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How mobile broadband is an economic shot in the arm

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 newsletter leads with: "Mobile broadband boosts 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 MBB had increased the growth rate of the overall economy by 0.28 per cent each year from 2007-2013, making up a substantial portion of the overall 2.9 per cent annual growth rate.

Much of that economic boost came from productivity gains.

New Zealand has been slower that 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 service later this year.

If anything New Zealand could see an even bigger economic boost. 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 GDP by more than Australia’s two per cent.