More Australians are using their mobiles to watch TV and data usage is surging, according to a new Deloitte survey.

The 2018 Deloitte Mobile Consumer survey found 25 per cent of all Australians are using their mobiles to watch TV.

With 5G soon to be introduced, Deloitte said smartphones could rival TVs.

From the survey, 23 per cent of smartphone users watch live TV week and 23 per cent use their smartphone to stream films or TV shows each week.

Kate Huggins, Deloitte consulting partner said the rise of ‘telco-tainment’, the bundling of video TV streaming and entertainment services with phone contracts, unlimited data plans, and mobile enabled streaming services, is encouraging Australians to watch more long-form video content on their phones.

She explained, “There is a lot more room for growth here – streaming services continue to grow their subscriber bases, unlimited plans have only just hit the market, and 5G is around the corner; simultaneous streaming within the home will be an important use case.

“We are also starting to see sports content that was historically blacked out for streaming become available – for example Channel Nine acquired the digital rights to the NRL in 2018 and included the rights to live stream three games each week of the regular season, including the Grand Final.

“All of which is going to increase our thirst for data. But while our smartphones themselves are achieving luxury status and pricing to match, the data which is their lifeblood is increasingly commoditised. Pricing and business models will be one of the most vexing areas for telcos in the year to come.”

Mobile phone use might be increasing but 39 per cent of Australians say they use their phone too often. From this, 26 per cent are successful in limiting their use while 34 per cent are trying but not succeeding.

Biometric fingerprint use

The survey pointed out there is a 23 per cent lift in the use of biometric fingerprint passwords. There is also a 53 per cent growth in using fingerprints to authorise payments and a 67 per cent jump in the using fingerprint technology to transfer money to other people.

Deloitte noted the number of people using mobiles for in-store payment remained steady but with the further integration of fingerprint technology could cause more “phone-uptake” at the cash register by offering increased security with the convenience of multiple cards in one smartphone.

Market saturation

With 89 per cent of Australians now owning a smartphone, the survey suggested we may have hit saturation point in terms of market penetration of smartphones.

Peter Corbett, Partner and National Telecommunications lead at Deloitte said “Over the last 10 years, the story of mobility has focused on access – the proportion of phone users is now unlikely to rise significantly.

“What we are seeing now is a shift to understanding the many ways we can interact with mobile technology and the influence it has on human behaviours. The extent to which smartphones occupy our lives is growing, and overseas comparisons suggest we are far from peak usage.

Corbett noted 70 per cent of people use smartphones for work with 90 per cent of businesses rank a connected workplace in their top priorities.

“A consumer’s choice of phone impacts their access to the cloud, the expanding world of voice assistants, streaming services, smart home technologies, the ways people pay for goods and services, and even the ways they monitor their daily health.

“The impact of replacing a handset can now have significant influence on the services we access, which is another reason people are changing phones less often.”

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