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Australians Binge: Streaming Sees Downloads Soar

Australians are downloading a substantial amount of data in comparison to last year, according to the ACCC’s Communications Market Report for 2018-19.

The rapid success of streaming services such as Netflix, Stan, Optus Sport and Kayo Sports contributed to a 47 per cent hike in data downloads over the past 12-months, with fixed broadband services accounting for 88 per cent of all downloaded data.

‘More Australians are getting fixed broadband services at home as their data needs increase,’ ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

‘A jump to more than half of all plans offering unlimited plans in just five years really is a sign of the times.’

‘The quality of Australia’s communications services is also improving, allowing more of us to use and enjoy data-heavy activities like streaming in high definition.’

‘This trend is likely to be further boosted during 2019-20 with the entry of new competitors such as Disney+ and Apple TV+.’

The report reveals that Australians’ are choosing to communicate over social media, with minutes spent using traditional voice services on mobile devices dropped the first time over the year.

Instead, people are opting to use over-the-top services like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Viber.

Additionally, the reliance on mobile services for broadband is declining, dropping from 23 per cent in 2014 to 16 per cent in 2019, according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The ACCC says that investments in mobile networks, especially with 5G, may bring stronger network-based competition to the NBN. But the scale of 5G deployment is still uncertain.

There were also notable price drops – with average real prices for mobile phone services dropped by 6.6 per cent during the year, with broadband prices falling by 1.5 per cent.

But the ACCC has still criticised the lack of affordable entry-level plans available on the market, which they say has been withdrawn in favour of higher priced plans with more inclusions.

(AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

‘While competition and investment is giving consumers better value in terms of higher quality services for their money, consumers who do not want “bells and whistles” are struggling to find cheap, entry level, fixed broadband and voice products,’ Mr Sims said.

‘Although the very recent changes to NBN Co’s products and pricing are helpful, the ACCC is continuing to consider whether further action is needed to make sure consumers aren’t worse off when they switch to the NBN.’

Consumer complaints to the ACCC and Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman still remain high, however, with many relating to connection and service quality issues.

You can read the ACCC’s full report at Communications market report 2018-19

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