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Australia’s mobile digital economy – ACMA confirms usage, choice, mobility and intensity on the rise

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Australia’s digital economy again grew strongly during 2012–13 with increases in internet usage, consumer choice and mobile access to the internet. Key insights into Australia’s rapidly-changing communications and media market are contained in the ACMA Communications report 2012–13 tabled in Federal Parliament today.

‘Despite the extraordinarily rapid rate of change, Australians seem to be adapting reasonably confidently and relatively seamlessly to an Internet-enabled world,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.

‘Usage is up, choices and platforms are growing, mobility is all-consuming and our online experience is getting deeper and more intense, as we do more and more activities via the internet.’

Mobility was an increasing feature of online participation with 7.5 million Australians using the internet via their mobile phone during June 2013, an increase of 33 per cent (or ten percentage points) compared to June 2012 and a telling 510 per cent since June 2008.

The chart below shows changes in access to the internet, 2008 to 2013 (as a percentage of people aged 18 years and over).

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*Relates to use of the internet via a mobile phone handset each year during the month of June.

Source: ACMA Communications report 2012–13. (Fig. 5.1)

At June 2013, 10.81 million people went online more than once a day—a seven per cent increase compared to the same time last year and a 72 per cent increase from June 2008.

Internet users also performed more activities online, with 43 per cent undertaking five or more separate online activities during the month of June 2013, up from 39 per cent during June 2012 and only 12 per cent during June 2008.

Growth in online participation is also well demonstrated by the continued surge in the volume of data downloaded in Australia, with 676,898 terabytes worth of data downloaded during the June quarter 2013, a sobering 59 per cent increase on the June quarter of 2012. The rapid take-up of online content services has been a major contributor to this growth in data usage, with 7.86 million people using professional content services such as catch-up TV, video on demand and IPTV in the six months to May 2013, an increase of 52 per cent compared to May last year.

The rapid evolution within the digital economy is also reflected in the diversification of consumer communication choices and the continuing shift to mobile devices. In the six months to May 2013, 62 per cent of adult Australians used five or more separate communication services and 53 per cent identified a mobile phone as their most used communication service, compared to only 16 per cent who identified a fixed-line telephone.

Smartphones are increasingly core to Australians’ communications choices, with 11.19 million smartphone users in Australia at May 2013, up 29 per cent since May 2012. The take-up of devices such as smartphones and tablets has also seen a jump in the use of VoIP, with mobile VoIP users increasing by 73 per cent to 1.06 million and tablet VoIP users increasing by 150 per cent to 966,000.

Click here or see the Communications report “Fast Facts” below and an infographic is available here.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or

Media release 91/2013 - 11 December

ACMA Communications report 2012–13

Fast facts

The ACMA Communications report 2012–13 confirms that the internet is playing a growing role in the daily lives of Australians. The indicia that the scale and the depth of the digital economy is increasing include levels of internet access, frequency of internet use and number of activities performed online.

The ACMA Communications report draws on a number of key data sources including:

>        the ACMA’s annual data request to carriers and carriage service providers and other information gathered by the ACMA as part of its day-to-day responsibilities

>        ACMA-commissioned survey of communication consumers conducted in May 2013, covering both usage over the preceding six months and as a snapshot on the day of the survey in May 2013

>        desk research undertaken by ACMA staff

>        data released by other agencies, such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics.


Daily life

>        14.24 million Australians had access to the internet in their home at June 2013, an increase of two per cent since June 2012.

>        At June 2013, 98 per cent of active users accessed the internet at home.

>        Half of users accessed the internet at work.

>        5.64 million people use the internet to work away from the office, the so called ‘digital workers’.

>        12.86 million people used online banking or bill paying in the six months to May 2013, up 10 per cent since May 2012.

Going mobile

>        At June 2013, there were 31.09 million mobile services in operation in Australia, up 3 per cent since June 2012.

>        At May 2013, 11.19 million people had a smartphone, up 2 per cent from May 2012.

>        During June 2013, 7.5 million Australians accessed the internet via their mobile phones, an increase of 33 per cent from June 2012.

>        42 per cent of adults accessed the internet via a mobile phone during June 2013, compared to 32 per cent during June 2012.

Australians ‘mix and match’

>        63 per cent of mobile phone internet users also have a home fixed-line internet connection.

>        62 per cent of Australians going online used three or more devices to access the internet in the six months to May 2013—most commonly a smartphone, portable computer and a desktop computer.

>        43 per cent of internet user undertook five or more separate activities online during June 2013 compared to 39 per cent during June 2012.

>        4.59 million people use voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services, such as Skype at June 2013, compared 4.34 million at June 2012.

>        The number of users of VoIP via mobile phones and tablets increased by 73 per cent and 150 per cent respectively in the 12 months to June 2013.

>        40 per cent of Australians used six or more separate communication services in the six months to May 2013.

Downloading and streaming

>        Australians downloaded 676,898 terabytes of data in the June quarter 2013—a 59 per cent increase on the June quarter 2012.

>        93 per cent of data downloaded occurred via fixed-line broadband.

>        The average mobile phone internet user downloaded 1 GB of data in the quarter ending June 2013, compared to 107.9 GB for the average fixed-line broadband user. (For fixed-line broadband internet users, for example, this could equate to accessing data equivalent to 20 high definition movies, 2,000 songs and also 4,200 e-books during the quarter).

>        Nearly eight million Australians downloaded video or audio in the six months to May 2013, compared to nearly 7 million during the six months to May 2012.

>        9.26 million now streaming video or audio content in the six months to May 2013, compared to 8.28 million during the six months to May 2012.

>        13.08 million Australians downloaded a mobile app in the six months to May 2013.

>        14 million Australians using cloud computing services in the six months to May 2013, compared to 12.57 million in the six months to May 2012.

>       Nine out of the top 10 online news sites accessed in Australia during June 2013 were Australian.


Online business in Australia

>        At June 2013, there were 2.67 million domain names registered under .au (excluding government domain names), an increase of 9 per cent from June 2012.

>        Latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that Australian business earned $237 billion in revenue from the sales of goods and services online during the 2011–12 financial year.

>        Expenditure on online advertising in Australia grew by 26 per cent to total $3.34 billion over the 2012 calendar year.

Emergency call services

>        During 2012–13, over 8.8 million calls were made to emergency service numbers.

>       99.1 per cent of calls were answered within 10 seconds, meeting the regulatory requirements.

Regulated telecommunications services

>        At June 2013, there were 6.68 million fixed-line telephone services covered by the Customer Service Guarantee Standard, a decrease of 6 per cent since June 2012.

>        The number of payphones decreased by 5 per cent in 2012–13 to 29,523.

>        At June 2013, there were 8.74 million numbers listed on the Do Not Call Register—a 13 per cent increase from June 2012.

Broadcast industry performance

>        Free-to-air commercial television stations continued to meet their regulatory requirements for transmitting Australian content and advertising.

>        All regional commercial radio and television broadcasting licensees broadcast the required amount of material of local significance.

>        The rollout of digital TV was nearly complete in metropolitan and regional areas (with the last remaining analogue services switched off on 10 December 2013).


Last updated: 11 December 2013

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