Mobile Broadband Rivals Wired Broadband For Popularity

Mobile Broadband Rivals Wired Broadband For Popularity

We’re pretty fond of mobile broadband here at Lifehacker HQ, and it turns out that we’re far from alone. The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) suggest that as of June, 44 per cent of all Internet connections were via mobile broadband, while 41 per cent were via ADSL.

I’m sure that figure will get cited by some people as evidence for us having an entirely wireless future/not needing the NBN, but of course it can’t be taken in isolation. There’s no specific numbers from the ABS, but obviously lots of us have both connections: wired for at home, and wireless for on the road. Note also that if you add cable to ADSL, there are still more wired connections overall.

Other quick figures of note: only 5 per cent of the market is now using dialup, and 87 per cent of us can get theoretical download speeds of 1.5Mbps or more.



  • I would guess that the majority of those mobile broadband accounts are being used in homes, by people who can’t be bothered with picking an ISP and setting up wired broadband.

  • Wireless… the new Dial-up. Popular because you don’t need to have an extra line installed. And it can be connected anywhere.

    Hasn’t changed the percentage of faster fixed lines much at all judging by that graph.

  • Most people i know have one for holidays but look at it this way. 1 adsl connection for home which supplies up to 4 people. Those 4 people also get a wireless stick for holiday/work. i can see why the figures are how they are.

  • This doesn’t surprise me. Whilst working for 8 months at a major telecommunications call centre, staff were and most likely still are made to push and offer customers cheap/discounted wireless broadband in addition to the other services they are using because it’s convenient.
    With the new 4G networks being rolled out you will most likely see it pushed even more.

  • Angus, how does this account for our household, where we have one ADSL2+ connection, but also 2 x Android phones, and iPhone, and iPad2(3G) and an Android Tablet? That’s four wireless broadband devices v just one ADSL connection, but 99 per cent of the work is done via the ADSL.

    Lies, damned lies and statistics.

  • Well these stats aren’t particular surprising if these figures are based on number of subscribers. As above commenters have posted, fixed line access is typically delivered 1/house, whereas wireless/mobile access can be delivered multiple/person.

    Also, because of the convenience of mobile access, it’s possible to use mobile multiple times (for shorter periods) throughout the day compared to wired access. At least that’s by my experience.

  • Depends how they measured this..
    For example you generally only have one user per mobile smart phone and the majority of them are connected to and access the internet whereas Wired ADSL/Cable on average will be servicing several devices in the average home via a single connection.

    Not to mention the fact that there is most likely more Mobile devices (Majority Phones) in use out there than actual land lines..

    So I would say these figures are slightly skewed.

  • Last time I read one of these reports I assumed most of the dialup connections were things like ISDN to remote sites, but this proves me wrong: Over 80% of the dialup accounts are listed as home rather than business. Who are these people? What are they doing online that uses so little bandwidth?

    Also of interest in that report; the total number of ISPs (with 1000+ users) is gradually dropping while the number of ‘Large’ ISPs is increasing. I guess it’s a hard market to get into right now.

  • All these statistics prove is that Australians are also enjoying Mobile Wireless broadband while on the go, on top of their fixed-line ADSL2+ or Cable broadband connection at home. The majority of people use a fixed line connection at home, and like people commenting here have said, we are using multiple devices on the single connection.

    At our house we have one desktop PC, three laptops and two smartphones all working off of the same ADSL2+ Wi-Fi connection. When I leave home I access the internet on my mobile, but not nearly as much as when I’m on the fast Wi-Fi connection in my house.

    If anyone thinks these results mean Australia is headed for a purely Mobile Wireless future and that the fibre-to-the-home NBN is unnecessary, they are fooling themselves. Even when 4G wireless broadband comes into mass usage the amount of data needed to be transferred simply won’t cut it on the bandwidth made available by the mobile phone tower.

    The submarine internet pipes arriving into Australia via the ocean floor are made of optical fibre. If we make a complete optical fibre network here, the result will be incredibly quick speeds, and with this will come more opportunities for economic prosperity. Currently it’s like trying to suck ice cream through a straw – having optical fibre connect to our ancient copper wire telephone infrastructure.

    Fast Mobile broadband is definitely worthwhile, but as a backbone for Australia’s internet future – not a chance.

    Jesse, Compare Broadband

  • “as of June, 44 per cent of all Internet connections were via mobile broadband”

    I wonder what the numbers would be like if mobile internet was actually as stable/usable as the telcoms claim it is, and the majority of users could actually get a data connection when they wanted.

  • How the crap is dial up still in use?

    In 2004, coming from Korea’s awesome internet, I came home to dial up….. depression set in……then I found alternatives. Now I read this and I reach for the prescription bottle… Gaaaagh…..

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