Category Archives: Blog

Six calls to action – directly from consumers

Ericsson ConsumerLab today published a new consumer and industry insight report titled Towards a 5G consumer future.

The research insights are based on a survey of 14000 Android and iOS smartphone users between 15 and 65 in fourteen countries: Argentina, Brazil, China, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, the UK and the US.

To prepare this consumer research, we worked with Ericsson ConsumerLab to analyse and benchmark the mobile data strategies of operators globally. When we had the research results, we jointly reviewed them.

The findings can be summarised in six calls to action – from consumers for operators: Continue reading Six calls to action – directly from consumers

Who has the best network in the Nordics?

There are several ways to measure network performance and the results of published tests can therefore differ.

Mobile operators have a tendency to criticise test results when they have lost and promote results when they have won.

An example of this is the recent drivetest by Connect Magazine in Switzerland as performed by P3 Group. Whereas Salt seems furious – the CEO-commented release is an interesting read – Sunrise uses the results in its marketing.

Who will be the first operator – anywhere – to complain about a test methodology after having won?

What differs even more than the network test results is the perception of network quality. For an operator it is much more important that its customers are having the perception of the best network than actually having the best network. Continue reading Who has the best network in the Nordics?

Seven undaunted predictions for 2018

Our nine predictions for 2016 were designed to be measurable. The outcome wasn’t bad. Consequently, inspired by Apple’s self-proclaimed ‘courage’ to remove the headphone jack on the then-new iPhone 7, we upped our game when publishing our eight (courageous) predictions for 2017.

We didn’t think it would play out as well as it did. We predicted that Verizon would dump bucket plans and go all-in on unlimited. It happened. Verizon doesn’t call its unlimited plan “Kick the bucket”, but still. We predicted that the “control & zero-rate content” bundle would fail in the light of unlimited and the clouds have never been darker for AT&T with regards to its thirteen-months-have-elapsed-but-yet-to-be-approved attempt to take control over Time Warner. We also predicted that BT and Deutsche Telekom would eat crow and admit that their copper-embracing access strategy wasn’t future-proof just to realise that they now need to speed up to meet the demand for FTTH – or be run over by competition.

We weren’t right on everything – Vodafone didn’t pause 5G plans to focus on unlicensed spectrum; the company just asked the industry to sober up – but we are nevertheless so encouraged that we for 2018 present seven undaunted predictions:

Continue reading Seven undaunted predictions for 2018

Carriers moved away from subsidizing handsets. Now they subsidize customers’ video consumption.

Mobile operators are abandoning the previously predominant model to subsidize handsets and to, in return, lock customers in on long contracts with elevated service fees.

The death of the model should be mourned by no one since end-users have been given choice and flexibility through a multitude of non-binding, cheaper and flexible service options with generous – or even unlimited – allowances. Operators have seen customer churn decrease as end-users hold onto their handsets longer. As a direct consequence, EBITDA margins have increased.

Investors might still complain about the revenue growth, but measured as percentage of revenue mobile carriers currently produce the best margins on record. Continue reading Carriers moved away from subsidizing handsets. Now they subsidize customers’ video consumption.

Fast networks, light payload

Ookla, the company behind Speedtest, has just published its Speedtest Global Index for August 2017. As always, it’s interesting.

According to Ookla’s crowdsourced data, the fastest average mobile data experiences in the world are found in:

  1. Norway – 55.72 Mbit/s
  2. Netherlands – 48.30 Mbit/s
  3. Hungary – 46.72 Mbit/s
  4. Singapore – 46.62 Mbit/s

But since all mobile networks are based on shared capacity, we decided to cross correlate Ookla’s speed data with our own mobile data usage data. Is there – or is there not – a relationship between mobile data usage and experienced speed?

The graph below correlates the two (click to enlarge).

Continue reading Fast networks, light payload

Bundles and churn: Nexterday North 2017

Also the 2017 version of Nexterday North was a true ‘anti-seminar’ with futuristic and insightful speakers in a great, sometimes quirky, mix. May Comptel‘s spirit thrive also now that it is a part of Nokia.

This year, tefficient held a keynote presentation focused on bundles and the effect on churn.

Continue reading Bundles and churn: Nexterday North 2017

Apple Watch 3 Cellular, how much data does it eat?

It’s here. I’ve been salivating after the latest Apple Watch 3, with all the bells and whistles. Slick, beautiful, cool and I’ll only need a watch to make/receive calls and text, stream music, etc. This should be easy, I’ll just pre-order the GPS & Cellular version. I’m a UK consumer and have a passion for all things mobile & telco, both home and abroad. Therefore, I decided to find out how Apple Watch 3 offers compare in the UK, USA and Australia. Continue reading Apple Watch 3 Cellular, how much data does it eat?

European 4G – mission accomplished?

Look at the graph below. It should satisfy mobile end-users, operators, regulators, politicians and equipment suppliers.

It shows that all operators have improved 4G coverage to the extent that they all (well almost) reach above 90% of the population by the end of June.

Mission accomplished then? Continue reading European 4G – mission accomplished?

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 based 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?

Continue reading Is high mobile data usage cannibalising fixed?

Closing the loop on our predictions for 2016

When we in the end of December 2015 made nine predictions for 2016, our intention was that they should be measurable.

This is the moment of truth. With all reported operator data at hand, we can now close the loop on 2016.


Prediction 1 – mobile data usage of 10 GB per month

At least one mobile operator will reach an average mobile data consumption of 10 GB per any SIM and month in 2016

It happened. The Finnish operator DNA carried a total of 345 petabyte of mobile data in 2016. If this traffic is averaged out over DNA’s average number of SIMs, it becomes 10.7 GB per SIM and month in 2016. Continue reading Closing the loop on our predictions for 2016