Apple’s iPhone 6 is a long-term win-win for the telcos

It’s rare to see our two rival major telcos agree, but it seems neither Telstra nor Optus can deny the overwhelmingly positive impact Apple’s latest iPhone had on their business.

Bigger is indeed better for the telcos. Image:AAP

It’s rare to see our two rival major telcos agree, but it seems neither Telstra nor Optus can deny the overwhelmingly positive impact Apple’s latest iPhone had on their business.

But, it’s actually a bigger windfall than they may care to admit.

In today’s Australian Financial Review, Optus said it enjoyed one of its most successful weeks for device sales when the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus hit shelves last September.

“We sold out of iPhone 6s and it exceeded our previous high, which happened with the launch of Apple’s iPhone 5s,” Optus postpaid marketing director Tim Cowan told the paper.

Earlier this year, Telstra’s CEO David Thodey made a similar comment about the launch:  

“The iPhone 6 launch was pleasing for us and post-paid handheld ARPUs (average revenue per user) are continuing to improve.”

It’s that second point that’s interesting.

Raising average revenue per user (ARPU) is one of the key business drivers for the telcos. In today’s telco landscape, Higher ARPU typically means that consumers are opting for higher value plans and are in turn using more data.

We said this was a win-win; This is where that second win comes into play.

A new study from content aggregation site Pocket found that iPhone 6 Plus users are more likely to consumer content on their phone than their tablet.

It makes sense: the bigger the screen the better the content experience. Better connection speeds brought on by new network technologies are also playing a part in this trend.

Content consumption on the app also jumped 33 per cent when its users upgraded from the iPhone 5 or 5S to the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.

So why is this good thing for the telco industry? Well for starters, telcos would prefer that users consume content on their phone rather than their tablet. The majority of tablet sales are Wi-Fi only devices, whereas all smartphones have access to the telco’s 3G and 4G services by default.

If consumers are using more data, then they will either opt for higher value plans that cater to their habits or spend more on add-on data packs. So it’s a win from device sales and another win from long-term data consumption trends. The telcos can only hope that this trend towards mobile-data enabled phablets continues to grow and prosper. 

This post was first published in The Ticker

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