Historic Year Ahead, According to IDC’s 2011 Australian Telecommunications Top 10 Predictions

Sydney, Australia – December 19, 2010 – IDC has announced its 2011 Australian Telecommunications Top 10 Predictions, with the stage set for a momentous year ahead.

IDC expects that the full scale rollout of the NBN should commence by the end of 2011. The structural separation and divestment of Telstra's network assets are expected to get the green light by shareholders around the middle of 2011, following the passing of legislation through both houses of parliament in late November 2010.

"Telstra's draft timeframe for completing the necessary steps and taking the proposal for structural separation and the divestment of network assets to a shareholder vote before June 30 is optimistic yet achievable. With the largest hurdle passed, the remaining steps should not pose a significant challenge," said Mark Novosel, Market Analyst, Telecommunications at IDC.

With smartphones experiencing phenomenal growth in 2010, the fierce battle for market share will intensify in 2011, as smartphones continue to filter down the price levels, cannibalising feature phones in the low to midrange.

"Apple looks set to continue its upward momentum with aims to dominate the smartphone market, but Android shipments are expected to more than double, with IDC forecasting over 2.2 million Android smartphones to be shipped during 2011. Android will therefore increasingly put pressure on Apple's newly acquired lead in the smartphone market," said Novosel.

Additionally, mobile voice and data plans will undergo reform in the new year, with carriers expected to push less restrictive and "unlimited" (but often with exclusions) plans, in a bid to acquire subscribers. With Telstra's Project New transformation underway, Telstra will aim to be more competitive by narrowing the price gap between the other carriers.

"Vodafone recently undercut competitors with the launch of its "Infinite" range of plans, starting from only A$45 per month."

"With the A$49 price-point widely seen as a sweet spot in the world of mobile capped plans, there's no doubt that a A$45 plan offering unlimited standard calls, both local and international SMS and MMS, with 1GB of data and unmetered social networking is highly appealing," added Novosel.

The proliferation of low-cost unlimited mobile plans, which at current levels cost barely more than the line rental on most landlines, will accelerate the decline of landlines in Australia in 2011.

"While Telstra may be impacted by the decline in home phones, it stands in an enviable position to acquire a substantial base of mobile users eager for better service, simply by being more competitive in the mobile market," concludes Novosel.

The following 10 predictions are based on IDC's primary research into the Australian telecommunications market, coupled with the reach of IDC's regional Asia/Pacific and worldwide telecommunications teams.

IDC Australia Telecommunications 2011 Predictions:

1. Macro-economic Predictions for Australia 2011 – Australia to outperform developed nation peers

2. Telstra/NBN Co Deal Goes Unconditional as National Broadband Network (NBN) Build Gets the Green Light, but New Challenges Emerge

3. Apple and Android to Scramble for Pole Position, as Symbian Continues to Fade

4. Next Generation Data Centre Architecture Will Gain Traction

5. Organisations Will Turn to New Application Visibility Tools

6. The WLAN Market Will Experience Increased Growth, Driven by the Enterprise Sector

7. More Flexible Mobile Plans Surge in Popularity, as Home Phones Approach "End of Life"

8. Media Tablets Become a Fierce Battleground as Vendors Converge to Battle for Market share; Welcome to 'Mobilution' where Mobility makes the Leap into IT

9. Mobile Data Price War Will Escalate as Operators Introduce Creative New Pricing Plans

10. Telco Cloud Services Will Come of Age and Break the Back of Security Concerns in 2011

(NB. Predictions are in no particular order.)