Australians love mobile internet

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Australians love mobile internet

Smartphones reach another quarter of adults.

Australia has become a nation of mobile internet users, with almost more mobile broadband connections in the country than there are people.

According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) Communications Report 2011/12 (pdf), there were 22.05 million Australian mobile connections in June 2012, up from 18.11 million the year prior.

High speed mobile broadband was also becoming entrenched, with Telstra reporting the activation of 375,000 4G or LTE devices to June 2012.

Almost half (49 percent) of all Australian adults owned a smartphone, up from 25 percent in 2010/11.

But only 32 percent of Australians used the internet through their mobile phones in June, up from 21 percent the previous year.

Fixed internet was almost ubiquitous, with more than 90 percent of Australians going on line in the last year. Internet access looked to be becoming saturated, with current usage figures up only 2 percent on the previous reporting period.

The most popular application for Australians going online, after communication and information, was banking. More than 9 million Australians reported using the internet to interact with a financial institution in June 2012.

Given the small increase in fixed usage, the total volume of data downloaded – 421 terabytes, up 52 percent – indicates a growing appetite for high-bandwidth applications such as video.

The National Broadband Network is on track to pass over 5 million premises by 2015, but the number of premises passed to date with fibre, 38,914 homes, indicates there still a significant task ahead of the NBN Co.

NBN Co also faces a significant task in getting Australians to sign up for NBN services, with only 3867 homes, or 10 percent of those already passed by fibre, having an active connection.

The roll-out of fixed wireless and interim satellite is going faster than fibre, as might be expected, with over 173,000 premises passed. Of the total number of homes covered by fixed wireless, only 9669 have an active service. 

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