundreds of thousands of Australians living in regional and rural areas," Vodafone said.

"The telecommunications divide between the cities and regional areas will only continue to widen, as no other operator will be able to close the coverage gap between Telstra and the rest of the industry.

"Monopolies don't drive investment, competition does. Without domestic roaming, the opportunities for investment in areas where it is uneconomical to build more than one network are very limited."

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