Survey: ISPs exit wireless access market
Sydney, AUSTRALIA — Wednesday, 1 March 2006 — The number of ISPs in Australia offering wireless access plans has fallen dramatically in recent months, according to a survey of 512 ISPs conducted by Market Clarity. The results of the survey are to be presented by Market Clarity CEO Shara Evans in an address to the Wireless Australia conference this afternoon.
“During 2004 and 2005, the number of ISPs offering wireless plans rose strongly, peaking at close to 140,” Evans said. “However, in February 2006, this has fallen to less than 100 providers.”
Evans said that the shift in the industry seems related to the business model being used by the wireless ISPs. “Most ISPs run a business model based on a wide variety of access technologies, such as dial-up, ADSL, and ISDN in addition to wireless,” said Evans. “Where wireless access was not the ISP’s main source of connectivity, ISPs seemed more likely to discontinue wireless plans if they didn’t see sufficient take-up.”
In spite of the decline in ISPs offering wireless services, the technology now ranks fourth in ISP deployment behind dial-up, DSL, and ISDN. This, Evans said, demonstrates that fixed wireless broadband has embedded itself as a mainstream Internet access technology.
Rural areas, however, have bucked this trend. “Wireless access remains strong wherever distance puts a limit on the DSL footprint,” Evans said. “This, combined with the impact of the Federal Government’s Broadband Connect program, means that there are now 70 ISPs offering wireless plans in rural and regional Australia, compared to 38 in metropolitan areas.”
However, Evans is concerned at the long-term viability of wireless services, which have a far lower penetration on a per-provider basis than DSL technologies. “The DSL segment of the broadband market has an average of more than 8,000 subscribers per provider while wireless services today have around 890 subscribers per provider,” said Evans. “While this is not a problem for ISPs who have their infrastructure costs spread across a large subscriber base using many different technologies, it presents a challenge for ISPs for which wireless is the main game. A lot of growth is still needed before the wireless sector can have confidence in its future.”
Ms Evans presented Market Clarity’s overview of the wireless market at the Wireless Australia 2006 conference. The presentation style report, The Australian Fixed Wireless Broadband Market, is available for purchase.
About Market Clarity
Market Clarity is an award-winning telecommunications analyst firm founded in January 2006 by leading Australian telecommunications researcher and strategic consultant, Shara Evans. The firm covers all aspects of telecommunications, including traditional and converged services and technologies. Market Clarity’s extensive databases of technical and market information cover a wide range of facts and figures on the technologies and services that are shaping the Australian telecommunications market. Market Clarity’s GIS tools and research databases enable the correlation and presentation of highly complex information in an intuitive geographic (map) format.
Market Clarity’s insights are derived from a deep understanding of technology, coupled with comprehensive research, which examines each segment of a service’s value chain as well as underlying population demographics. By leveraging its engineering knowledge with an ongoing primary research program, Market Clarity provides insight, intelligence and advice on all aspects of the Australian telecommunications market including traditional, converged and future technologies. Market Clarity’s unparalleled market knowledge and research databases are brought to all consulting engagements.
Market Clarity’s contribution to telecommunications in Australia was recognised by the telecommunications industry’s peak body, the Communications Alliance, which awarded the company its 2007 ACOMMS award for Services to the Industry – Professional Services.
Market Clarity is headquartered in Sydney, Australia.