Mark Trollope (left), of Lismore, upgrades his mobile phone with the assistance of Optus Lismore sales assistant Matt Pratten.
Mark Trollope (left), of Lismore, upgrades his mobile phone with the assistance of Optus Lismore sales assistant Matt Pratten. Jacklyn Wagner

Mobile population is growing

WITH the number of active mobile services in Australia exceeding the population by 2.5 million, it seems the financial crisis hasn’t stopped a thirst for technology.

Mark Trollope was interviewed lining up for a new handset as he extended his mobile contract at Optus in Lismore.

“I’m re-contracting to replace my phone, and I usually recycle my old handsets through my kids. But they’ve probably got better handsets than I have now,” he said.

The Australian Communication and Media Authority’s (ACMA) latest Communications Report revealed that at the end of June last year, there were more than 24 million mobile phone services, an increase of nine per cent since the same time in 2008.

Meanwhile, handset sales were also strong with Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) data showing 9,086,162 handsets were imported into Australia in 2009.

John Welch, owner of Optus Lismore, said the ‘phone business has been a bit like bread and milk’.

“Phones are so much a part of everyone’s lives now. It’s not like it’s a luxury any more,” he said.

Mr Welch said the increase in active sim cards, which the ACMA bases its communications data on, was probably due to people owning more than one phone, and the age of customers continuing to decrease.

“Households have several phones, and individuals usually have their own phones for personal use and another for work,” he said.

“And people buying their first phone are getting younger. Once upon a time it was at about age 16, and now it’s 10.”

Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows 76pc cent of 12- to 14-year-olds have a mobile phone, and even those aged five to eight have mobiles.

“It’s usually about security with the younger folk,” Mr Welch said.

“With so many parents working, it’s how they manage their family these days.”

Mr Welch got into the phone business in 1989, and said mobile phones first came to Australia in 1987.

“The phone then was a big, chunky-looking thing, but now it’s like an internet portal. The iPhone has turned the mobile phone into a portable computer,” he said.



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