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Australia's love for smartwatches soars
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Australia's love for smartwatches soars

Smartwatches for MVNOs

​​Why Australians have fallen in love with cellular-enabled smartwatches, and what’s in it for MVNOs​​​​​

Freedom. It’s a simple but powerful urge. There are times we want the freedom to leave our phone at home but stay connected as we go for a run or hit the surf. That freedom is the promise of connected smartwatches.

Australians are enthusiastic smartwatch adopters

Australians are enthusiastic about wearables, particularly smartwatches. The Telsyte Australian Smartphone & Wearable Devices Market Study 2023 estimates 36% of Australians now own a smartwatch, an increase of 4% year on year.

According to tech analyst firm Global Data, smartwatches have become more popular as the device category matured with the integration of health, fitness, and connectivity capabilities into a single device.

“For some users, smartwatches have become essential tools for monitoring their health, while for others the fitness data is paramount to their success as athletes.” – Global Data, Wearables market report July 2023.

Smartwatches also play an important role in consumer mobile ecosystems, with products available from most major mobile handset manufacturers. Analysts predict this status will continue as consumers adopt new form factors, such as AR headsets.

“Wearables, such as smartwatches, smart rings, and potentially earbuds, will start to serve as trackers for these AR and VR devices to offer users a more personalised and intuitive experience.” – Global Data, Wearables market report July 2023.

Going phone-less

Smartwatches with standalone connectivity enable end users can use their companion device for voice and data, independently from their paired smartphone.

Consumer appetite for the freedom offered by cellular-enabled smartwatches is already strong, and their expectations of wearables’ capabilities are still rising. According to research by Ericsson, “83 percent of all smartphone users expect wearables to have some form of standalone connectivity.”

It is not just fitness driving the demand for cellular-connected wearables. In its Digital Consumer Trends report, Deloitte called wearable technologies the new frontier in mobile payments. With digital wallets well and truly mainstream, and all major smartwatch manufacturers including contactless tap and go payment functionality, “not only can consumers leave their wallets at home when shopping, they can also leave their phones (assuming their device is equipped with an LTE connection).”

Benefits for MVNOs

Cellular-enabled smartwatches offer a compelling new channel for MVNOs, with benefits including revenue, retention and positive brand positioning.

Grow average revenue

Meeting customer demands for smartwatch connectivity can help MVNOs increase the average revenue per user (ARPU) by adding incremental revenue from a companion plan.

Create enticing mobile ecosystems

If MVNOs choose to sell devices, they can create a one stop shop for connectivity and hardware across mobiles and smartwatches.

Value-added bundles combining wearable and mobile connectivity provide customers with the opportunity to take more products and services from their MVNO. Creating such a mobile ecosystem can help service providers to retain customers for longer.

Differentiate the brand

MVNOs have the opportunity to differentiate their brands and respond to the strong customer appetite for standalone smartwatches, by offering connectivity.

The start of the consumer IoT journey

Telstra Wholesale is developing capabilities that will enable our MVNO customers to take advantage of the exciting opportunities presented by cellular-enabled smartwatches. Soon our MVNO customers will be able to offer consumers the freedom to stay connected without their mobile phones.

We are working with partners, including world-leading radio connectivity provider Ericsson, to deliver high quality experiences for consumers and MVNOs alike. It’s all part of our strategy to help MVNOs use the growing power of consumer IoT to thrive.

Stay tuned for more updates in the coming months.

John Fearn
The Author John Fearn

John is a writer and tech addict with over 15 years’ experience of working for leading technology companies in both Australia and the UK.

See all of John Fearn's posts

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