New Zealand has moved up four places to occupy the 12th place in the highest adoption of mobile broadband in the OECD, according to a report by the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology, and Industry. The report says that as of June 2011, 54.3 percent of New Zealanders were subscribed to a mobile broadband service. Australia came in at eighth with 64.8 percent, and the top ranked Korea has 99.3 percent subscribed.
The OECD attributes the rapid growth in subscriptions, in part, to the arrival of 2degrees to the New Zealand mobile broadband market in 2010.
TUANZ CEO Paul Brislen, says the growth in mobile broadband subscription is largely due to the uptake of smartphones.
“The whole thing is predicated on the back of the iPhone,” says Brislen. “You can’t sell internet speed to people unless they’re geeks like me. What people want is Angry Birds, or YouTube, and if you need mobile internet to use them on the go you’re going to get it.”
CEO of InternetNZ, Vikram Kumar, adds that prices for mobile data need to come down to continue growth in mobile broadband subscription.
“The price of mobile broadband has to come down with competition in the market and better infrastructure," he says. "There are possibilities, especially in the 4G internet of the 700mHz spectrum.”
The rise in mobile broadband subscription follows a global trend. The OECD report says year-on-year wireless subscriptions rose by 26 percent worldwide since 2010.
However, wired broadband subscription (in which New Zealand ranks 28th) has only increased 2.25 percent in the period between December 2010 and June 2011.
Kumar says a report by the World Internet Project, which will be released next week, shows fixed broadband subscription in New Zealand will continue to grow as dial-up customers from rural areas migrate to broadband.
“We continue to have a very high number of dial-up users, especially in rural areas. This is just because of the way the market has evolved in New Zealand, but as we lay more infrastructure those users will move onto broadband proper.”