Is high mobile data usage cannibalising fixed?

We have published numerous analyses on mobile data usage. The two latest are:

Our readers also know that we follow operator Wi-Fi closely, see e.g. this piece.

At tefficient, we believe that the world is (or is about to become) mobile-first. But it doesn’t mean that the mobile networks will carry most of the traffic. In contrast, as shown in this post┬ábased on OpenSignal data, the regular smartphone user is most often more on Wi-Fi than on mobile networks. And when the smartphone is on Wi-Fi, the traffic volume is often higher since fixed broadband users seldom have to worry about data caps. Mobile operating systems are also set up to prefer (or in the case of upgrades, mandate) Wi-Fi. All Wi-Fi traffic ends up on the fixed access network, not on the mobile access network.

We don’t take a side in the tiring conflict between the cellular camp and the Wi-Fi camp and will continue to argue that it’s not cellular or Wi-Fi, it’s cellular and Wi-Fi. It’s not licensed or unlicensed spectrum, it’s licensed and unlicensed.

For this post we have, for the first time, gathered reported fixed data usage stats from regulators and operators globally to try to answer two questions:

  • Are countries with low mobile data usage having higher fixed broadband usage? I.e. is fixed broadband compensating?
  • Are countries with high mobile data usage having lower fixed broadband usage? I.e. is mobile ‘cannibalising’ fixed?

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