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Telstra nudges 40% mobile market share after picking up 400,000 extra customers, Vodafone starts comeback

Andrew Sadauskas /

Telstra’s consumer mobile market share is now nudging 40%, with the carrier picking up over 400,000 new customers during 2013, according to new Roy Morgan Research figures.

According to the 2013 Services in Operation (SIO) data from Roy Morgan Research, there were almost 16 million mobile phones in total operating in Australia, including both feature-phones and smartphones.

Each half-percentage point of market share in the survey represents roughly 80,000 services either won or lost.

Market leader Telstra enjoyed four consecutive quarters of market share growth during 2013, growing from 37.5% market share in the first quarter to 39.4% in the fourth.

Second-placed Optus grew from 24.7% in the first quarter to 25.2% in the second, only to fall back to 24.8% by the December quarter.

Vodafone began 2013 amid a continuing slide in market share, which dropped from 21.4% during the first quarter of 2013 to just 19.4% during the third quarter.

However, in a good piece of news for the third-placed carrier, its position appears to have reversed in the lead-up to Christmas, with its market share growing to 20.9% by the end of the fourth quarter.

Of the MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) – carriers that resell services on either Optus, Telstra or Vodafone’s networks – Optus-owned Virgin was the largest, with 5.4% market share.

However, mirroring the pattern at its parent company, its market share grew to 5.7% during the second quarter before collapsing to just 5% by the end of the fourth quarter.

Roy Morgan Research general manager of media Tim Martin says the competitive mobile market in Australia means the major carriers are constantly being challenged to pinpoint new strategic openings, position their brands and launch new products.

“A strong value proposition of ‘reliable network coverage’ is the dominant reason that consumers are attracted to market leader Telstra, while MVNOs such as Amaysim (winner of the 2013 Roy Morgan Mobile Provider of the Year Customer Satisfaction Award), own ‘cheaper rates’ and have made great steps to attract those consumers dissatisfied with incumbent  providers.

“Our data shows that Optus currently lies as a safe option for consumers seeking to balance price with coverage, and stay with a service provider with a good reputation.

“Vodafone’s recapture of share in the last quarter of 2013 coincides with their heavy promotion of faster download speeds, suggesting this strategy is resonating with consumers.

“In such a competitive space, every pinprick of an opening to respond to the needs of consumers is an opportunity to gain market share: to get in there, advertise and deliver, own the space and expand it.”

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Andrew Sadauskas

Andrew Sadauskas is a former journalist at SmartCompany and a former editor of TechCompany.

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