Kantar in Review: Who Rose, Who Fell (and how much)

The research group Kantar has released its annual report on the telecommunications industry in Australia. Some carriers gained and others lost portions of the mobile market share that they struggled to gain last year. The no contract segment of the mobile market continues to bound higher, and Telstra’s acquisition of more 1800 MHz bandwidth is set to spread 4G throughout Australia.

How the Market Segment Pie is Divvied Up

Among the big carriers, Telstra and Optus gained last year with 41.1 and 22.7 percentage points respectively, both moving up in the overall mobile market by 1.4 percent. This while Telstra had three network outages last year, and as Optus lost 320,000 TPG customers when the MVNO struck a deal with Vodafone in October.

Telstra has 41.7 percent of the prepaid market, which broadened by 4.1 last year. In its main sector, post-paid, Telstra has 43.6 percentage points.

The MVNO Amaysim also gained slightly, pushing its total mobile share up 0.5 percent.

Aldi Mobile had gains all around, and boosted its overall market share by 0.1 percentage point up to 1.8 percent. Aldi’s prepaid went up by 0.3 percentage points to 4.6 percent and its post-paid climbed 0.1 percentage point to 0.2 percent. In no-contract, Aldi went from 1.1 to 1.2 percent.

Virgin Mobile lost 1.1 percent of its market share, going from 6.5 percentage points of down to 5.6 percent. Virgin had gains and losses within its segments, however, gaining slightly in post-paid, from 6.8 to 7.1 percent and losing 1.6 percentage points from no contract, keeping 1.6.

Vodafone is included in the carriers who lost subscribers. It managed to keep its no contract customers at 12.3 percent, but dropped to 15.2 percent in its overall market share, by 1.3 percentage points. Vodafone took the worst hit in prepaid, retaining 14.2 percent and losing 1.4 percentage points. Post-paid was scarcely better. Vodafone slipped to 16.5 percent, down 1.3 points.

TPG lost in every segment, bringing its 2.8 percent of the mobile market down 0.8 points. TPG’s prepaid also stands at 0.8 percent, having lost 0.7 percentage points. TPG also plummeted in post-paid, from 2.6 percent down to 1.4 percent. The carrier gave up 2 no contract percentage points, moving down to 6.8 percent of the market.

Finally, smaller MNVOs were grouped together by Kantar to represent the remaining 7.5 percent of the mobile market. These also suffered losses in every sector, and collectively maintained 6.4 percent of post-paid, 6.9 percent of prepaid and 18.8 percent of no contract. On the whole, the smaller MNVOs lost 0.1 percentage point in total market segment, 0.3 percentage points in prepaid and 0.5 percentage points in the post-paid and no-contract segments, respectively.

No Contract Segment Continues to Race Ahead

The no-contract segment continues to grow, nabbing market share from both the prepaid and post-paid segments. No contract gained a total of 4.8 percentage points last year, reaching a total of 14.3 percent of mobile market shares.

Kantar claims that the jump in Optus no contract customers (at 20.6 percent, up from 16.8) and their increase by 2 percentage points of post-paid subscribers can be attributed to better data offerings.

The rise of the no contract segment is contributing to the growth rate of some MVNOs, like Amaysim. The real growth factor for Amaysim, however, has been its lower price points and the value associated with them, like the use of streaming services.

Pushing 4G Throughout the Country

Amaysim is able to support streaming services because it resells 4G from Optus, as does Virgin Mobile. Amaysim is joined by other MVNO brands that use Optus’ 4G Plus and broadband networks, including Zen Connect, Vaya and Live Connected, and Zen Connect.

Telstra, on the other hand, recently signed on wholesalers onto its 4G network, names like AldiMobile, Telechoice and Woolworths and Better Life.

Combined, the efforts of Optus and Telstra will push 4G to 92 percent of Australia on the 1800 MHz, 700 MHz and 2600 MHz bands. This means top download speeds of 100 megabits per second across the country. Telstra made the announcement last March that the new spectrum bands would be ready in June of this year. Luckily for Australia, widespread 4G went into action a month early.

Telstra spent a whopping $191 million AUD in February, during the auction held by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, to acquire more of the 1800 MHz spectrum. The acquisition of more 1800 MHz will help Telstra to broaden 4G networks from metropolitan areas into more rural spaces so that almost every Australian will have access to fast connection speeds.

ZDNet gave the breakdown of the regions that will benefit from Telstra’s acquisition of more 1800 MHz spectrum bandwidth from the government:

“During the auction, Telstra won five lots of 1800MHz spectrum in Darwin, for AU$5.58 million; six lots in North Queensland, paying AU$18.24 million; five lots in Central Queensland, for AU$10.09 million; four lots in South Queensland, for AU$36.63 million; five lots in Northern New South Wales, for AU$14.82 million; and five lots in Western NSW, for AU$7.96 million.

“It also won two lots in the Australian Capital Territory, for AU$17.22 million; five lots in Southern NSW/Riverina, for AU$15.13 million; four lots in Regional Victoria, for AU$28.15 million; four lots in Tasmania, for AU$22.67 million; six lots in Regional SA, for AU$7.44 million; and five lots in Regional Western Australia, for AU$6.01 million.”

Of course, Vodafone is trying to miss out. Vodafone is getting in on the game with plans to start wholesaling its own 4G network to an MVNO known as Kogan Mobile before July.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.