Some perspective on how the 4G networks being rolled-out by Vodafone, Telecom NZ and 2degrees will affect the broader New Zealand economy comes in this morning’s subscriber-only CommsDay.

The Australian-based newsletter leads with: “Mobile broadband boosts the economy by A$34bn last year“.

It quotes a report from the Australian Communications and Media Authority saying this amounts to more than two percent of that nation’s total GDP in 2013:

The report also noted that the direct impacts from mobile broadband had “flowed through all aspects of the Australian economy,” including by helping to draw in additional investment capital; the authors estimated that mobile broadband had increased the growth rate of the overall economy by 0.28 percent each year from 2007-2013, making up a substantial portion of the overall 2.9 percent annual growth rate.

Much of that economic boost came from productivity gains.

New Zealand catch-up

New Zealand has been slower than Australia to build the 4G networks behind mobile broadband.

Telstra started operating its service in September 2011. Vodafone New Zealand launched 4G in March 2013 while Telecom NZ began operating late last year.

2degrees says it will launch its 4G service later this year.

If anything New Zealand could see an even bigger economic boost from faster mobile data services. That’s because the most productive sectors of the economy are rural.

Mobile broadband is the only broadband option in many of these productive areas.

With projects like the Rural Broadband Initiative increasing the mobile data network’s scope, there’s the potential to boost New Zealand’s GDP by more than Australia’s two percent.

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