Australia, what are you doing with all those mobiles?
By Alex KIDMAN
Australians like mobiles quite a lot; it's rare to walk through any public space and not see somebody talking away on a phone, tapping away on a touchscreen or simply walking into a lamppost because they were too busy tweeting. Although the latter there is always amusing, as long as it's not me.
I hadn't quite realised how much we like mobiles though, until a recent Twitter conversation with another tech journalist who was talking up the state of Telstra's mobile accounts. Telstra's got something in the region of 13.8 million mobile customers in Australia; given that Vodafone's got something like 7 million (and dropping), and Optus has around 9 million -- I should point out that I'm taking his word for this, but I've no reason to think he's not being broadly accurate -- that would peg the number of mobile phone accounts in Australia at around 29.8 million. I'm not sure if that includes MVNOs like Amaysim, either.
Australia's population is around 23 million.
The sums aren't hard to do; there are more mobile accounts than people, and not by a small margin, either, especially when you consider there are some large groups where mobile penetration is much lower, such as children and the elderly. Yes, there are both grandparents and kids out there with mobiles, but the takeup rate would still be undeniably lower.
That still means there's a significant number of people out there with 3-4 active, cash generating accounts. That's good news if you're a telco… but outside certain spheres -- I guess I'm one of them -- what do you do with 3-4 (or more?) mobile phone accounts, aside from wait for radiation poisoning?
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I wonder how many sheep there are relative to mobile phone users?