Australian ISP Market Share, March 2012

Back in 2010 I had a go at estimating the relative market shares of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Australia. A reader has asked if I have more recent data, so I thought it was high time I revisited these estimates.

I’ve applied the same method as last time: Roy Morgan make ISP customer profiles available for purchase. At the bottom of each report’s synopsis, you’ll see that a sample size has been included (for example, the Internode customer profile is based on a sample of 404 customers).  Now, combining these sample sizes from the ISPs’ profiles I think could potentially provide a good basis for estimating overall market share.

My results are presented in Table 1 below. Market share is ALL business, government and home subscribers with ANY kind of internet access including dialup, DSL, cable, fibre, satellite and wireless (fixed & mobile).

The Roy Morgan samples behind these estimates were taken between April 2011 and March 2012 — except where marked with an asterix. Marked samples were taken between April 2010 and March 2012 (i.e. over two years instead of one), so please regard estimates based on these data with extra caution. Market share in these cases could actually be much smaller than calculated here.

Several ISPs listed individually in Table 1 are actually subsidiaries  of larger groups, particularly the iiNet group. As a group, iiNet now has a combined market share of 13.2%. Please refer to the notes under the table for more details.

Table 1: Estimated Australian ISP market share, March 2012

Internet Service Provider Roy Morgan
sample size (no.)
Estimated relative
market share (%)
3 Internet 243 1.8%
AAPT 255 1.9%
Adam 185 1.4%
Chariot 135 * 1.0% *
Dodo 348 2.6%
Exetel 119 0.9%
iiNet 660 4.9%
Internode 404 3.0%
iPrimus 237 1.8%
Netspace 164 1.2%
Optusnet 2,367 17.6%
TADAust Connect 144 * 1.1% *
Telstra Bigpond 6,607 49.2%
TPG 749 5.6%
Unwired 111 * 0.8% *
Virgin 163 1.2%
Vodafone 252 1.9%
Westnet 297 2.2%
TOTAL 13,440 100.0%

* Treat these data/estimates with extra caution. Time period for these samples are two years, April 2010 – March 2012. All other time periods are one year, April 2011 – March 2012.

Important notes:

  1. AAPT, Netspace, Westnet, and Internode owned by iiNet. Estimated market share for whole iiNet group = 13.2%.
  2. Adam Internet serves South Australia and Northern Territory only. Also, Adam are in the process of being acquired by Telstra (at time of writing).
  3. Chariot is owned by TPG.

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Australian ISP Market Share, 2009-2010

The market research firm, Roy Morgan, has released its latest ISP satisfaction data, with an overwhelmingly positive result recorded for Internode and iiNet.

According to the latest Roy Morgan Internet Satisfaction data, Internode (93.4%) is still the top performer for customer satisfaction while iiNet (89.9%) appears to be closing the gap from 5.6% points in the 6 months to April 2010 to 3.5% points in the 6 months to May 2010.

Scrolling further down the Roy Morgan press release page, you’ll find individual ISP customer profiles available for purchase.  At the bottom of each report’s synopsis, you’ll see that a sample size has been included [for example, the Internode customer profile is based on a sample of 305 customers].  Now, combining these sample sizes from the ISPs’ profiles I think could potentially provide a good basis for estimating market share.

My results/estimates are presented in the table below.  Market share is ALL business, government and home subscribers with ANY kind of internet access including dialup, DSL, cable, fibre, satellite and wireless [fixed & mobile].  The Roy Morgan samples were taken between April 2009 and May 2010.

Table 1: Estimated Australian ISP market share, 2009-2010

Internet Service Provider Roy Morgan sample
(no.)
Est. market share
2009-2010 (%)
3 Internet 322 2.6%
AAPT 342 2.8%
Adam 134 1.1%
Chariot 134 1.1%
Dodo 321 2.6%
Exetel 206 1.7%
iiNet 509 4.2%
Internode 305 2.5%
iPrimus 284 2.3%
Netspace 166 1.4%
Optus 2,099 17.3%
Primus-AOL 153 1.3%
TADAust 119 1.0%
Telstra 5,710 46.9%
TPG 539 4.4%
Unwired 175 1.4%
Virgin 158 1.3%
Vodafone 103 0.8%
Westnet 384 3.2%
TOTAL 12,163* 100.0%
  • AAPT, Netspace and Westnet are owned by iiNet
  • Chariot is owned by TPG
  • Adam offers residental internet access in South Australia & Northern Territory only

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Estimating Adam Internet’s Broadband Customer Numbers

Executive Summary

I estimate that Adam Internet is somewhere between 27% and 30% the size of Internode, which equates to between 42,249 and 46,934 broadband customers.  This estimate does not include other services such as 3G, VoIP and dialup customers.

Introduction

Adam Internet” is an Internet Service Provider (ISP) based in my home town of Adelaide, Australia.  They are tightly focussed in terms of the markets that they operate – only providing residential broadband services (apart from 3G) to South Australia and the Northern Territory.  I’ve never used them, but by all accounts they are a very reputable company, with high levels of customer satisfaction and a strong parochial following in the Whirlpool forums.  Adam Internet is also the eternal, bitter, blood-rivals of Internode.  Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration.  I wanted to inject a bit of drama.

Nothing like a bit of drama.

Anyway, as a privately owned company, Adam Internet is not required to make public how many customers it has.  Indeed, when it comes to operational data, they play their cards very close to their chest indeed.  That’s fine.  It’s not really any of our business.  However, when the company last chose to talk about subscriber numbers, it was “about 75,000 customers“.  It’s not clear whether this is just residential broadband customers, or all customers including VoIP, dialup, and other services.

The Challenge

I thought it would be fun to look at some ratios available in the public domain and then, keeping with the Adam-Internet-vs.-Internode theme of this post, use Internode as a base line to estimate just the number of Adam Internet broadband customers.

The Data

Adam Internet and Internode both attract a very loyal following among the ne’er-do-wells of the Whirlpool forums.  With that in mind, the first metric I looked at was the ratio between respondents to the last three annual Whirlpool surveys.  Assuming that there’s a correlation between Whirlpool survey respondents and number of customers this may be a useful measure of relative size.  The results are summarised in the table below:

Whirlpool survey year Adam Internet respondents Internode respondents Respondent Ratio
2006 707 3,156 0.224
2007 1,003 2,981 0.336
2008 673 2,649 0.254
Average 794 2,929 0.271

Source: Total respondents taken from the question, “Would you recommend your ISP to other people?”

Results from the last three Whirlpool surveys suggests that Adam Internet is 27.1% the size of Internode.

The second metric I used was Google Trends.  Assuming that there’s a correlation between Google searches and customer numbers, Google Trends may be a useful indicator of a company’s market share.  I compared average traffic of “Internode” to “Adam Internet” (without the quotes) from Australia over the last 30 days.  At the time of writing, Adam Internet’s Google traffic was 27% of Internode’s, a remarkably close match to the average Whirlpool survey ratio above.

adam-vs-internode-google-trends

Results from the Google Trends comparison suggests that Adam Internet is 27% the size of Internode.

Finally, I turned to Wikipedia.  At the time of writing, Internode had 300 staff to Adam Internet‘s 100 staff.  Assuming that both companies adhere to roughly the same staff-to-customers ratio, Wikipedia suggests that Adam Internet is about 30% of the size of Internode.

The Results

Of course I’m more than likely totally wrong in all my assumptions.  And probably the entire approach is wrong.  However, the three sources of Whirlpool, Google and Wikipedia all seem to suggest that Adam Internet is somewhere between 27% and 30% the size of Internode.  If wrong then at least it’s consistently wrong.

But if I’m confident that the percentage market share is in the ballpark, how would this translate to actual numbers of broadband customers?

Back in September last year I had a crack at modelling Internode’s growth rate.  The formula that I came up with then was:

Internode broadband customers = 463.047 * loge(0.626 * loge[year])

At the time of writing (22 May 2009), “year” is 9.389.  Plugging that value into the formula suggests that Internode currently have 156,447 broadband customers.  Admittedly a lot has changed at Internode since September 2008.  They’ve released many new products onto the market including (in no particular order) Chumby, Tivo, ADSL “TwoPlus” and even (rather belatedly) a 3G product of their own.  Not to mention the obvious problem that my model was a big dodge right from the start.  But the last media release I read from Internode quoted “more than 150,000 (broadband) customers” nationally.  I guess if Internode had more than 160,000 broadband customers they’d say so?  So I think it’s fair to say the number is between 150-160k.  Perhaps Internode are just being modest.  Or, God forbid, perhaps my model is proving to be not only correct but remarkably resilient!

Conclusion

If Adam Internet is somewhere between 27% and 30% the size of Internode as indicated, and if Internode have 156,447 broadband customers as modelled, it follows that Adam Internet have between 42,249 and 46,934 broadband customers of their own.  If correct then the difference between that figure and the publicly quoted number of 75,000 customers could be made up of 3G, VoIP, dialup and other Internet services.

This analysis is just a bit of fun.  Don’t take it too seriously.  Having said that, constructive feedback is always welcome.  Do you think I’m in the ball park or so off base it’s not even funny?  Would a senior Adam Internode rep like to comment?