6 March 2009
Young Australians leaving home without the phone
A new Australian Communications and Media Authority report, Australian household consumers’ take-up and use of voice communication services, has confirmed that young Australians are increasingly choosing not to connect a fixed line phone when moving out of their parental home, relying instead on mobile technology.
The study, published today, presents research findings into the attitudes and behaviours of household consumers concerning their voice communications. It indicates that while 90 per cent of consumers use both mobile and fixed line phones to stay in touch, many Australians aged 18 to 24 are abandoning the traditional phone in favour of more flexible technology.
‘Younger adults are leading Australia’s shift away from fixed-line communications, with many choosing not to connect a fixed-line phone in their new residence when they move out of the parental home,’ said Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman. ‘The level of mobile service take-up in this demographic is among the highest in the country, at 95 per cent of 25- to 35-year-olds.
‘This latest research, which builds on previous ACMA research in this area, highlights the role younger people are playing in embracing new communications technology in Australia,’ Mr Chapman added. ‘Young Australians are leading the charge to choose technology that suits their lifestyle, rather than copying their parents.’
Among the wider population, fixed-to-mobile substitution is a multi-stage process, from fixed-line only users to those consumers who rely solely on mobile technology for all communications needs. The report shows a strong relationship between age and consumer attitudes to communication technology and, in particular, reluctance by Australians over 50 to relinquish their fixed line phone.
‘The report’s findings nonetheless underscore the on-going importance of the traditional phone service to the lives of older Australians, even with the high rate of mobile phone use,’ Mr Chapman said.
The report is available on ACMA’s website.
Media contact: Donald Robertson, ACMA Media Manager, on (02) 9334 7980
ACMA is undertaking an ongoing examination and analysis of the use and provision of telecommunications services in Australia. The work program has been designed to assist ACMA in its role as the industry regulator and to meet its statutory reporting requirements under the Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005 and Section 105 of the Telecommunication Act 1997.
Key findings of the Australian household consumers’ take-up and use of voice communication services report
- Younger consumers show a clear preference for mobile communications, with 79 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds using their mobiles more often than a fixed-line service. Among older Australians, a strong preference for fixed-line phone calls is seen, with those aged over 70 years most often using their fixed-line phones to make voice calls.
- When asked why they did not use a mobile phone, the most frequent response from older Australians was that they did not see the need (44 per cent). This underscores the disinclination by this section of the community to change long-established communication habits, or to adopt new technology without compelling cause.
- Emerging technologies such as VoIP are yet to be adopted by Australians at mainstream levels. However, with over three-quarters of Australian households connected to the internet and a growing awareness of how VoIP services are accessed, the take-up of broadband telephony is likely to grow. The potential of the VoIP market has been recognised by industry, with 47 per cent of internet service providers offering VoIP services as part of a bundled broadband package.
This report is the first in a series highlighting the changing trends in fixed-line, mobile and internet service take-up and use by Australian household consumers.
ACMA commissioned Roy Morgan Research to undertake a national telephone survey in May–June 2008 of two groups - fixed-line users and mobile phone users not connected to a fixed-line service.
A general questionnaire was developed based in part on the survey undertaken by ACMA in 2007 for its Telecommunication Today series. However, the number of questions was extended for the current report to provide a deeper analysis of access to, and behaviour in, an online environment.
In addition to questions about general household communications, fixed-line and mobile phone–only users were asked specific questions about their use and behaviour regarding their communications preferences. Thus, in the survey of mobile-phone users, respondents were not asked questions regarding their fixed-line activity.
ACMA’s research program in 2009
ACMA has regulatory obligations to report and advise on telecommunications, radiocommunications, broadcasting and the internet.
ACMA is planning to issue a number of studies this year as part of its research focus on changing consumer use and attitudes towards communications and media services.
Two complementary reports to the Australian household consumers’ take-up and use of voice communication services report due for release over coming weeks are:
- Australia in the Digital Economy: Trust & Confidence –which outlines Australian attitudes and behaviour relating to their online security;
- Convergence and Communications: take-up and use of communications by small and medium enterprises –which examines the level of adoption of new and emerging services such as VoIP and 3G by SMEs.
Other research ACMA is conducting under this program includes reports examining technology trends, changes in communications and media business models, and spectrum management arrangements including auction design and pricing for allocations.
This Australian consumers’ take-up and use of voice communication services report also draws on these ACMA reports from 2008:
- the annual Communications Report
- the Telecommunications Today series of reports, in particular the fifth report, Consumer Take-up and Use of Communication Services
- the report Fixed–Mobile Convergence and Fixed–Mobile Substitution in Australia.