Monthly Archives: August 2014

Hiring A Mobile App Agency: A 16-Point Checklist

Wondering about the factors you need to consider, while judging the merits and suitability of a mobile app agency? Follow this checklist, and make this apparently tricky task quick, systematic, and very easy!

At first, you might feel that this topic does not merit a detailed discussion. After all, mobile app development companies are present in dozens in practically every Australian city – and each of them promises the ‘best service’ – so it’s all about randomly choosing any one of them, right? The truth is, not all app developers possess the same expertise, are equally sincere, and/or adhere to similar quality standards. If you are on the lookout for a good mobile app agency, the following checklist of factors would come in handy:

 

  1. Check feedback from other users – Don’t be bowled over by the high and mighty adjectives that mobile app companies have to say about their services, on their business websites. Instead, do some research on the web, and check out the ratings, reviews and user-comments (at Google Play Store and Apple iTunes) – for the so-called ‘top’ companies. That will give you an unbiased, more transparent picture.
  2. Check the validity of website testimonials – If an app company has a decent website, you can rest assured that there would be loads of client testimonials, praising its apps to the skies. Please note that nearly 80% of such testimonials are fake – written by in-house marketing personnel. Make it a point to ask for the contact details (phone numbers and/or email ids), so that you can do some cross-checking yourself. Don’t let bogus testimonials fool you!
  3. Find out the truth behind ‘free app quote’ claims – Nearly all Android and iPhone app companies have the provision of sending free app quotes to prospective clients. Many of them, however, charge additional amounts, each time your app is upgraded. Avoid doing business with any company, which pursues such shady methods to make buyers spend more. There should never be any payments required when new versions of apps are released.
  4. If prices are well below average, be suspicious! – There’s a difference between the best app developer and the cheapest service provider, and unfortunately, most people end up searching for the latter. Let alone different countries – there are significant discrepancies in the prices charged by app development firms within Sydney. It would be a folly to run after the company that provides the lowest quote. Chances are high that their quality of service would be on the lower side too.
  5. Global presence – Most of the app developers you come across will claim that they have strong international presence. Since getting a foreign phone number (and showing it off to clients) is hardly difficult nowadays, you should take such claims with a pinch of salt. Place queries about exactly where a company has registered overseas offices, and ask for a few valid contacts. A genuine multinational company will always have better knowhow and exposure than a geographically limited one.
  6. Relevant experience of developers – Consider this: You wish to make an iPhone app, and a developer with 10 years of experience is assigned on your project. The only catch is, that person had been working on Java apps for all those years, and has hardly any ‘relevant experience’ in working on the iOS platform. Hire a developer who is experienced enough on your preferred mobile platform. Expertise in an entirely different field is not going to benefit you in any way.
  7. Does the firm outsource its projects? – You outsource your app project to a company – and the latter promptly outsources it to another little-known, third-party firm. Not at all a nice scenario, but one that might well happen – if you do not inquire about it at the very outset. Before you hire app developers, make sure that they would be in charge of your project throughout. Companies that outsource projects invariably end up delivering unsatisfactory, half-baked services.
  8. Chances of delays – There can be technical glitches, the app developer working on your project may take a sick-leave – but such issues should never hamper the continuity of a mobile app development process. Ask the representatives from your shortlisted companies about the back-up plans they have (if any) to counter such issues. It’s the responsibility of the company to complete a job within the stipulated deadline – if anyone falls sick or leaves, you should not be the one to suffer. Due to this consideration, it would probably be a better idea to avoid the really small (4-person, 6-person, and the like) firms.
  9. Will projects be treated as products? – Most mobile application development companies treat their apps as ‘products’. They would give quotes, get the order, rush through the stages of development, deliver the app (which, in all probability, not be anything like what you had originally conceived!), collect the final payments, and be done with it. Stay well away from agencies such as these. Creating an iPhone on Android app should be a participative process – and the company should regularly share wireframes, mockups and app prototypes with you. That way, if you have any complaints, or wish for a change, that can be incorporated real-time.
  10. Provision of non-disclosure agreements – If a company is not ready to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) at the very outset, it won’t be a good idea to get into further  business negotiations with it. The agreement ensures that, once the app is completed and handed over, you get the sole custody on all intellectual property rights (IRP) of the same. In case you are planning to work with a freelance mobile app developer, the issue of IRP settlement becomes even more important.
  11. Presence of an in-house app designing team – There are plenty of mobile app companies across Australia – which do not have a separate graphics and UI/UX designing team. The programmers double up as designers, and unsurprisingly, they make a right hash of it. This only proves the old adage that – even if a designer can learn to code, a coder can never develop the creative skills of a professional, experienced designer. An app has to look good and be user-friendly to create a favorable first impression. Only specialist graphic designers can ensure that.
  12. What does a ‘completed app’ mean to the company? – Are you familiar with the famous ‘Ninety: Ninety’ rule of software programming? It states that 90% of the app development task is generally completed within the first 90% of the pre-specified time-span, with the remaining 10% taking another 90% of the time. You need to ensure that the company you have zeroed in upon do not similarly slacken off, as the project nears its completion date. If it does, you might very well end up (and made to pay for!) with an ‘incomplete’ app.
  13. Chances of success – It’s almost impossible to foretell how well (or otherwise!) your mobile app will be received by general users. That, however, does not mean that a company cannot do its bit for proper mobile app marketing. Inquire about the average app-approval percentage of the company at the stores, and find out if any of its applications have been specially showcased/featured. A good mobile software company might also have multiple award-winning apps. If the overall performance of an agency is good, you can also expect decent value-for-money from them.
  14. Researches, brainstorming, employee training – The domain of web and mobile software/app development is in a state of constant flux. New coding methods, programming techniques (Apple’s Swift is what everyone is interested in learning now), fresh app concepts, and open-source libraries are regularly being released – and app developers (no matter what their qualifications and seniority levels might be) have to stay updated with such changes. This, in turn, makes regular app development training sessions vital. Do ask about whether dedicated training and research surveys are held/organized by the company of your choice. If yes, you can rest assured about getting an app that is at par with the latest quality parameters.
  15. Payment structure – Keep safe distance from companies that do not have a set payment structure. Avoid app agencies that ask for hefty (at times, the entire amount!) upfront payments. Choose a company that accepts payment in multiple installments (with a token advance payment, and the biggest payment chunk to be made AFTER the app has been developed). Do not make the final payment till you have thoroughly examined, and are satisfied with, the app created by the firm.
  16. Availability of app testing team – One of the principal reasons for the failure of mobile apps is the presence of malware and bugs in them. This generally happens because most companies are either too lazy, or do not have the manpower, to conduct mobile app testing in the recommended manner. Remember, if you market a buggy app, it will be your reputation and goodwill on the line. Do not delegate your project to a company that does not have a testing department.

Ideally, you should shortlist 3-4 mobile app companies after a thorough online research – and get in touch with their representatives. That would enable you to take an informed decision as to which agency is most likely to provide the best possible service for you. Make your choice from those companies which regularly share their app projects on social media channels like Behance and Pinterest (in addition to, of course, Twitter and Facebook). For free apps, the company should also help in framing smart and effective monetization strategies. Follow this checklist – and you will find that zeroing in on a suitable mobile app development partner is easy enough!

 

Google Android or Apple iOS – Who’s Winning In Australia?

iOS and Android, taken together, account for an amazing 93% of the total number of smartphones and tablets in Australia. The market leadership position has changed hands though – with Android gradually emerging as the top mobile platform in the country.

 

Among techies across the world, there is a general feel that iOS 8 will have a tough time to fight it out with Google’s latest mobile OS platform – Android L. This belief chiefly stems from the data trends over the last year or so, which suggest that Android is gradually gaining ground over its rival all over (except, perhaps, in select Asian countries). In Australia too, things are leaning towards Android, although iOS had a significant lead even a couple of years back. Prior to the actual iOS 8 vs Android L showdown, let’s take stock of how the two biggies of mobile technology are performing Down Under:

 

  1. Android wins in terms of market share – Once the fight was close, but Android has now pulled ahead quite a bit. According to the latest Kantar Worldpanel reports, iOS is currently holding on to a 35% device share in the Australian smartphone sector, while Google, with over 55% market share, has established a clear leadership position. Interestingly though, in the last quarter, Android lost around 3% users, while iOS was more or less steady.
  2. Apple’s strategy to release iPhone 5 later has backfired – For the much-hyped iPhone 5, Apple went with its traditional Q3 release (September) – a strategy that was ill-advised in hindsight. Samsung Galaxy S3 had already been in the market for more than three months, and had captured an early-mover’s advantage. The scenario is much the same in 2014, with the iPhone 6 (scheduled to be launched on 9 September) arriving almost a quarter after Galaxy S5.
  3. Apple is struggling to match Google’s array of handheld devices – Apple’s products have always been positioned as ‘premium’. On the other hand, Android has a very strong presence in the lower end of the market – with several budget smartphone models and an overall quicker product cycle (which does not necessarily ensure qualitative superiority though). Even if iOS 8 becomes a big success, Apple has its task cut out to match the sheer variety of devices that will be powered by Android L.
  4. The fight in the tablet market is getting extremely fierce – Although it still has a fairly large share of fanboys/girls in Australia, the iPad no longer rules the roost here. Nexus tablets and Galaxy Tabs have emerged as attractive alternatives – and even the Windows 8 tablet has the potential to become a challenger. If the 5.5” phablet version of iPhone 6 (slated to hit the markets in December) does well, Apple has a chance of regaining its numero uno status in the Australian tablet market.
  5. Pressure from the other platforms – This is something that both Android and iOS are currently facing. Windows Phone consolidated on its third position last quarter, and looks set to build its market share further. Even Blackberry – which many thought was already down and out – has around 1.5% of the Australian market. Most software analysts and mobile app developers in Australia feel that – since Android currently has a big lead, it has more leeway to stay ahead of the competition than iOS.
  6. Upward trend in the prices of iPhone apps – In April, Apple made an official statement that there would be a slight increase in the prices of paid iPhone apps – to counter the recent movements in the USD-AUD foreign exchange rates. While this would not cause iOS loyalists to move away from the platform in dozens, the announcement was probably not necessary – since the exchange rates have remained volatile. There have been no such announcements from Google Play Store either.
  7. Indications that iOS is stagnating – Four years back, iOS had a mighty impressive 39% share in the mobile market of Australia. Google’s OS, at the time, was present on a measly 6% of smartphones in the country. Fast forward to 2014, and the iOS figure has remained in the same range (in fact, gone down a bit), while Android has zoomed ahead. The pace and the ease with which iOS has been overtaken is a telltale suggestion that first-time smartphone users are preferring Android devices.
  8. iOS enjoys much higher buyer-loyalty – It’s not all doom-and-gloom about iOS in Australia, however. While it has failed to grow much in the last few quarters, the fact that it has not fallen away suggests that there is a strong, loyal customer-base for iPhones over here. Foad Fadaghi, a representative of Telsyte, feels that iOS generates the “highest repeat purchase intention” among buyers. As long as the debacle of iPhone 5C remains a one-off event, Apple will always have a strong presence Down Under.
  9. Android won’t have the support of Samsung in future – Samsung Mobile, with a device share of over 45%, is among the most popular Android brands in Australia. Its recent decision to part ways with Android (Samsung Z will run on Tizen OS) is likely to have repercussions, on both parties, according to market analysts and experts on mobile apps in Australia. It will be interesting to monitor how Google counters the loss of Samsung from its stable with Nexus, HTC and Sony handsets. iOS might have an opening here.
  10. Mobile app market trends in Australia are not standalone – The phenomenon of iOS steadily falling behind Google Android in Australia is in keeping with the worldwide trends. In the EU nations, the balance is skewed 69%-19% in Android’s favor, while in China, Google is winning the market share battle by an even bigger margin. Even in the United States, there is clear daylight between the popularity of the two platforms (55% of the devices are Android-powered, while around 38% run on iOS). Apart from Japan, it is difficult to find another country where iOS has a significant lead over Android. Of course, if iPhone 6 wins big and the next line of Nexus phones flop, the situation can change somewhat.

The results of a recent Telsyte survey has revealed that, by the end of 2014, Australia will have about 1.6 new smartphone users (over its present 16 million base). Many Android-buyers have also expressed their desire to switch over to ‘iPhones with larger display screens’ – which makes the 5.5” iPhone 6 absolutely critical. As of now, iOS has a lot of catching up to do, and by the end of the year, we shall know whether it has managed to make a dent in Android’s superiority in the Australian mobile market.

 

Story Time Monsoon Camp – Picture Gallery

Story Time – the sister concern of our Indian chapter, Teknowledge Software – recently conducted a summer/monsoon camp in Kolkata. Teks Mobile Australia exclusively presents pictures from the 3-day event:

DSC_0013

"That's my oh-so-cute face. Like it?

“That’s my oh-so-cute face. Like it?

"This Camp Needs A Li'l Princess!"

“This Camp Needs A Li’l Princess!”

"There's Always Some Time To Pose"

“There’s Always Some Time To Pose”

Excellence In Tattoo-Making. Delivered.

"Let me Concentrate. I am DRAWING!"

“Let me Concentrate. I am DRAWING!”

She drew well...and later wowed everyone with a lovely dance performance.

She drew well…and later wowed everyone with a lovely dance performance.

"It's my 1st birthday...and I wanna be pampered!"

“It’s my 1st birthday…and I wanna be pampered!”

"Oh? So, you did not like my drawing?"

“Oh? So, you did not like my drawing?”

"I do not particularly like this whistle. Still, I'll try!"

“I do not particularly like this whistle. Still, I’ll try!”

"That's my HAPPY face"

“That’s my HAPPY face”

"Let's start the Sit-n-Draw competition now?"

“Let’s start the Sit-n-Draw competition now?”

DSC_0147

Test-ride. Story Time tattoo artist tries out his skills on a colleague...

Test-ride. Story Time tattoo artist tries out his skills on a colleague…

"Don't they know, good pictures are results of intense concentration?"

“Don’t they know, good pictures are results of intense concentration?”

"Uncle, I wanna learn more about this Origami thing"

“Uncle, I wanna learn more about this Origami thing”

The kids turned out to be experts at Origami. The elders....well, not quite!

The kids turned out to be experts at Origami. The elders….well, not quite!

 

Kudos to the Story Time Team for organizing such a lovely camp for kids. We at Teks Mobile Australia are impressed!

Top 15 Tech Leaders At The Ice Bucket Challenge

The Ice Bucket Challenge was started a few weeks back, to raise funds for treating ALS patients. The campaign has gone viral over the web – and a plethora of leading personalities from the tech domain have already participated in it.

It’s the fundraising event everyone is talking about. As the name itself suggests, the Ice Bucket Challenge involves a dare – participants have to either pour a full bucket of ice-cold water over their head, or cough up $1000 (within a week of receiving the challenge). The drive was launched in the second half of July, to generate awareness and gather funds for treatment of Lou Gehrig’s Disease (medically termed as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS). Incidentally, Pete Frates – the person from Massachusetts who started the campaign – is an ALS patient himself. The Ice Bucket Challenge has been a massive success, with a whopping $11.5 million being collected through it by last Saturday. Celebs from every sphere have given their thumbs-up for the campaign. Many tech leaders have even posted their videos at the Challenge, which have gone viral. We here list some of the most prominent personalities from the tech domain who have been a part of the Ice Bucket Challenge till now:

                                                                                                                                                           Mark Zuckerberg                                                                                                                                                                             

The man behind Facebook was invited to the challenge by none other than the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie. After successfully drenching himself, he posted the video on Facebook (where else?) – and described the experience as ‘really cold’. We thought it would be so!

Satya Nadella

Microsoft had launched a worldwide hackathon event – and the winners got the exclusive opportunity to pour the ice-water on CEO Satya Nadella. In addition, Microsoft has also made donations for the treatment of those suffering from ALS. Judging by the snaps he put up, Nadella had a grand time taking up the challenge.

Spencer Rascoff

The real estate sector was represented by Rascoff – who heads Zillow, a highly popular online database of real estate. After getting properly soaked, he posted the picture on Vine. Jim Cramer from CNBC was among the tech hotshots he passed on the challenge to.

Philip Schiller

Tim Cook has joined the Ice Bucket Challenge, but the marketing chief of Apple Inc., Philip Schiller, took the plunge (no pun intended!) even earlier. Schiller tweeted several photos of the event, and he was the one who invited Cook to the challenge. iOS enthusiasts and app developers watched in admiration as Cook went for the dare. Schiller later expressed his delight at being able to be a part of the campaign.

Steve Ballmer

You might say that former Microsoft head Steve Ballmer (the man Nadella succeeded) was not very creative in making his own video of the Ice Bucket Challenge. That, however, does not take anything away from the fact that he was game enough to participate in a noble cause. Doc Rivers, the LA Clippers coach, is among the three people Ballmer has challenged.

Ralph de la Vega

The CEO of AT&T was another willing tech luminary to take part in the challenge. Apart from doing the needful with the icy water bucket, he challenged his colleagues to do the same as well. Monetary donations were also done on behalf of AT&T Mobility. One thing was evident – Ralph had the support of all his employees.

Sergey Brin and Larry Page

Dressed in cool Pied Piper tees, the co-founders of Google looked uber-cool, as water was poured on their heads at the challenge. The two of them took the challenge together – probably because successful partners tend to stay together in whatever they do!

Evan Spiegel

Spiegel, the CEO of Snapchat, got himself drenched in one of the unlikeliest locations – a sun-kissed beach. While there’s a rumor going around that the bucket did not have too much of ice, there’s no doubting the coldness of the water poured on Spiegel. After the dousing, Spiegel needed several minutes to recover!

Tim Cook

Responding to Philip Schiller’s challenge, Apple CEO Tim Cook decided to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge – and he nominated Michael Franti (a popular musician) to do the honors. Cook had a smile on his face while getting thoroughly wet too.

Dick Costolo

If Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook is somewhere, can Dick Costolo and Twitter be far behind? Jokes aside, a friendly rivalry between FB and Twitter was evident at the challenge – as Costolo (Twitter CEO) happily agreed to get drenched for the lovely cause. He did not forget to post the video on Vine – which received plenty of comments and shares within a short span of time.

Elon Musk

Musk’s ice-water pouring was a heart-warming spectacle of parent-son bonding. The five sons of the CEO of Tesla Motors were in charge of emptying the bucket over their dad’s head. The entire arrangement via which the water was poured was pretty innovative too.

Jeff Bezos

The man at the helm of Amazon showcased his witty side, while readying himself for the ‘chilly’ experience. He took a friendly jibe at Edward Snowden, and had a few nice jokes to share. The people Bezos challenged? The three main protagonists from ‘Star Trek’.

John Legere

The CEO of T-Mobile made this challenge into a sort of fun company activity. He encouraged everyone else from his organization to come forward as well. Like most of the other tech personalities at the challenge, Legere also made separate donations for ALS patients.

Bill Gates

Trust visionaries to come up with something new in practically everything. Bill Gates, for instance, created the entire contraption for ice-bucket dumping himself. The Microsoft founder was invited by Mark Zuckerberg, and he passed on the challenge to Chris Anderson and Elon Musk.

Jeff Weiner

People at first wondered whether the LinkedIn chief was getting drenched in blue-colored water (the color was, in fact, remarkably similar to the LinkedIn theme). Later, it was revealed that Weiner had opted to use Gatorade instead of water, for the challenge. Staying away from unnecessary wastage of water – that was something Weiner had an eye on.

 

Noted author and blogger Robert Scoble and the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, were among the other tech luminaries to take up the challenge. The unique theme of the campaign (every participant had to challenge three others, and so on) has been instrumental in its burgeoning popularity in the matter of weeks. #IceBucketChallenge has been mentioned on Twitter nearly 2.3 million times, while the number of videos on FB (of celebs drenching themselves) is also in excess of one million. In the United States alone, there are over 30000 people with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and campaigns like these would be of great help for raising funds for treatment, and spreading awareness about the ailment among people.

 

Teks Mobile Australia congratulates everyone who has taken up the challenge till now. A great way to work for a truly noble cause!

 

Telstra vs Optus: The Fight Between The Biggest Australian Mobile Service Providers

With 97% and 94% population coverage in Australia, Telstra and Optus are, respectively, the two top mobile companies in Australia. In what follows, we present a brief comparative analysis between these two rivals.

By the end of last year, Telstra had cemented its position as the top mobile service provider in Australia. Its total user base stood just a shade under 16 million – significantly more than that of its closest competitor, Optus (less than 9.5 million). With Australia currently in the midst of a smartphone boom, this would be the perfect time to take stock how the leading mobile operator companies in Australia are doing:

 

  1. Both Telstra and Optus are trumping Vodafone – Their internal rivalry aside, Telstra and Optus are really piling on the pressure on Vodafone Australia. After the much-publicized ‘Vodafail’ incident happened, the company was left with only around 5 million users – and has since lost many clients too. It is going to be an uphill task for Vodafone to win back a significant market share in the foreseeable future.
  2. The market share percentages – As a recent Roy Morgan Research revealed, Telstra, with around 40% market share in Australia, is still streets ahead of its rivals. Although Optus is some distance back, its share is hovering around a decent 25% figure mark – with slight growth last year. Vodafone is just about clinging on to the third spot (with a share of a touch below 21%).
  3. Services offered – Optus and Telstra are more or less matching each other, as far as their portfolios of mobile services are concerned. In addition to mobile and high-speed web access services, Telstra also has long-distance calling and 4G options in its service bouquet. This year, the company consolidated its global presence, and its clientele of 4G LTE services has witnessed a spurt. Optus, on the other hand, provides both domestic as well as international telephony services in/from Australia – along with subscription television and business networking options. The 4G market has also witnessed the entry of Optus, and there are plenty of Optus 4G subscribers at present in Tasmania.
  4. The price factor – This is where Optus enjoys an advantage over Telstra. The latter’s mobile service plans bear relatively high price tags. The starting charge for ‘included services’ is a pretty hefty 60 AUD (monthly). The Optus plans are significantly cheaper, as are those of Vodafone and Virgin Mobile. For budget smartphone-users, Optus has emerged as a handy alternative. Among premium users, Telstra, understandably, remains more popular.
  5. Caps vs Minutes – In Australia, most mobile service and network marketing happens in terms of ‘caps’. Telstra follows this model – and curiously, many feel that the calculation of ‘caps’ is too complicated to understand properly. Optus has taken this opportunity, to provide users details of ‘minutes used’, instead of a data figure. Not only has this been an endeavor to please customers – but it is a seamless way to earn more revenue as well. As soon as the usage threshold (which depends on the plan selected) is crossed, people are automatically upgraded to the next plan – and earnings remain healthy.
  6. The Telstra vs Optus legal controversy – In January this year, Optus launched an ad campaign, stating that there was only a 0.8% of difference between its coverage in Australia and that of Telstra (98.5% vs 99.3%). Telstra moved to court, pointing out that there was the factor of geographical difference in areas served (which was quite considerable). The final ruling (at a Victorian Court, by Justice James Elliot) was hailed by Telstra, termed as ‘disappointing’ by Optus – and made sure that an extra bit of spice was added to their rivalry.
  7. User-satisfaction levels – Telstra aces this round in a canter. According to customer surveys across Australia, there is an impressive 87%  user-satisfaction among people who use its services. Optus offers a 66% satisfaction rate on average – which is lower than even that of Virgin Mobile. The number of user-complaints is around 3% higher for Optus too. Vodafone Australia, with a user-satisfaction count of just over 35%, is at the bottom of the pile among the major players in the mobile market Down Under.
  8. Building a loyal customer-base – Both Telstra and Optus are on a mission to prevent their Australian users from switching over to their rival’s services. Recently, Telstra launched a ‘Thanks Programme’ – via which it has started giving away concert and movie tickets to its subscribers, either free or at heavily subsidized rates. Optus, on its part, has a Frequent Flyer Points distribution scheme. It is particularly of value for those who have a Qantas account and have plans to buy a new handset. However, many mobile app developers and analysts feel that there are too many of these Flyer Point locations.
  9. Network speed and availability – You might experience network connectivity issues on Vodafone, find that the Optus network has slowed down at times – but problems of this sort are practically unheard of for Telstra-users. Particularly along the eastern coast of the country, Optus and Vodafone do not offer 3G mobile web browsing options – something that Telstra does. It’s not surprising that users who require fast and uninterrupted mobile data network coverage (and do not mind paying a bit more for that) find Telstra the best option.
  10. Will Telstra remain the market leader? – There are two schools of thought regarding this. Some mobile software and app analysts feel that Telstra’s overwhelming market dominance in Australia is gradually destroying the competition domestically. The figures, however, suggest a different scenario. Telstra used to have nearly 80% device share in the first few years of this century, which has been nearly halved (despite a rise in the ABSOLUTE number of users) at present. It remains to be seen whether Optus can find a way to overtake Telstra within the next decade or so.

In terms of customer servicing, Telstra and Optus are more or less at par (WhatPhone reports a 4% edge for Optus on this count). Interestingly, Roy Morgan ranks the services of both these companies below Virgin Mobile. With a total smartphone user count in excess of 16 million, Australia is in the midst of a white hot mobile revolution – it will be interesting to find whether Telstra or Optus finally comes out as the top service provider company.