ACMA Reports Highlight Shifts in Mobile Phone Usage

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has released the results of two studies into the shifting patterns of mobile phone use across Australia. 

Mobile-only Australia: living without a fixed line at home details the use of mobile devices by Australians at home over the last six years. It includes voice and internet use by those without a fixed line or connection at home, while Kids and Mobiles: How Australian children are using mobile phones looks at Australian children’s mobile usage in the 12 months to June 2020 and trends since 2015.

According to Mobile-only Australia: living without a fixed line at home , the use of mobile devices at home has grown with the continuing trend of adult Australians shifting from fixed to mobile communications for voice calls.

More adult Aussies are using only their mobile for voice calls at home. Over the last six years, those using a mobile phone to make calls has doubled from 29% in the 12 months to June 2015, to 60% in 2020.

However, they are less likely to rely solely on a mobile service for our internet connection. Use of a mobile-only connection for the internet has dropped since 2015 but held steady over the last couple of years at 16%.

In the 12 months to June 2020:

  • 60% of Australian adults were mobile-only for voice calls at home (with a mobile but no landline). This is up from 29% in 2015.
  • 16% were mobile-only for internet at home (with mobile broadband or mobile phone). This is down from 21% in 2015.
  • 12% were mobile-only for both voice and internet at home. This has remained largely unchanged since 2015 (11%).

Most Australians aged under 44 were only using their mobile for voice calls at home in the 12 months to June 2020, compared to older Australians aged 75 and over.

In the 12 months to June 2020:

  • 83% of Australians aged 25 to 34 were mobile-only for voice calls at home. This was followed by Australians aged 35 to 44 (76%) and those aged 18–24 (71%).
  • Around one-quarter (28%) of Australians aged 75 and over were mobile-only for voice.
  • 21% of Australians aged 18 to 24 were mobile-only for internet at home. This contrasted with 15% of Australians aged 75 and over.

Meanwhile, new research from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found that almost half (46%) of Australian children aged between 6 to 13 years use a mobile phone – up from 41% in 2015.

The Kids and Mobiles: How Australian children are using mobile phones report reveals around one third (33%) of Australian children aged 6 to 13 owned a mobile phone. Ownership of a mobile phone is higher for 12 to 13-year-olds, with just over three quarters (76%) of children in this age group owning the mobile they used.

Around half of girls (48%) and boys (45%) had accessed a mobile phone. Access among boys has risen, up from 38% in 2015. In contrast, usage among girls has remained steady over the six year period.

The most common reason for girls to reach for their phones was to take photos or videos, while for boys it was to play games. Children are also using mobiles to access apps, send or receive text messages, call their parents or family and listen to music.

The report measures how children’s use of mobile phones is changing, including how habits compare across different ages, locations and backgrounds.

Visit https://www.acma.gov.au/publications/2020-12/report/mobile-only-australia-living-without-fixed-line-home and https://www.acma.gov.au/publications/2020-12/report/kids-and-mobiles-how-australian-children-are-using-mobile-phones 


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