Report Overview

The Australian tower market 2020

This report assesses the Australian mobile communications tower market and the drivers for tower and small cell demand in Australia. The rollout of 5G and renewed interest in small cell technology is an opportunity to reconsider the financing and ownership of potentially shareable infrastructure.


Key Takeaways


The Australian mobile market – declining growth potential

  • Price sensitive market
  • Fixed wireless opportunity – margin improvement not new revenue
  • No fourth operator

Evolution of the tower market

  • Macro tower networks

Tower sale scenarios – the scope for upside

  • Optus sale
  • TPG sale
  • Joint sale

Managing mobile traffic growth – the small cell opportunity

  • Competitiveness increasingly defined by network capacity
  • Growing capacity demand shifts focus to small cells
  • Specific small cell challenges
  • Can tower companies win in small cells?

List of charts/tables

Figure 1. Total mobile revenue (MBB service +handset service + handset hardware) in A$m and mobile subscribers (MBB + Handset) [‘000]

Figure 2.         Consumer churn intentions, April 2020

Figure 3.         Forecast 5G takeup as share of total mobile handset and mobile broadband connections

Figure 4.         Expiry dates for mobile spectrum licences (in date order)

Figure 5.         Australian MNO spectrum allocations in urban areas by spectrum band, 2020

Figure 6.         Optus tower investment infographic, 2017

Figure 7.         Small cell deployments in Australia

Figure 8.         Projected macro tower and small cell growth in APAC

Figure 9.         Fibre as percentage of capex per site, macro vs small cell deployment

Figure 10.         Small cell configurations

Figure 11.         Small cell capability matrix