Column Members Only Policy + Politics

Truth: Simon Hackett proven right on “insane” NBN pricing, POIs

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News Policy + Politics Telecommunications

Telstra says it has 50 percent NBN market share, wants more

news Telstra this week said it had already taken a 50 percent market share of National Broadband Network customers and wanted to push to achieve even more, in news set to call into question controversial NBN decisions made by the Government and the ACCC meant to advance broadband competition.

The specific market share make-up of retail Internet service providers on the NBN network is not currently known, as the NBN company does not break out usage of its network along company lines.

However, up until this point, it has been assumed by many in Australia’s telecommunications market that ISPs such as iiNet had been able to steal large chunks of the NBN market share, due to their early engagement with the network.

In early 2013, iiNet stated that it had taken the lion’s share of new NBN customers at that point, due to the fact that it had engaged with the NBN process strongly and early, familiarising itself with the NBN company’s technical processes and marketing itself actively to customers.

In February 2014, iiNet reiterated the comments, noting that it was “leading the pack” in terms of connecting customers to the NBN and had a 25 percent market share of NBN customers at that point. In comparison with iiNet, rivals such as Telstra, Optus and TPG have been relatively slow to fully engage with the NBN process over its early years.

However, comments made by Telstra this week appeared to indicate that the trend has reversed, with the nation’s incumbent telco having regained the lead in terms of NBN market share.

News Telecommunications

iiNet taking lion’s share of NBN customers


news National broadband provider iiNet has revealed it is taking the lion’s share of customers who have connected to the National Broadband Network so far, with other large ISPs such as TPG lagging behind due to their unwillingness to engage with the new national network.

In late January, the National Broadband Network Company released its latest set of rollout statistics covering the period up to December 2012. At the end of December, the company said, it had some 34,500 customers using the NBN, with the majority of those (23,100) using satellite services, and the rest predominantly using the network’s fibre offerings.

In a statement released last week, iiNet revealed that more than 10,000 of those customers were its own. “Award-winning service provider iiNet has connected more than 10,000 customers to the National Broadband Network (NBN) across fibre, satellite, and fixed wireless services,” the company said. iiNet chief executive Michael Malone said the milestone reflected iiNet’s support of the project and experience in connecting customers to super-fast broadband.


Apple claws back position in Aussie PC market

Iconic technology giant Apple has inched its way back into the top five list of Australia’s personal computer and laptop vendors, bumping out Lenovo in the third quarter of 2010 with its new line-up of MacBooks and iMacs.

According to a report published by local analyst house IDC this week, the company is now the fifth largest PC vendor in Australia, based on statistics on machines shipped in the three months to the end of September.

“Apple surprised everyone by taking back its top 5 spot, lost to Lenovo in the last quarter, making [the third quarter] one of its best quarters in Australia,” said IDC market analyst Amy Cheah. “Lenovo’s strong reliance on the NSW Digital Education Revolution Program deal had helped it gain share in the past few quarters, but the slowdown in [the third quarter] roll out to schools resulted in a drop in its market position.”

The analyst noted that the success of Apple’s flagship retail stores and with a “spillover effect” from the “iPad hype”, the company was well positioned to enjoy further local growth as the months roll on. In the three month period the report tracked, some 1.4 million total units were sold in Australia — meaning Apple’s share would be about 140,000 total units.

However, Apple remains a long way away from becoming the dominant computer vendor in Australia. On top of IDC’s list, with 21 percent of the Australian market, is HP. The company is closely followed by Acer, with 17 percent, Dell, with 14 percent, and even Toshiba — with 11 percent.

The market as a whole for PC and laptops in Australia, according to IDC, is also still growing compared with 2009 — 16 percent more machines were sold in the third quarter this year compared to the last.

And although a dip in sales was seen in the third quarter of this year compared with the second (which IDC said was traditional), the analyst house noted the decline was less than expected. “Vendors, in particular Acer, were pulling some pretty aggressive pricing moves in major retail stores such as Harvey Norman to attract attention back to the consumer space,” said Cheah.

The shift to Intel’s Core iX line-up of CPUs and Windows 7 in large organisations was also driving demand. IDC also expected the Federal Government’s new whole of government PC panel to push demand in the public sector.

One new category of device that had the potential to impact on the results was the introduction of what IDC describes as “media tablets” — such as the popular iPad or Samsung’s Galaxy Tab. However, the company noted it expected the new category of device would have minimal impact.

“Widespread cannibilisation on other mobile devices is unlikely in the early stages, at least not until there is clearer understanding of the media tablets’ value proposition,” Cheah said. “Single function devices such as eReaders, however, may not be able to withstand the threat given their ‘one trick pony’ functionality.”

Image credit: Apple


Android triples Aussie market share in 3 months

Just 12 months ago, Apple’s burgeoning mobile phone business could do no wrong in Australia. Fresh from the local launch of the iPhone 3GS and with a market share ranking that was speedily catching up to the likes of Nokia and Research in Motion’s BlackBerry in the smartphone market, Apple was on track to conquer the world.

What a difference a year can make.

Yesterday, local analyst firm IDC published a research report noting that although Apple was still growing strongly, it was Google’s mobile operating system that was expanding its turf the fastest.

In the first three months of 2010, just 2.1 percent of smartphones shipped in Australia were based on the Android platform. But over the succeeding three months to the end of June, the percentage of Android shipments had more than trebled, reaching 7.1 percent at the end of that period. Then in the three months to the end of September, Android’s share of the smartphone market exploded again — up to 21 percent.

According to IDC, the vendor that has the most to lose in the smartphone space is Nokia, which the analyst firm said has been number one in the local market since 2002, when it nudged Palm — now broadly considered a minor party in the smartphone wars — of its throne. Nokia primarily uses the Symbian operating system on its devices, also it is planning to bring its new Meego platform to market shortly.

Over the three months to the end of September, IDC said, Apple for the first time overtook Nokia as the leader in Australia’s smartphone space, with more than a third (36.5 percent) of all smartphones shipped locally in that period being iPhones. Nokia had a 30.5 percent market share during the same period.

Android may be the next platform to knock Nokia down a notch — and next time it will be into third place.

A key factor in the growth of the Android platform is the number of handsets that have been launched by different vendors this year. Industry insiders commonly cite Telstra’s exclusive introduction of the HTC Desire in April as the critical factor which vaulted Android to the forefront of Australia’s consumers’ minds, but rivals vendors like Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, LG and soon — Huawei — have also launched high-end Android smartphones locally in the past 12 months.

But much of the Android market share is being taken up by Taiwanese innovator HTC. “HTC saw a strong increase in shipments in Q3, with market share soaring to 8.9 percent to take third place in the smartphone market, up from fifth place in Q2,” said Novosel.

Some of the Android vendors are now launching new versions of their existing high-end models — such as the HTC Desire HD, which recently went on sale through Vodafone. In comparison, Nokia has had relatively few high-profile launches, with one notable exception being its flagship N8.

“2011 will be a critical year in the Australian market,” wrote IDC telecommunications market analyst Mark Novosel in a statement. “Android will continue its strong upward trend, with Apple’s iOS leading the charge. Nokia must fast-track the development of its high-end Meego-powered smartphones, in order to regain market share and avoid being overtaken by Android.”

IDC also echoed comments earlier this week by Huawei on continual downward pricing pressure in the smartphone space. “The combination of a strong Australian dollar, intense competition amongst carriers and high demand for smartphones means 2011 will be a fierce battleground for smartphone vendors, with strong downward pressure on prices in order to win over consumers,” wrote Novosel.

And it’s not just in smartphones where the game is being changed. IDC noted that over 60 percent of new mobile phones in general were now smartphones. Nokia still owns 37.6 percent of the total market; but Apple is closing, with an overall market share now of 21.6.

Image credit: Lynn Wallenstein, Creative Commons