MVNOs in Australia accounted for around 45 per cent of all new mobile connections in the first six months of 2017.
Research company Telsyte reported MVNOs added more than 200,000 of 444,000 new services in operation, or connections, ending June with 33.7 million connections.
The company said the growth was driven by Australians’ appetite for lower cost mobile plans, with price or value overtaking network performance as the most important factor when a consumer chooses a mobile service provider. Network performance had been the most important factor for consumers since 2012.
“We are entering an increasingly price competitive mobile services market in this pre-5G period,” said Telsyte senior analyst Alvin Lee.
The top performing MVNOs in the first half of 2017 were ALDImobile (which uses parts of Telstra’s 3G and 4G network), Amaysim (Optus 4G) and Kogan Mobile (Vodafone 4G), Telsyte said.
More than half of handset plans are non-contract options. This trend remained steady for many years and research shows just 15 per cent of those who go off contract plans have gone back to them in the last five years.
Despite this, recontracting of premium-priced handsets such as the iPhone X and the Samsung Note 8 are likely to help mobile network operators fight back in the second half, the research company said.
Telsyte estimated up to 65 per cent of iPhone sales in 2H 2017 will be via mobile contracts, compared with about 50 per cent with previous iPhone “S” model years.