The ACMA

Research snapshots

11 August, 2014
11:08 AM

Research snapshots

RSS Feed

Blog

Utilities, transport & finance lead mobile productivity

By Editor

Mobile broadband is revolutionising the way many Australian businesses operate, improving productivity and allowing them to compete more effectively in the marketplace.

The utility, transport and finance sectors are all experiencing significant benefits from the integration of mobile broadband services and devices into their business.

The impacts cited by these sectors tell a broader story of productivity impacts experienced by other Australian business sectors, as a result of mobile broadband take-up and usage.

This researchacma snapshot illustrates how mobile broadband technologies are driving productivity in small, medium and large businesses, allowing access to new suppliers, improving product and services delivery, increasing sales and saving businesses time and money.

Productivity benefits to utility, transport and finance

Electricity, gas, water and waste services topped the list of organisations saving time through mobile broadband use. These sectors were closely followed by transport, postal and warehousing services, then finance and insurance services. Transport, postal and warehousing services reported the highest cost savings to their businesses as a result of using mobile broadband (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Cost and time savings from mobile broadband by sector

Figure 1 Cost and time savings from mobile broadband by sector. This figure cites results from respondents who believed that mobile broadband has reduced costs to their businesses, and respondents who indicated that it has saved time for their employees. Results are reported for each sector showing that: Electricity, gas, water and waste services reported time saving of over 8%, this sector did not report a cost saving, Transport, postal and warehousing report a cost saving of 5% and a time saving of 3%, Administrative and support services report a cost saving of 3.5% and a time saving of 3.5%, Financial and insurance services report a cost saving of 2% and a time saving of 2.5%, Construction report a cost saving of under 2% and a time saving of 2.5%, Retail trade report a cost saving of 1.5% and a time saving of 2.5%, Accommodation and food services report a cost saving of 1.5% and a time saving of 2.5%, Education and training report a cost saving of 1.5% and a time saving of just over 2%, Manufacturing report a cost saving of just over 1% and a time saving of 1.5%, Public administration and safety report a cost saving of over 2% and a time saving of 1.5%, Professional, scientific and technical services report a cost saving of 1% and a time saving of 2.5%, Wholesale trade report a cost saving of 1% and a time saving of 2.5%, Agriculture, forestry and fishing report a cost saving of 1% and a time saving of 2%, Mining report a cost saving of 1% and time a saving of 2%, Arts and recreation services report a cost saving of under 1% and a time saving of 2%, Rental, hiring and real estate services report a cost saving of under 1% and a time saving of under 2%, Health care and social assistance report a cost saving under 1% and a time a saving of 2%, Information media and telecommunications report a cost saving under 1% and a time saving if 1%.

Data source: The CIE [1]  based on survey undertaken by Woolcott Research [2].
Base: All respondents who believed that mobile broadband has reduced costs to their businesses [3]  (n=253), and all respondents who indicated that it has saved time for their employees (n=604).
 

How does mobile broadband drive productivity?

Mobile broadband technologies enable goods and services to be produced, supplied and brought to market more efficiently.

Access to new suppliers

ACMA research suggests that mobile broadband has improved the business supply chain, enabling access to new suppliers.

Two in five businesses indicated that mobile broadband had allowed them to access new suppliers (Figure 2).

Figure 2 Access to new suppliers by business size

figure2 jpg

Note: Some columns may not total 100 per cent due to rounding.
Base: All respondents who indicated they have access to mobile internet (n=757).
Access to new suppliers by business size (.csv)

Improved service or product delivery

The research shows that mobile broadband technologies assist businesses in their customer interactions.

The majority of businesses—71 per cent—reported that mobile broadband enabled improved service or product delivery (Figure 3).

Figure 3 Service or product delivery improvements by business size

figure3 jpg

Base: All respondents who indicated they have access to mobile internet (n=757).
Service or product delivery improvements by business size (.csv)

Mobile broadband increased sales

Mobile broadband technologies are also having an impact on revenue, with nearly a third of Australian businesses reporting that access to mobile broadband increased sales (Figure 4).

Figure 4 Sales increases by business size

figure4 jpg

Note: Some columns may not total 100 per cent due to rounding.
Base: All respondents who indicated they have access to mobile internet (n=757).
Sales increases by business size (.csv)

The impact of mobile broadband on sales was significant, with the majority of businesses reporting sales increases of five per cent or more as a result of mobile broadband use (Figure 5).

Figure 5 Percentage by which mobile broadband has increased sales

figure5 jpg

Note: Some columns may not total 100 per cent due to rounding.
Base: All respondents who indicated that mobile broadband had increased sales.
Percentage  by which mobile broadband has increased sales (.csv)

Expanding markets

Mobile broadband technologies are also enabling Australian businesses to reach new customers, with two in five Australian businesses indicating that it had allowed them to access new markets (Figure 6).

Figure 6 Access to new markets by business size

figure6 jpg

Base: All respondents who indicated they have access to mobile internet (n=757).
Access to new markets by business size (. csv)

Time savings

ACMA research shows that mobile broadband technologies save employee time, enabling goods and services to be produced with fewer inputs and freeing up employee time to undertake other potentially valuable activities.

Eighty per cent of businesses with access to mobile broadband devices reported that mobile broadband had saved employee time (Figure 7).

Figure 7 Time savings by business size

 figure7 jpg

Note: Some columns may not total 100 per cent due to rounding.
Base: All respondents who indicated they have access to mobile internet (n=757).
Time savings by 
business size  (.csv)

The time savings experienced were significant, with 75 per cent of businesses reporting time savings of five per cent or more (Figure 8).

Figure 8 Percentage of time saved by mobile broadband

figure8 jpg

Note: Some columns may not total 100 per cent due to rounding.
Base: All respondents who indicated that mobile broadband had saved time for their employees.
Percentage of time saved by
mobile broadband (.csv )

Businesses reported that, on average, mobile broadband had saved 2.3 per cent of employee time. [4] That’s equivalent to a saving of $15 billion in 2013. [5]

Cost savings

ACMA research also indicates that mobile broadband technologies allow businesses to make cost savings, enabling them to produce goods and services at a lower cost.

A third of surveyed businesses reported that mobile broadband had reduced costs to their business (Figure 9).

Figure 9 Cost savings by business size

figure9 jpg

Note: Some columns may not total 100 per cent due to rounding.
Base: All respondents who indicated they have access to mobile internet (n=757).
Cost savings by 
business size (.csv)

The cost savings experienced were substantial, with the majority of businesses identifying savings of five per cent or more (Figure 10).

Figure 10 Percentage of costs saved by mobile broadband

figure10 jpg

Note: Some columns may not total 100 per cent due to rounding.
Base: All respondents who indicated that mobile broadband had reduced business costs.
Percentage of costs saved by
mobile broadband (.csv)

Has the productivity improvements of individual businesses affected the Australian economy?

Without the time savings reported by Australian businesses, the Australian economy would have been $26.5 billion smaller in 2013 (Figure 11).

Figure 11 The Australian economy with and without mobile broadband

Figure 12 The Australian economy with and without mobile broadband. This figure shows that mobile broadband increased Australia’s economic activity by $33.8 billion by 2013, modelling in this graph commences in 2006. This $33.8 billion figure is made up of productivity from the mobile communications sector increasing Australia’s economy by $7.3 billion, and the time savings as reported by Australian businesses increasing Australia’s economy by $26.5 billion.

Data source: The CIE [6]

About this snapshot

This researchacma snapshot was informed by the business mobile communications usage and impact survey. The survey was commissioned by the ACMA and conducted by Woolcott Research, as part of its study on the Economic impacts of mobile broadband on the Australian economy, from 2006 to 2013.

This snapshot examines the productivity impacts of mobile broadband on business. An earlier researchacma snapshot—The mobile business examined business attitudes and take-up of mobile broadband and was released in May 2014.

Unless otherwise stated, all data in this snapshot is sourced from this survey. The technical report on the survey is available on the ACMA website. Raw data from the survey is also available in Excel format.

The survey provides primary data on the impacts generated from the use of mobile broadband among Australian businesses, and reveals how these impacts differ across various sectors of the economy.

The study and the survey form part of the researchacma program, intended to inform the ACMA of conditions in contemporary communications and media, and the regulatory policy settings and interventions needed to support efficient use of public resources. 

This research provides important evidence on the factors that influence the requirements for spectrum in the future, such as the increased take-up and use of mobile broadband technologies. It also illustrates the impact spectrum-enabled technologies, such as mobile broadband, have on Australia’s economic and social prosperity.

The survey covered 1,002 businesses across the Australian economy [7], comprising:

  • 534 ‘micro businesses’ (0–4 employees)
  • 326 ‘small businesses’ (5–19 employees)
  • 100 ‘medium businesses’ (20–199 employees)
  • 42 ‘large businesses’ (200 or more employees).

The survey was stratified according to sector and size, with a higher share of large businesses surveyed given their greater economic importance. 

Each researchacma snapshot covers a single issue and allows the ACMA to focus on topics of interest to stakeholders. The snapshots and other ACMA research are online at www.acma.gov.au/researchacma.

Join the conversation and follow us on Twitter@acmadotgov.

twitter gif 

End notes

[1] See The economic impacts of mobile broadband on the Australian economy, from 2006 to 2013, p. 48.

[2] Technical report for Business Mobile Communications Usage and Impact survey is available on the ACMA website.

[3] None of the respondents from the electricity, gas, water and waste services sector indicated that using mobile broadband had reduced costs to their business.

[4] See The economic impacts of mobile broadband on the Australian economy, from 2006 to 2013, p. 44.  The magnitude of impact is based on the midpoint of the range and the lower bound of the range for the highest range.

[5] See The economic impacts of mobile broadband on the Australian economy, from 2006 to 2013, p. 44. The value of time saving is calculated by applying this percentage to the wages and salaries for Australia.

[6] See The economic impacts of mobile broadband on the Australian economy, from 2006 to 2013, p. 54.

[7] A small number of extra interviews completed in hard copy were received from the large business respondents after the submission of the main data on 22 September 2013. These surveys are not considered in this research snapshot.

Back to top