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The mobile nation – driving productivity, jobs and social change


7 February 2013:  A new Deloitte Access Economics report highlights the vital role played by mobile telecommunications in lifting Australia’s productivity performance, and estimates a boost of nearly $12 billion to the economy from current developments by 2025.

Mobile Nation: The economic and social impacts of mobile technology was commissioned by the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), the peak body for the mobile telecommunications industry in Australia.

The report finds that the current wave of mobile technologies will result in an estimated productivity benefit to the Australian economy of $11.8 billion for the modelled period of 2012-2025. In the year 2011 alone this contribution to the Australian economy was estimated to be $495 million with benefits expected to grow to $1.3 billion in 2016.

Other key findings include:

  • Mobile technology is moving from a device for individuals to a platform underpinning all business ICT and the structure of the industry is being transformed from a simple supply chain to an emerging ecosystem of mobile technologies that are transforming the economy
  • The peak contribution to (full-time equivalent) employment from productivity gains in 2013 would be 3600
  • After years of strong growth, industry revenue fell in 2011-12 by 1.5% and is forecast to be stagnant in 2012-13. After a modest recovery, it is forecast to grow to almost $26 billion by 2016-17
  • Mobile technologies are being driven by employees more than the IT department. Employees wanting to use their own mobile at work is driving the ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) trend
  • Mobile is increasingly the most important interaction businesses will have with customers, making it a key platform for marketing, sales, and delivery of new mobile services
  • To maximise the benefits of mobility in the digital economy spectrum, policy settings must be reviewed and allow for staged expansion of spectrum resources to mobile broadband
  • For 2011-12 the total value added by the mobile telecommunications industry was $14.1 billion with $7.6 billion direct contribution and $6.5 billion indirect activity in related sectors and across the economy.

Deloitte Access Economics Director, Dr Ric Simes said: “With the capacity to enable more productivity growth, technology developments in the mobile industry and their diffusion throughout the economy have the potential to reverse Australia’s declining productivity performance.

“The mobile consumer, and mobile communication in day-to-day life, is changing how business operates and making our economy more productive.”

AMTA CEO Chris Althaus said: “A key finding is that the mobile telecommunications industry is changing from what was a relatively simple supply chain from hardware manufacturers to final customers to an emerging ecosystem of mobile technologies that is driving economic change and productivity growth.”

The report also considers the business and social impacts of mobile technology, and includes case studies featuring the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Wyndham Vacation Resorts and UXC.

With social impacts ranging from individual identity, changes for communities and relationships, shifts in work-life balances, and how mobiles affect the nation, commentary is provided by social researcher Hugh Mackay and Yvonne Adele, creator of the “Ms Megabyte” character.

“Of course, the full long-term social impacts of mobiles may not be unambiguously positive and are emerging only slowly. As they do, policy makers are being asked to make ongoing assessments to also shape the impacts,” Dr Simes said.

According to Yvonne Adele: “Technology facilitates the start of relationships, and technology can sustain them. However, it’s up to the individual to enrich the relationship by bringing it in to the real world.

Hugh Mackay believes the full impact of trends on society were unclear. “We’re treating the exchange of data as if it is the same thing as communication. In doing so, we lose something quite precious in the richness of our encounters,” he said.

Mobile Nation concludes that for the “mobile revolution” to have its full impact, it will also require a supportive and responsive public policy framework.

“The right framework will ensure Australia is best placed to gain from the opportunities offered by these latest innovations,” AMTA’s Chris Althaus said.

Follow us – @DeloitteNewsAU

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Simon Rushton
Job Title:
National Manager Corporate Affairs and Communications
Tel: +61 2 9322 5562; M: +61 450 530 748
Randal Markey
Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association
Job Title:
Communications Manager
Tel: 02 6239 6555, Mobile: 0421 240 550




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