Australia Telecoms Industry Report 2023: Capex Investments, Mobile Subscribers and Revenue, Broadband Subscribers & the NBN, Thematics - 5G / Tower Sale / 6G / M&A

Dublin, April 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The "Australia Telecoms Industry Report 2023-2030" report has been added to's offering.

This report includes an overview of the Australian market dynamics, market sizing, market forecasts, analysis, insights and key trends.

Globally, the telecommunications sector is proving to be a core and essential infrastructure service to national economies, with data infrastructure becoming critical in a connected world and will likely increasingly attract a new class of investors such as large infrastructure funds. The publisher expects the Australian telecommunications industry to remain steady thanks to the defensiveness nature of the industry, amid the uncertain economic outlook and inflationary pressure.

In 2022, telecoms trends inverted with mobile subscribers growing strongly while the fixed broadband market flattened with NBN losing customers for the first time. The analyst forecasts the overall telecoms market bottomed out in 2021 as NBN subscriber payments to Telstra and Optus decline gradually as all Telstra's copper and HFC services are migrated onto the NBN and market growth will resume from 2022 onwards.

The analyst forecasts that mobile subscriptions will grow at an annual average rate of 1.6% in 2023-30 and fixed broadband subscribers at an average rate of 1.5% over the same period. Total telecommunications revenue will reach AUD44 billion by 2030.

Telstra's share of the telecommunications revenue pie has been declining over the last 5 years and its EBITDA share is declining even faster as Telstra's dominance in the fixed-line market is challenged by the migration to the NBN.

Capex Investments

The Australia Telecoms Industry Report shows the capital expenditure (Capex) from telecommunications operators is coming off from an all-time peak between 2017 to 2018 due to the NBN investments in upgrading Australia's fixed broadband infrastructure. The analyst expects Capex investments to remain sustained to accommodate for data usage growth, mobile coverage expansion, and capacity improvements.

NBN expects an increasing Capex spend from 2022 to bring 75% of its fixed-line footprint to 100Mbps speeds and above but excludes a clear plan to a gigabit speeds network upgrade to full-fiber. Instead, NBN will be required to continually invest in HFC and fixed wireless to increase capacity and accommodate more customers and higher data usage.

Investments in the telecoms sector bottomed out in 2021 and telecommunications service providers are expected to maintain growth momentum in 2023-30, to an average rate of 1.9% by 2030.

Mobile Subscribers and Revenue

The mobile subscriber market increased between 2016 and 2022 with Telstra and Optus growing their postpaid subscriber base and Telstra also increasing its MVNO and IoT subscribers significantly over the same period 2016-22 period. The publisher estimates that Australian mobile subscribers will increase on the back of population growth and Internet of Things subscribers take-up.

Mobile network operators are facing limited competitive pressure after the market shifted to unlimited voice and text and data allowance as the sole offering differentiator. Operators are now indexing their pricing to inflation allowing them to increase pricing.

Australia is now in the unfortunate position of being the only country in the developed world with a higher average mobile speed compared to fixed broadband as per Ookla speed tests. The publisher expects 5G subscribers to represent 87% of all mobile subscribers by 2030.

Broadband Subscribers & the NBN

The publisher estimates the broadband subscribers' growth will be sustained by household growth and a reduction of the number of underserved premises previously not able to connect now served by the Internet but now served by the NBN.

By 2023, the publisher forecasts most subscribers migrated to NBN broadband services with a few remaining ADSL services in fixed wireless and satellites services and a number of fiber premises provided by greenfield operators and in-fill operators supplying wholesale services on the same terms as NBN. Uniti, other smaller greenfield operators, and TPG are sharing the non-NBN market.

Thematics - 5G / Tower Sale / 6G / M&A

The arrival of 4G moved the Internet off our desktops into our palms and pockets, 5G could transform the network from something we carry around to something taking us around either virtually (augmented reality or virtual reality) or in reality (autonomous vehicles), the 5G outcome and benefits beyond fast connectivity remain largely unknown in terms of business models, investments required and timeline.

With 5G a reality now in Australia, telco operators can now do an arbitrage of NBN speeds in areas where the copper lines are very long or in poor health and thus offer a faster service over 5G than NBN at an equivalent price for some segments of the market and some geographies.

This report shows subdued growth due to ARPU pressure compounded by margin pressure in the fixed broadband market is pushing telcos to look for outside opportunities to increase scale. The analyst expects another wave of consolidation in Australia, similar to the 2010-2015 period, post-NBN rollout as margins get squeezed further.

Smaller NBN resellers will struggle to compete and sell out to larger operators. Some market players outside the telco market are seeking growth by exploring ways to increase their scope of products and service offerings. The report outlines examples of some newcomers branching out by reselling broadband access services as a churn reduction strategy and increasing consumers' share of wallet.

Investment funds are assigning high valuation multiples to telecommunications infrastructure assets such as mobile towers, data centers, submarine cables, and fiber infrastructure. This report outlines some real market examples of how investors view and value these investments with real industry examples and EV/EBITDA comparatives and benchmarks.

Tower Sale

Traditionally, mobile coverage and therefore mobile towers have been a source of competitive differentiation, and operators have shown limited interest in carving out their mobile infrastructure until now. The Australia Telecoms Industry Report discussed how Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone's successfully sold their towers and Axicom, a total of 10,000 towers changing ownership. In the space of 2 years, a new ownership map of mobile tower infrastructure is being drawn with infrastructure funds playing an active role rather than foreign towercos.

The Australia Telecoms Industry Reporttransactions database analysis highlights a resurgence of activity since 2020 and the market's appetite for larger deals with the Vodafone/TPG merger, Uniti acquisition, and the sale of mobile operators' drawing interests from infrastructure investors for other assets.

The Australia Telecoms Industry Report also outlines select telecommunications transactions over the last 7 years. The last four years saw a slew of tier 2 telcos players rolling up smaller players to increase regional presence and scope of offerings. This came after a period of large consolidation deals that happened between 2010 and 2016.

So far since 2021, the Vocus acquisition by Macquarie Infrastructure and Aware Super, the Exetel acquisition by Superloop, the minority sale of Telstra towers and the 70% sale of tower ATN by Optus towers, the Axicom sale to ATN (now Indara), the Uniti acquisition are putting a renewed focus on large transactions and greenfield operators.

Report Coverage

This report provides analyses of revenue and market forecasts as well as statistics of the Australian telecoms industry including market sizing, 5-year projections, market insights, key telecom trends, 5G, and digital infrastructure, and also features the following:

  • Overall Telecommunications Market by Major Operators
  • Telco Operators Profile, Revenue, and EBITDA Mix
  • Mobile Subscribers & Revenue Market Overview and Forecasts
  • Spectrum Holdings
  • IoT Market Overview
  • Broadband Subscribers & Revenue Market Overview and Forecasts
  • Digital Infrastructure (Fibre, Telecom Towers, Data Centres, Submarine Cables)
  • National Broadband Network Detailed Market Overview and Forecasts
  • Telecom Tower Market Analysis and Forecast
  • Thematics / Opportunities relating to 5G, M&A, and e-Commerce
  • Telco M&A Transaction Database

Companies Mentioned

  • AGL
  • Amplitel
  • ATN
  • Aussie Broadband
  • Exetel
  • Foxtel
  • Indara
  • NBN
  • Optus
  • Superloop
  • Telstra
  • TPG
  • Uniti Group
  • Vodafone
  • Vocus

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