Accessing mobile applications is becoming increasingly popular for Australians, with 3.9 million people aged 14 years and over going online via their mobile in June 2011 alone.
The ACMA's Emerging mobile telecommunications service market in Australia report (word) and (pdf), reveals that in April 2011, 37 per cent of mobile phone users had a smartphone and 58 per cent had a 3G phone. And of the smartphone users, 72 per cent downloaded a mobile app in the six months to April 2011.
Figure 1 Consumer take-up of mobile phones, by handset type
Note: Multiple responses allowed as respondents can have more than one mobile phone type. Relates to consumers in households with a fixed-line telephone service.
Source: ACMA-commissioned consumer survey, April 2011.
The report analyses four mobile applications services (mobile handset VoIP, m-commerce, mobile video and mobile social networking) and their potential impact in terms of:
- Substitution-mobile apps can potentially substitute for some services provided by mobile service providers (MSPs). For example, mobile handset VoIP, offers an alternative to voice calls over the mobile network.
- Disruption-mobile apps can potentially disrupt industry structures and processes in many sectors beyond communications; for example, m-commerce.
- Expansion-mobile apps allow online services, previously restricted to computer access, to move onto the mobile platform. For example, mobile social networking.
- Multiple screens-mobile apps that incorporate video are an example of mobiles becoming the 'third screen', complementing television and computer.
According to the report, the number of Australians using the internet via their mobile phone for specific tasks during June 2011 included:
- Accessed a social networking site-1.55 million people
- Banking and bill payment-751,000 people
- Streamed video or movies-555,000 people
- Streamed audio content-304,000 people
- Used a VoIP service-274,000 people
- Purchased a good or service-100,000
Continued consumer adoption of smartphones and growth in the usage of internet via mobile phones, are likely to encourage further development and use of mobile apps in Australia.