Mobile data usage in Australia is expected to increase 6x between 2017 to 2021, driven by advances in mobile technologies, increasing time spent on larger screen smartphones and rising video streaming on mobile.
Unlimited mobile data plans have finally made their way to Australian shores, as Telcos look to counter the impact of rising competitive intensity.
Historically, every generation of mobile technologies has generally lasted twenty years, with some years of overlap as a new generation is introduced every ten years or so. Each generation builds upon the previous, introducing new technologies that enable new services and applications, and improves network performance and user experiences. In this manner, new mobile generations are almost always evolutionary given the time scale and reliance on previous technologies or standards paving the path towards advancements but are generally revolutionary in impact for both operators and consumers. Higher adoption rates with successive generations also means more data consumed by users and devices, with each incremental gain greater than the previous. The first mobile generation began in the 1980s with analogue standards, which focused on voice transmissions. The early 1990s saw the first major disruption, that being the transition from analogue to digital, which saw an expansion into both voice and text services. The turn of the millennium gave us mobile data, with broadband allowing basic access to Internet and digital information. The current generation, 4G, created a marriage between traditional mobile communications and Internet access, allowing users to connect to the Internet through their devices as easily as accessing the Internet through a personal computer via Wi-Fi or fixed line. With every successive generation, there has been a massive jump in mobile data consumption and with 5G just around the corner, mobile data usage is expected to continue rising at the same pace if not more. In this report, we analyse the emergence of unlimited mobile data plans in Australia and their implications for various market participants.