Almost half of Australia’s adult population now own a smartphone. Take-up soared by 104 per cent to 8.67 million units over the 12 months to May 2012, according to research released 1 February by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
Smartphones and tablets: Take-up and use in Australia also found that 9.2 million Australians went online via their mobile phone and 4.4 million accessed the internet using a tablet in the six months to May 2012. The number of mobile internet subscribers increased by 22 per cent to 22.1 million subscribers at June 2012.
‘The extraordinary rate of adoption and greater usage of smart phones underlines the critical and increasing importance of mobile and 4G services,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. ‘To support these wireless services, high speed mobile broadband, ‘fit for purpose’ spectrum frameworks and availability, and efficient infrastructure are the new essential.’
Compared to other mobile phone users, smartphone users were: nine times more likely to go online via their handsets; four times more likely to purchase goods online; three times more likely to stream or download audio or video content; three times more likely to pay bills online; and twice as likely to access social networking sites.
This is driving broader innovations and emerging services, such as mobile payments – for example the report finds that ‘Digital wallet’ products are an increasingly popular method to pay for goods and services on the go.
The report notes that continued rollout of mobile network upgrades, growth in 4G coverage and the increased use of WiFi hotspots are key drivers for the increase in smartphone ownership. In the June 2012 quarter, over two million Australians used a WiFi hotspot, 32 per cent up on the previous year.
In addition, the huge range of apps available for smartphones and tablets has increased their ease of use and functionality. The number of applications downloaded by smartphone users increased by 85 per cent during 2011–12, with over 4.45 million smartphone users downloading an app during June 2012.
A short report summary is also available.