It’s the most smartphone-y time of the year. As the end of the year approaches, the world’s leading smartphone brands are releasing their latest flagship handsets.

With a significant proportion of the year’s new smartphone sales happening between now and January, companies will be spruiking their products and talking about their latest technological innovations – from improved cameras to artificial intelligence and animated emoji.

But while a larger f-stop on the selfie camera or full-screen fingerprint sensor might constitute a unique selling point, it may not necessarily tell us – as potential customers – what we want to know.

So we did a bit of research, looking at detailed trends data around relevant phone searches of the last 12 months, to give us a fascinating peek at what Australians are really interested in when it comes to purchasing a new handset.


Perhaps the biggest surprise was just how popular wireless charging was as a search term.

While 2017 finally saw wireless charging capability adopted by both of Australia’s best-selling smartphone brands, wireless charging constituted more than one third of all the searches we tested for – which suggests that the technology may finally have become a significant point of influence.

In the same vein as wireless charging, battery ranked top 5 in our ranked search terms. The side effect of smartphones becoming more capable is the drain that puts on their batteries.

The battery not lasting the day can be a real bugbear for consumers, which may have been a motivating factor for Samsung to increase the battery size of the Galaxy Note series by more than 20 per cent this year to a whopping 4000mAh.

If you are on your mobile phone constantly throughout the day and find yourself repeatedly running out of battery, you can do worse than to invest in a portable power pack. We also have a selection of wireless chargers which you can check out – just remember to double-check your handset is compatible with wireless charging and the wireless charger you want to buy.

Plans and Prices

Plans and price were numbers two and three on our list of top ten smartphone related search terms, which makes sense – customers are using their phones more than ever before. Plans are no longer just about calls or data. There is a wealth of value to be considered from entertainment inclusions, loyalty programs and Peace of Mind Data.

Peace of Mind Data is a new type of back-up data, so if you ever run out of your Included Data in a month, you won’t have to pay excess data charges in Australia. This data is speed capped at 1.5Mbps until the end of your bill cycle (which means it is not suitable for HD video or high speed applications, and means that some web pages, videos, social media content and files may take longer to load) and slowed further during busy periods.*

Peace of Mind Data is included in selected plans or can be added to some plans for an extra $10 per month.

You can find more about Telstra’s plans here, or if you wish to speak to someone you can call us on 13 22 00.

Hardware and Technology

5G has been a hot topic this year, which may have contributed to placing it number 7 on our list – and our expectation is that this time next year it will have moved up rather than down.

Earlier this year we switched on 5G technology in Toowoomba and the Gold Coast, and we plan to have more than 200 5G capable sites live around the country by the end of 2018.

This means that there will be some early adopters out there already looking for when the handsets will include 5G compatibility to take advantage of these new network innovations and the speeds and capabilities that will come with them.

Other hardware and tech that Australians were searching for ranked at number eight on our list. With people taking more and more photos and those photos being larger because of camera improvements – more on that shortly – there is an interest in more storage on the device.

While the headphone jack did not make it into our top 10, it barely missed out and clearly remains a talking point.


The camera has been the focal point for many product launches recently – if you’ll pardon the pun. There has been a myriad of innovations in this area, from dual cameras, super-slow motion, 4K, AI, live translation, extra low-light performance – and the list goes on.

The camera pops up at number six in our list of search terms, but if you add in all the various searches connected to it, it rises in importance quite quickly.

In the past 12 months we have seen photographs shot on smartphones grace the covers of magazines. We have seen movie features directed by recognisable names shot entirely on smartphones.

These technologies are also seeping into more affordable models, which is good news for everyone.


Before we get onto screens, there are a few other notable call-outs – there are a lot of people searching for smartphone accessories. If your first purchase after investing in a new phone is not a cover or screen protector, then you’re a more confident person than I!

Colour and reception also both cropped up in our research. These trends suggest that we may see more colour options from smartphone manufacturers in the future, and reception remains an important interest given the size and scale of Australia.

Telstra, of course, provides Australia’s largest mobile network with more coverage than any other mobile network in Australia and for those customers outside the big cities, Telstra has Blue Tick certification – our recommendation for those devices that offer the best possible coverage in rural and regional areas.

So onto screens: the trend in Australia, and around the world, is for bigger screens. We are also seeing better resolution, different types of screen (LCD versus OLED), and a host of other related technologies. We know that customers are consuming more data than ever before, and we know that part of that is Australians viewing video content on their commutes.

To many, smartphones are full entertainment systems – and, to some, their primary entertainment system! If you’re going to be buying a brand new phone, you want to make sure that you are getting the best. Which is why screen and OLED, at nine and 10, round out our list of the top 10 smartphone search terms.

If you enjoy watching video content then it is worth checking out Peace of Mind data options. While it is only suitable for standard definition viewing, it does mean that you will be able to watch content in the knowledge that you will not be going over your data limit and incurring additional charges. You can find out more about Peace of Mind data here.

Data source: Google Trends.

* For use in Australia. Personal and smartphone use only. FairPlay policy applies.