Mobile connectivity in Australia remains strong; global companies expand services

By @chelean on
A businessman checks his mobile phone as the sun filters through a Sydney park August 4, 2014.
A businessman checks his mobile phone as the sun filters through a Sydney park August 4, 2014. Telstra Corp. Ltd, Australia's largest telco, reported a 14.3 percent rise in annual net profit on August 14, 2014, beating analyst expectations, and announced an A$1 billion ($930.1 million) share buyback. Picture taken August 4, 2014. Reuters/David Gray

Australians are online most through smartphones. Data also show that time spent in mobile apps are almost 10 times than the time smartphones users in Australia spend with mobile browsers.

According to Nielsen and the Interactive Advertising Bureau Australia, on average, Internet users spend almost 35 hours per month going online using a smartphone. In comparison, less than 26 hours per month are devoted to accessing the Internet using a tablet or a PC.

Smartphone apps are the main reason for mobile Internet time. The study details that Facebook is the top app in the country in terms of unique audience. Its own messaging app, Facebook Messenger, closely follows. Facebook is the second most visited site in Australia via a smartphone browser.

Social media took up 39 percent of smartphone time in Australia. Entertainment, excluding games, was second with 15 percent, and gaming at third with 12 percent

Mobile Payment, Consumer Protection

Samsung is bringing its mobile payment system to Singapore, Australia and Brazil. The Korean electronics giant has Samsung Pay, which allows consumers to pay at retail locations using their smartphones. No official launch date was announced for any of the countries. Samsung Pay was launched in the US on Sep. 28 last year.

The news comes in time with the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) intent to review consumer protections reforms for telco customers in Australia.

In 2012, ACMA improved the transparency and comparability of pricing, nature of services and extra charges between carriers. The changes in the telecommunications consumer protection (TCP) code of conduct were also aimed at improving complaint handling by telcos. From 2014 to 2015, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman has reported a downward trend in the number of complaints it receives.

However, most recently, the ACMA has acknowledged that this is “just one aspect” of telecommunications customer experience. With a budget of $154,000, a new survey will ask billpayers aged 18 and above about satisfaction with various services. These include complaints handling, bill shock, transparency around offers and promotions, clarity of critical information summaries, and their experience using telco or ISP provided spend-management tools.

The ACMA also know and limit what leads to larger bills. Poor mobile network coverage is to blame, and in other countries such as India, a solution that ultimately enhances network performance has been made. The existing connectivity problems have prompted 5BARz International, Inc.  (OTCQB: BARZ) to create its network extender. The network extender is a high-tech plug-and-play device that vastly improved cellular signals, enhanced voice, data and video reception, and extended life on all cellular equipped devices.

Devices such as the network extender guarantee no wasted money due to spotty signals. The ACMA will also review over-the-top services like video streaming. The new survey findings, ACMA believes, will be a fundamental basis to guide any changes that may be deemed necessary.