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IDC Conducts Comprehensive Mobile Broadband Competitive Analysis

  • 06 February, 2009 10:15

<p>SYDNEY, 6 February 2009, IDC tested all four Australian mobile broadband networks over a five-month period, conducting 1,580 observations to assess download and upload speeds in addition to latency.</p>
<p>"Mobile broadband has come a long way in a short period of time, with fixed-line equivalent performance now achievable over a HSPA network. However, users expecting consistency across networks could be disappointed, as performance varied greatly depending on coverage, test location and other conditions," said Mark Novosel, Market Analyst, Telecommunications, IDC Australia.</p>
<p>For the report, titled Australian Mobile Broadband 2008 Competitive Analysis: Opening the Floodgates, IDC tested the networks in three phases to assess consistency over the five-month testing period. Summary results indicate that the average of all observations over each provider’s network was rather consistent. Some providers, such as Optus, showed sharp increases in their relative network performance (eg. speed and latency) over the observation period as network upgrades were rolled out.</p>
<p>"Across all networks, IDC found the average download speed to be 1,747Kbps, while the average upload was 460Kbps, with latency averaging 447ms. Large variances in performance were seen in metropolitan areas and even in the same location on different days," added Novosel.</p>
<p>Aggregated observations of Telstra’s network scored the highest, however IDC's report reveals some interesting and unexpected results amongst the other three networks, especially when taking cost into consideration.</p>
<p>“The research showed that Telstra’s score on such criteria as average download speeds and no dropouts was higher than that of competitors. In some instances download speeds would be hard to distinguish from some fixed broadband connections," said Novosel.</p>
<p>Performance on the other three networks was less consistent but still very usable, with each suffering from several failed tests and slow download speeds, particularly on fast moving trains and inside apartment buildings.
IDC's report also revealed that:</p>
<p>·Prices tumble, limits soar. Mobile broadband is now more affordable, offers larger download quotas and is faster than comparable entry-level ADSL plans. Prices fell by as much as 78% in 12 months and download allowances doubled on average. Yet, mobile broadband is still in its infancy with plenty more surprises to come this year.</p>
<p>·Opportunities for growth. As the carriers continue to expand their networks and add capacity, prices will continue to fall, albeit not as rapidly as last year, while download quotas will continue to increase and month-to-month (non-contracted) plans will emerge as carriers try to entice subscribers in tough economic times.</p>
<p>·NetBooks – the new battleground. Following Vodafone's Australian lead, other carriers are likely to start selling NetBooks with mobile broadband plans. In 2009 we will see "free" NetBooks given to subscribers on contracted plans in much the same way as mobiles are now sold.</p>
<p>·More Value through more data. Although mobile broadband prices will continue to decline, carriers will be more inclined to offer larger download quotas and speed-limited service after users exceed their limits, rather than impose unpopular excess usage charges. Telstra already speed limits users on their 5GB and 10GB plans to 64Kbps. This practice is likely to become the standard in the same way it is with fixed broadband, thereby eliminating bill shock and giving users more freedom.</p>
<p>On IDC's website,, this media release relates to document Doc #AU202120Q, ”Australian Mobile Broadband 2008 Competitive Analysis: Opening the Floodgates".</p>
<p>For further information on the findings contained in this report or to request an analyst briefing on this topic, please contact Sally Taylor-Phillips, Marketing Communications Manager at IDC on +61 2 9925 2234 or e-mail</p>
<p>For more information please contact Sally Taylor-Phillips, Marketing Communications Manager at IDC on +61 2 9925 2234 or e-mail</p>
<p>About IDC</p>
<p>IDC is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends covering over 110 countries worldwide. For more than 44 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting or</p>

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