The most recent report on the Australian communications sector confirms the trends which are transforming the business of traditional telecommunications companies.
According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), data download volumes increased by 52% between the June 2015 and June 2016 quarters to over 2.2 million terabytes – and increase of 114% on their level just two years ago.
At the same time the shift to mobile-only households has continued, with 31%, or approximately 5.78 million Australians, having only a mobile phone and no fixed-line telephone at home.
These trends are placing huge demands on carrier networks while at the same time presenting carriers with equally large revenue challenges.
According to the ACMA report, the growth in data traffic is being driven by video content downloads in particular, much of it Over-the-Top subscription services. Forming partnerships and creating packages that guarantee carriers a share of the value of those services has become critical to their survival.
Meanwhile fixed line voice is dying, calling into question the relevance of the USO as it currently operates as well as creating problems for emergency services.
To date, such public policy issues remain unresolved – but, given the pace of change, it is clear that they can’t stay in the too hard basket much longer.