Data Reveals More and More Australians Turn to Mobile

Image of young people around a table using mobile devicesMobile for Voice, Messaging, and Internet Access

Australia’s communication landscape is vastly shifting and mobile phones and mobile internet devices are an increasingly important part of it. We’ve all known that the shift to mobile is happening, but to what extent have mobiles replaced fixed-line telephone and internet? How are Australian’s age, location, and living circumstances shaping it? Have a look at researchacma data for some answers to those questions.

Twelve percent of adult Australian’s had neither a fixed-line phone nor fixed-line internet in their homes, as of December 2014. Instead, they are using mobile devices for internet access, messaging, and voice. This is a small, but growing group of adults who are moving to exclusively mobile communication.

Nearly twenty-nine percent of adult Australians had a mobile-only phone and no fixed-telephone line at home. This number has increased from 2.2 million at December 2010 to 5.2 million at December 2014.

Twenty-one percent of adult Australians used a mobile-only internet connection and did not have a fixed internet connection in the home at December 2014. They rely on a mobile phone, tablet, or mobile broadband connection to access the internet.

Increased Functionality of Mobile

Mobile phones have increased in functionality and continue to do so, which makes them a reliable replacement for fixed connections in peoples’ homes. Reduced costs and increased access to Wi-Fi networks have also contributed to the shift to mobile that we’re seeing.

Exclusively Mobile

Twelve percent of the adult population or 2.1million adult Australians were exclusively mobile at December 2014. These individuals have no fixed communication connection and use mobile for voice communications, internet access, and messaging. This number has increased by 10 percent since December 2013.

There are a number of contributing factors that impact whether an individual will be exclusively mobile. As of December 2014, these included:

  • Age—22 percent of people aged 25-34 were exclusively mobile; and 16 percent of 18-24 year olds were exclusively mobile.
  • Living Arrangements—18 percent of people who live alone (11 percent of adult Australians) were exclusively mobile. Of those who live in a share house or who board, 15 percent were mobile-only.
  • Location—Australians who don’t live in the major cities were more likely to use only mobile. 10 percent of people who live in capital cities were exclusively mobile while 15 percent of people from regional areas were exclusively mobile.
What Exclusively Mobile Users Do Online

Exclusively mobile users do the same things online that non-exclusive users do. Research revealed that most people do the following activities online:

  • Communications Activities (82% exclusively mobile, 85% general internet users)
  • Internet Banking (76% exclusively mobile, 76% general internet users)
  • Research and Information(78% exclusively mobile, 79% general internet users)
  • Entertainment Activities (67% exclusively mobile, 68% general internet users)
  • Buying or Selling (57% exclusively mobile, 61% general internet users)
  • Browsing and Surfing(59% exclusively mobile, 65% general internet users)
  • Social Networking (57% exclusively mobile, 55% general internet users)

As evidenced by Facebook’s 399 million users who log in on mobile, social media activities via mobile is increasing in popularity.

Mobile-Only Phone Users

5.2 million adult Australians or 29% used a mobile phone and didn’t have a fixed-line telephone in their home. From December 2010 to December  2014, mobile-only phone users grew from 13% to 29%.

As of December 2014, mobile-only phone users looked like this:

  • Age—54 percent of people aged 25-34 and 46 percent of 18-24 year olds were mobile-only phone users.
  • Living Arrangements—37 percent of people who live alone were mobile-only phone users. Of those who live in a share house, 54 percent were mobile-only phone users; of those who board, 41 percent were mobile-only phone users.
  • Location—28 percent who lived in capital cities and 30 percent who lived in regional areas were mobile-only phone users.

Ninety-five percent of people in homeless situations had a mobile phone, according to a recent project which was conducted by the University of Sydney on behalf of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network. Seventy-seven percent of this group also reported having a smartphone. Smartphones allow them access to voice services and internet.

How Do Mobile-Only and Fixed-Line Phone Users Differ?

There are quite a bit of demographic differences between mobile-only phone users and fixed-line phone users. Seventy percent of adult Australians still maintained a fixed-line phone in their home, at December 2014.

Users of mobile-only phones are more likely to be:

  • 25-34 years old(37 percent mobile-only compared to 13 percent fixed-line telephone users).
  • Renting a home(56 percent mobile-only compared to 21 percent fixed-line telephone users).
  • From a young couple household(16 percent compared to 5 percent) or a young single household(22 percent compared to 4 percent).
Mobile-Only Internet Users

It’s interesting to note that a large portion of adult Australians do not have a fixed-line internet connection. They either use their mobile devices or a broadband connection. 3.9 million adult Australians(21 percent) used mobile-only internet.

Again, the likelihood of a person being a mobile-only internet user is influenced by these demographics:

  • Age—28 percent of people aged 25-34 were mobile-only internet users. Individuals 65 and over were less likely to be mobile-only internet users.
  • Living Arrangements—27 percent of people who live alone were mobile-only internet users and of those who board, 52 percent were mobile-only internet users.
  • Location—19 percent who lived in capital cities and 26 percent who lived in regional areas were mobile-only internet users.
Where Do Mobile-Only Internet Users Use the Internet?

Seventy-three percent (the majority) of mobile-only internet users use the internet at home. As you would imagine, this figure is lower than fixed-line internet users—97 percent of those individuals use the internet at home.

The benefit of mobile internet is that it can be accessed anywhere, which is why we’re seeing the following statistics as well: 49 percent of mobile-only internet users accessed the internet at work, 22 percent at a friend’s house, and 20 percent via a hotspot.

We’re seeing a trend in mobile usage, whether it be mobile-only phone usage, mobile-only internet usage, or exclusively mobile usage. With mobile usage on the rise, we can expect more and more Australians to continue to shift to mobile and for the communications landscape to continue to change.