A 15.4 percent growth in mobile services and the emergence of wireless broadband access are the highlights of the past financial year in telecommunications, according to the Australian Communications Authority's (ACA) Telecommunications Performance Report 2003-2004.
The growth of mobile services can largely be attributed to prepaid services which accounted for 43 percent of all mobile services, up from 38 percent last year according to an ACA press release.
"The continued popularity of prepaid services demonstrates the value consumers perceive in having more control over mobile service expenditure and the ability to avoid lengthy contracts," said ACA acting chairman Allan Horsley.
Wireless broadband has become available in metropolitan and selected regional centres over the past year and overall access to broadband has expanded across the country with total broadband subscribers reaching more than one million at 30 June this year, a 103 percent increase on last year.
The ACA report also revealed that consumer satisfaction with telecommunications carriers was mixed in the past financial year, with satisfaction levels higher for internet services than fixed or mobile services. This coincides with a change in the delivery of services as carriers announce fixed phone services using Internet Protocol technology.
"While IP-based telephony, often in the form of voice over internet protocol, has been offered to corporate customers for some years, its availability was extended to residential and small business markets during 2003-04," said Horsley.
Other highlights of the report include the impact of Australia's spam legislation.
"By the end of June 2004, three months after the Spam Act came into force, the major known spammers in Australia had stopped operating," said Horsley.