Skip to content Skip to footer
Search

Loading Results

Access

Fixed and Mobile Internet Connectivity

Though largely built upon the NBN, the Australian Internet Access landscape is shifting, with smaller telcos increasing their market share, but the viability of alternatives such as 5G is creating opportunities in the sector.


The total value of the Australian access market was valued at A$31.6b in 2021, and is expected to grow to A$36.7b by 2026, at a CAGR of 3 percent. This is a return to steady growth, prompted by the widespread adoption of mobile access coupled with a changing competitive landscape over the coming years.

Smaller providers are gaining market share in both the consumer and enterprise space, 5G is becoming a viable NBN alternative, and regional markets will benefit from both Starlink for internet connectivity and the Telstra-TPG network sharing agreement for mobile.

Total Access Market (A$ millions)

Fixed & Mobile Broadband

Smaller Internet providers gaining market share

Smaller internet providers are becoming increasingly popular for broadband services, eating into the market share of Telstra, TPG, and Optus. Aussie Broadband has been the biggest beneficiary of the trend, with it now commanding 6.1 percent of the market.57 Data from telecommunications comparison website WhistleOut, shows SpinTel, Tangerine Telecom, and Superloop being among the most popular providers with price sensitive customers.

Aussie Broadband has also seen growth in the business market, claiming it has taken 15 percent of all NBN enterprise ethernet service orders in the financial year to date,58 growth which has been attributed to the telco’s focus on customer experience

5G becoming an increasingly viable NBN alternative

Telstra, Optus, and TPG each now have 5G home Internet available to consumers as an alternative to NBN plans. Telstra has the widest footprint, covering over 75 percent of the population.

While Telstra and Optus both offer uncapped 5G home internet plans that can deliver speeds as fast as network conditions allow, TPG has decided to sell slower, cheaper plans instead. TPG’s entry-level 5G home internet plans have speeds capped to 50Mbps, making them equivalent to an NBN 50 equivalent to an NBN 50 plan — the most popular NBN speed tier, which represents 58 percent of NBN connections.

TPG has previously said that it could save around A$50 million per year for every 100,000 customers it can move from the NBN to its 4G and 5G home internet plans.59

Optus is trialing even faster services over mmWave 5G, and achieved initial download speeds of 2.5Gbps. However, mmWave 5G coverage is still scarce, and there are very few devices available locally that can connect to mmWave networks.

Total Revenue by Access Type (A$ millions) midpoint forecast

Proposed hike could double NBN prices

NBN Co has proposed a new pricing model that would see the price of its cheapest wholesale plan double over the next decade.60 ACCC modeling suggests an NBN 50 plan could cost the same as an NBN 100 plan by 2027, and an NBN 25 plan would hit the same price by 2034. This pricing approach would push users to NBN 100 plans, which the ACCC says is more than most households need.

TPG has been one of the harshest critics of the proposed changes, saying it would effectively make entry-level broadband a thing of the past. Optus said it would have no choice but to pass proposed cost increases onto customers, whilst Telstra said the price increase would see customers moving to alternatives such as 5G home internet.

NBN Co has also proposed removing its capacity charge for plans 100Mbps and up, and instead charging a flat fee which would increase each financial year.

These changes may drive revenue growth in the sector, but not necessarily impact operator profits, given the thin margins many NBN resellers operate on.

Telstra TPG network sharing agreement 

TPG and Telstra have struck a ten-year deal which, if approved, will see TPG gain access to approximately 3,700 Telstra mobile sites within regional, rural, and urban fringe areas. In exchange, Telstra will get access to TPG’s 4G and 5G spectrum, giving it more bandwidth.

The network sharing agreement is expected to bolster TPG’s presence, particularly in regional Australia. If the deal goes ahead, the expanded coverage footprint should be available to Vodafone, TPG, iiNet, Internode, and felix mobile customers by the end of the year.

Telstra and TPG submitted their proposal to the ACCC on May 23, and it is expected that the ACCC will hand down their decision in late 2022, which the sector will be looking at closely.

Starlink offers an internet alternative for regional Australians

Elon Musk’s satellite internet solution Starlink launched in beta in Australia in 2021, and now has the appropriate licenses to provide its services Australia-wide. The telco can already offer services in parts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania.

Starlink is a nascent alternative for Australians who previously only had access to satellite NBN. Starlink is more expensive than a satellite NBN plan and has much higher setup fees, but offers unlimited data, faster speeds, and lower latency.

The introduction of Starlink is unlikely to create overall growth for the sector, but may give further options for people living in rural areas.

Telstra is also investing in the satellite space,61 having signed a long-term contract with Viasat to build ground infrastructure and the fibre network for its Asia Pacific satellite constellation. Viasat’s satellites are expected to deliver download speeds of at least 150Mbp, making it comparable to Starlink.

Fixed wireless NBN to be supercharged by 5G

NBN Co will use 5G technology to upgrade the Fixed Wireless portion of the network, increasing speeds, enhancing capacity, reducing latency, and improving coverage.

These upgrades will mean that every customer in the Fixed Wireless footprint will be able to order a plan with 100Mbps download speeds, and 85 percent of the footprint will be able to get a plan with speeds of up to 250Mbps. At present, Fixed Wireless NBN plans are limited to maximum speeds of 75Mbps.

Faster NBN plans are by nature more expensive than cheaper alternatives, so enabling more customers to get these will be a growth opportunity for the sector in the coming years.

In addition, these improvements should ensure more consistent connectivity for Fixed Wireless customers. NBN Co says the upgrades will mean Fixed Wireless services achieve download speeds of at least 50Mbps62 during peak hours.

The upgrades will also expand the Fixed Wireless footprint by up to 50 percent. This will enable around 120,000 premises that could only get Satellite NBN to order a faster Fixed Wireless plan with a larger data allowance.

These upgrades will take around two-and-a-half years to complete.

Contact us

Bhushan Sethi

Bhushan Sethi

Joint Global Leader, People & Organisation, Principal, PwC United States

Tel: +1 (917) 863 9369

Peter Brown

Peter Brown

Joint Global People & Organisation Leader, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: (+44) 7789 003712

Carol Stubbings

Carol Stubbings

Global Tax and Legal Services Leader, PwC United Kingdom

Chaitali Mukherjee

Chaitali Mukherjee

Partner, HR transformation, PwC India

Tel: +91 124 626 6620

Contact us

Laurence Dell

Partner, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 386 032 151

Dan Robins

Director, CMO Advisory, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 439 531 447

Samantha Johnson

Partner, PwC Australia

Tel: 61 2 8266 7458

Jeremy Thorpe

PwC Chief Economist, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 416 245 535

Contact us

Laurence Dell

Partner, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 386 032 151

Dan Robins

Director, CMO Advisory, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 439 531 447

Samantha Johnson

Partner, PwC Australia

Tel: 61 2 8266 7458

Jeremy Thorpe

PwC Chief Economist, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 416 245 535

Hide