Sun, 14 Jun 2015 - 21:00
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The trend to use mobile ever more heavily is continuing

The ever growing reliance of Australians on mobile communications is something I have commented on regularly in my blog.

Recent data shows that the trend to use mobile ever more heavily is continuing – and so too is the trend for more and more Australians to cut their fixed line services.

New research from the Australian Communications and Media Authority has found that 29% of Australian adults (5.2 million adults) are now mobile-only for voice calls, 21% (3.9 million) are mobile-only for internet use, and 12% - more than one in ten Australian adults – are now exclusively mobile for both voice calls and internet use. This equates to 2.1 million Australian adults without any fixed-line connection at all – up from 1.8 million Australians a year earlier.

Unsurprisingly, the trend to rely solely on a mobile is strongest amongst younger Australians.    The highest proportion of mobile-only users were aged 25-34 (22% of the total), followed by 18-24 (16%) and 35-44 (12%). These age groups combined account for almost all of the growth in mobile-only users over the past year.

Mobile only users are more like to be found living alone, share-housing or boarding. On the other end of the spectrum, those least likely to be mobile-only are older age groups (only 3% of over 65 year-olds) and people living with a partner and children (only 9% of the total).

The heavy weighting of younger people is true for both people who are mobile-only for voice and those who are mobile-only for data.  Of the 5.2 million who are mobile-only for voice calls, 54% are aged 25-34; of the 3.9 million who are mobile-only for internet, 28% are aged 25-34.

Another interesting fact included in the report is the high level of mobile and smartphone use amongst the homeless. The report pointed to a University of Sydney/ACCAN study which found that found that 95% of homeless people had a mobile phone, and 77% of this group used a smartphone.

Fixed line telephone services have been around for well over one hundred years; mobile for only about thirty years.  But it is clear that in a growing section of the market mobile is shouldering aside fixed – as more and more people reply solely on mobile for voice and for data services. 

It is a striking trend – and one that certainly looks to have some distance to run yet.