The connected business | ACMA

Research snapshots

15 October, 2013 09:00 AM

Research snapshots

The connected business

By Joseph Di Gregorio

Business woman on mobile

Australian businesses are using multiple communication services to fulfil their businesses needs, with larger businesses generally more ’connected’ than smaller businesses.

Nearly half of businesses (46 per cent) are also bundling their services, taking advantage of the cost savings and efficiency.

Why is the business market important?

Communication services are important to Australian businesses with participation in the digital economy providing businesses with opportunities to drive productivity improvements, expand customer base and enable jobs growth.[1]

How are businesses defined?

This snapshot reviews the communication usage of all businesses, specifically comparing the use of business communication by small and medium-sized businesses with that by large businesses. The definitions of business size are in Table 1.

Table 1 Business size—definition

Number of employees

% of businesses in Australia

Small business

1-19

96%

Medium-sized business

20–199

4%

Large business

200+

<1%

Source: Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, Australian Small Business: Key statistics and analysis, December 2012

What communication services do businesses use?

Australian businesses are taking advantage of the range of services available and are well connected, with the majority using multiple communication services.

The use of a fixed-line phone and mobile phones is nearly ubiquitous in Australian businesses, with 98 per cent using at least one voice service at June 2012. Individually, 90 per cent of businesses are using a fixed-line phone and 90 per cent a mobile phone.

The use of the internet is also important, with 93 per cent of businesses connecting to one or more internet services at June 2012. Businesses are using different forms of internet access, with 83 per cent connecting using a fixed internet connection (including broadband and narrowband connections) and 44 per cent connecting via a mobile broadband internet connection.

Figure 1 Business use of communication services, June 2012

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Source: Roy Morgan Telco Business Survey, July 2011–June 2012, total business population

Which fixed-line phone services are businesses using?

Size influences how much businesses rely on fixed-line phones, with 89 per cent of small businesses, 94 per cent of medium-sized businesses and 97 per cent of large businesses using a fixed-line phone.

Small businesses are more likely to use a direct telephone line, that is one telephone line per phone. Larger businesses are more likely to use a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) system, which is a private telephone network within a business.

As shown in the Figure 2, larger businesses are also more likely to use multiple fixed-line services, with 78 per cent using direct telephone lines and 83 per cent using a PBX system. This compares to 91 per cent of small businesses using a direct telephone lines and only 16 per cent using a PBX system.

As expected, the use of PBX systems increases with a business size.

Figure 2 Business use of fixed-line phones by business size, June2012

ss2figure2 gif

Note: Multiple responses allowed. Direct telephone lines relate to services not connected to a PBX system.
Source: Roy Morgan Telco Business Survey, July 2011–June 2012, businesses with a fixed-line telephone

Which mobile phone services are businesses using?  

Approximately eight per cent of businesses were mobile-only in the year ending June 2012. This differs significantly from the consumer sector where 19 per cent of the population aged 18 and over were mobile-only at December 2012. This is highlighted in the first ACMA research snapshot Australians cut the cord, published 5 July, 2013.

Again, the size of a business influences reliance on mobile phones, with 90 per cent of small businesses and 92 per cent of medium-sized businesses using one or more mobile phones compared to 95 per cent of large businesses.

Which internet services are businesses using?

Australian businesses are using a wide range of services to access the internet, with many using multiple internet services.

At June 2012, 93 per cent of Australian businesses had some form of internet connection, with 37 per cent using both a fixed-line and a mobile broadband internet connection. Just over half of the businesses connected to the internet only used a fixed internet connection (53 per cent), while 11 per cent only used a mobile broadband internet connection.

Figure 3 Type of internet connection, June 2012

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Source: Roy Morgan Telco Business Survey, July 2011–June 2012, businesses with any form of internet connection
Note: Due to rounding the totals do not add up to 100 per cent

The type of internet connection and the tendency to have an internet connection depends on the size of business with use of services increasing with business size, as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4 Type of internet connection by business size, June 2012

ss2figure4 gif
Source: Roy Morgan Telco Business Survey, July 2011–June 2012, total business population

Which type of fixed internet connection do businesses use?

Eighty-three per cent of businesses in Australia use a fixed internet connection.
ADSL is the most popular method for businesses to connect to the internet, with 72 per cent of businesses who have a fixed-line internet connection using an ADSL connection. The next most popular connection methods are wireless modem/gateway (18 per cent) and cable modem (13 per cent).

Larger businesses are more likely to use multiple internet connections—71 per cent have an ADSL connection, 34 per cent use a wireless modem/gateway, 33 per cent use a cable modem and 25 per cent are connected via an ISDN service.

Figure 5 Business use of fixed internet connection by business size, June 2012

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Source: Roy Morgan Telco Business Survey, July 2011–June 2012, businesses with a fixed internet connection

Which type of mobile broadband internet connection do businesses use?

Forty-four per cent of Australian businesses were using a mobile broadband internet connection at the end of June 2012.

The majority of businesses are using mobile broadband internet to complement their fixed internet connection, with only 11 per cent of businesses with an internet connection relying solely on a mobile broadband connection. This compares to 37 per cent of businesses with an internet connection using both a fixed internet connection and a mobile broadband connection.

The most popular form of mobile broadband internet was a USB internet key/modem/ dongle, which was used by 57 per cent of mobile broadband users. A portable broadband WiFi modem was also popular, with 33 per cent connected using this method.

Again, larger businesses are more likely to use multiple mobile broadband internet services, with 73 per cent of those with a mobile broadband connection using a USB internet key/modem/dongle, 36 per cent using a tablet or notebook SIM/microSIM and 14 per cent using a datacard.

Figure 6 Business use of mobile broadband by business size, June 2012

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Source: Roy Morgan Telco Business Survey, July 2011–June 2012, businesses with a mobile broadband internet connection

Are businesses satisfied with their communication services?

Overall, around sixty per cent of businesses are satisfied with their communication services (Figure 7). Satisfaction levels are marginally higher for a fixed internet connection, with 67 per cent indicating they were either very satisfied or fairly satisfied. This compares to 62 per cent for those using a fixed-line phone service, 62 per cent a mobile phone service, 61 per cent using an IP network service and 59 per cent of those using a mobile broadband internet service.

Dissatisfaction was marginally higher for mobile phone (18 per cent) and mobile broadband internet users (17 per cent), indicating they were either fairly or very dissatisfied with their service. This compares to 15 per cent of those with a fixed-line phone and a fixed internet connection, and only 12 per cent of those with an IP network service.  

Figure 7 Business satisfaction with communication services, June 2012

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Source: Roy Morgan Telco Business Survey, July 2011–June 2012, businesses with a connected service

Satisfaction levels differ depending on the service and business size, as shown in Table 2. Satisfaction is markedly higher for large businesses for fixed services such as fixed-line phone, fixed internet and IP network and similar across all businesses sizes for mobile phone services.

In contrast, larger businesses were more dissatisfied with mobile services, such as mobile phone and mobile broadband internet, with one in five indicating they were either very dissatisfied or fairly dissatisfied with the service. See Table 3.

Table 2 Business satisfaction with communication services

Small business

Medium-sized business

Large business

Fixed-line phone

62%

65%

74%

Mobile phone

62%

63%

62%

Fixed internet connection

67%

68%

76%

Mobile broadband internet

58%

66%

65%

IP network

60%

64%

74%

Source: Roy Morgan Telco Business Survey, July 2011–June 2012, businesses with a connected service

Table 3 Businesses dissatisfaction with communication services

Small business

Medium-sized business

Large business

Fixed-line telephone

15%

14%

9%

Mobile phone

18%

15%

20%

Fixed internet connection

15%

13%

8%

Mobile broadband internet

17%

13%

20%

IP network

12%

12%

10%

Source: Roy Morgan Telco Business Survey, July 2011–June 2012, businesses with a connected service

Do businesses bundle their communication services?

Businesses are bundling their communication services to take advantage of the cost-efficiency saving and convenience of using one service provider. This is evidenced by research undertaken by Roy Morgan Single Source, which highlights at December 2012 small business perceptions of the main benefits of bundling as:

  • financial discount (59 per cent)  
  • convenience of dealing with one service provider for billing (55 per cent)
  • offer of free services such as free calls or SMS (49 per cent)
  • convenience of dealing with one service provider for enquiries, complaints and other issues (38 per cent).

Nearly half (46 per cent) of all businesses bundle their communication services, with medium-sized (69 per cent) and large businesses (73 per cent) more likely to bundle compared to 45 per cent of small businesses.

The range of services which businesses bundle is diverse (Table 4). However, the vast majority of businesses bundle their fixed-line phone service with one or more other communication services (90 per cent).

Table 4 Business bundling of communication services, June 2012

Fixed-line phone

Mobile phone

Fixed internet

Mobile broadband internet

Per cent of businesses that bundle

Yes

Yes

Yes

27%

Yes

Yes

19%

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

17%

Yes

Yes

13%

Yes

Yes

Yes

8%

Yes

Yes

5%

Yes

Yes

4%

Yes

Yes

Yes

4%

Source: Roy Morgan Telco Business Survey, January 2012–December 2013, businesses with a bundled service.

Background to the bulletin

Data presented in this bulletin is sourced from two Roy Morgan surveys:

  • Roy Morgan Telco Business survey with data to the year ending June 2012;
  • Roy Morgan Single Source with data at the year ending December 2012.

This is the second bulletin in the ACMA’s research snapshots series. The previous bulletin released was:

  • Australians cut the cord¸ released 5 July 2013.

Each snapshot is a single-issue report that allows the ACMA to focus on convergence and digital economy issues of particular interest to stakeholders. These research snapshots and other ACMA research can be access online at www.acma.gov.au

Comments and enquiries regarding the ACMA research should be sent to communications.analysis@acma.gov.au

This prezi is also available.

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