Telecom NZ data use up and the case for trans-Tasman cable

Telecom NZ reports an 83 percent growth in data use on its mobile network in the past year. It says increasing smartphone ownership and video streaming applications are behind the surge.

The company reports the average amount of data per customer on the mobile network was 396 MB in September 2013 compared with 385 MB in August and 253 MB in September 2012.

Telecom NZ also specifically mentions the America’s Cup yacht races as responsible for the kickstarting the popularity of video on mobile phones. Recently I spoke to a senior Telecom executive who said the race series in San Francisco was a turning point for streaming.

Wi-Fi network up too

Meanwhile Telecom NZ’s Wi-Fi network, which gives mobile users additional data access while in the move saw its traffic climb 20 percent in the last month. The amount of data per user dropped during the month, Telecom NZ says that’s due to the large number of new customers starting to use the service.

International cable trends – click on image to enlarge

International cable trends – click on image to enlarge

The numbers in Telecom NZ’s chart showing international submarine cable traffic trends make a strong case for making a trans-Tasman link a priority in front of building new connections across the Pacific. As the chart shows, the trans-Pacific share of traffic has fallen from around 90 percent of the total in 2004 to around 60 percent today.

Telecom NZ and other industry insiders have previously told me more and more international content is being hosted and served to New Zealand out of Australia. There’s also a move towards communications with Asia. This trend is likely to continue with large multi-nationals such as Amazon and Microsoft building regional data centres in Sydney and Singapore.