NBN may be key battleground for mobile providers

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Wednesday, 12 April, 2017

Nbn co 500pix

Australia's mobile market is getting more competitive, and the arrival of the NBN in metropolitan areas is likely to increase this competitive pressure, research from Telsyte indicates.

A market study by the Australian research firm found that a quarter of Australians would consider getting NBN broadband from their mobile service provider, even if they have no experience providing non-NBN fixed services.

Mobile service providers are considered to have more potential to become NBN service providers than major brands such as Google, Facebook and Apple.

The providers also have the potential to incorporate NBN plans into their bundled services. Currently more than 10% of mobile and fixed broadband subscribers bundle their services, and Telsyte expects this figure to increase as competition intensifies.

With the majority (53%) of mobile customers favouring month-to-month plans rather than long contracts, Telsyte said this could lead to operators offering pay-per-month or pre-paid NBN fixed broadband offerings.

In another sign of intensifying competition, mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) — which offer mobile services over a major operator's network — were responsible for a quarter of subscriber net additions in the second half of 2016.

Consumers are also increasingly likely to switch providers, with 15% doing so last year, up from 11% in 2015.

The average smartphone data download allowance meanwhile grew more than 40% during the year, with data usage growing more than 60% over the same period.

Separately, nbn announced it has teamed up with Nokia to trial a new fibre technology that could help deliver 10 Gbps symmetrical speeds for its fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) users.

During a lab trial at Nokia's Melbourne facility, Nokia's NG-PON2 technology delivered peak speeds of 102 Gbps.

NG-PON2 (next-generation passive optical networking) combines multiple PON technologies — TWDM-PON (time and wavelength division multiplexing PON), XGS-PON (10 Gbps symmetrical PON) and GPON (Gigabit PON) technologies on a single paired fibre.

nbn said the technology could potentially deliver speeds of significantly faster than 10 Gbps as the technology is developed.

While only the limited number of customers in the FTTP footprint will be able to take advantage of such speeds, nbn said a future deployment of the technology could also benefit end users on fibre-to-the-basement and fibre-to-the-curb networks.

Image courtesy nbn.

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