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Zooming in on mobile phone switching: Broadie vs Byron

Sources: Roy Morgan Single Source April 2014 to September 2016 and ABS

Broadmeadows locals are among the most likely mobile owners in the country to switch service provider, new suburb-by-suburb analysis from Roy Morgan Research shows.

Nationally, 15% of Australian mobile owners (aged 14+) are likely to switch Mobile Service Provider in the next 12 months—but in Broadmeadows, it’s double: 30% of the suburb is keeping an eye out for their next mobile plan.

Across Australia, there are a further 58 locations where residents are at least 50% more likely than average to switch mobile provider this year. The new analysis covers all 2,162 Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2) zones defined by the ABS, each with an average population around 10,000.

At the other end of the spectrum are those suburbs and towns where residents are at least 50% less likely than average to switch mobile provider any time soon. This includes Byron Bay, where only 7% of people plan to switch.

Comparing these two SA2 locations reveals further differences—and similarities. Despite being among the most likely to want to switch, 84% of ‘Broadie’ locals are actually satisfied with their current provider (compared with 72% nationally). Conversely, the denizens of Byron Bay are less likely to be satisfied (67%). 

SA2 is the most granular level for which population, age, income and other basic demographics are regularly available from the ABS: the median age in Broadmeadows is only 32, compared with 40 in Byron Bay—but the median income in both is well below the national average, by around $10,000pa in Broadmeadows and almost $15,000pa in Byron Bay. Over half of Broadmeadows speaks a language other than English at home (51%), versus just 7% of people living in Byron Bay.

Mobile Switching, Satisfaction and Demographics in Broadmeadows vs Byron Bay

Sources: Roy Morgan Single Source April 2014 to September 2016, and * ABS

Australians most commonly choose their mobile service provider for better network coverage—and this is also the number one reason in Byron Bay. In Broadmeadows, however, ‘cheaper rates’ is more likely to be a deciding factor. This is often a key driver of switching intentions, as people who want to save money are more inclined to stay on the look-out for alternative pricing than those who have settled on one provider for its network coverage.  

These differences are also reflected in their core values, lifestyle and attitudes. Helix Personas segmentation classifies all of Broadmeadows residents as Doing it Tough (509), part of the broader Getting By community. Doing it Tough types are mostly younger single-income households hoping to get a better deal out of life (and clearly, their mobile plans too).

House in Broadmeadows

Source: Google Street View

Byron Bay contains a wider variety of people, most commonly Rural Realists (301) of younger, sociable renting families, Back to Nature (602) sea-change retirees, and Rural Families (702) who are budget-conscious but confident consumers.

House in Byron Bay

Source: Google Street View

Michele Levine, CEO – Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Zooming in on specific suburbs and towns delivers unparalleled granularity on exactly where potential new (or at-risk current) consumers can be found and targeted.

“Broadmeadows and Byron Bay represent the two poles of switching intention: those in the Victorian suburb are twice as likely as average to be in the market; those in the New South Wales seaside town are half as likely. 

“There are also similarities. Mobile users in both areas are 50% more likely than average to believe they know how to find the best deal when it comes times to choose service provider. They are also more likely like other Australians to believe quality is more important than price.

“Implementing SA2 borders gives telecommunications service providers, primarily the three network operators Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, the ability to map and understand customers by their location and proximity to network towers, storefronts and outdoor advertising. This information can then be used to help inform marketing executions, enhancements to network infrastructure, and retail strategies.

“Of course, our look at Broadmeadows and Byron Bay is just an example. The great benefit of SA2s is that they cover every inch of Australia. Switching intentions can therefore be understood and investigated the same way in Bondi Beach (where 14% intend to switch), Beaudesert (13%), Broome (8%) or Brunswick (20%) – or even somewhere that doesn’t start with a B that has a problematic network tower, a new retail store, or a new billboard.”        

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%