Category Archives: Blog

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

2016 was a great year for mobile customer loyalty

The fourth quarter has traditionally been the most difficult for mobile operators in mature markets. Many customers join, but many others are leaving and operators typically dilute margins by having more equipment (and more expensive equipment) in the sales mix compared to the rest of the year.

Subscriber acquisition and retention costs are generally higher in the fourth quarter when the financial discipline of mobile operators is put aside to promote equipment at prices well below the operator purchase costs – as long as existing customers promise to stay or new customers are ready to commit to plans with high monthly fees.

But even though there are temporary setbacks, our industry is gradually moving in a more rational direction: Equipment subsidisation is less frequent today and many operators have stopped binding customers to long, inflexible, contracts. Mobile operators have developed their service offerings and are today capable of explaining why customers should stay – without having to throw in a new iPhone as part of the package. Continue reading 2016 was a great year for mobile customer loyalty

Eight (courageous) predictions for 2017

Our nine predictions for 2016 were designed to be measurable. The outcome doesn’t look bad at all – we project that 7 (or 7 and a half) will be fulfilled – but we need to wait for the fourth quarter reports to give you the final outcome. ETA February.

For 2017, we thought we’d make our predictions more courageous. We think 2017 will be the year when the telecoms industry finally becomes customer oriented and customer friendly having realised that greed and fine print make a bad foundation for business – but that customers who are given attention and choice reward you with their loyalty – and then are surprisingly willing to pay.


Prediction 1: Unlimited mobile data to everyone who pays

Every mobile operator will offer unlimited mobile data in 2017

Continue reading Eight (courageous) predictions for 2017

Nonstop Retention benchmark and European quad-play best practice

Analysis and Go-to-market, 2016

Nonstop Retention® benchmark: Calculating and comparing the Nonstop Retention Index for mobile brands (MNOs, sub-brands and main MVNOs) in one specific major European market. Identifying best practice and showing current trends. Recommending propositions and actions to improve customer loyalty per brand.

European quad-play best practice: Fact-based before/after analysis of how the introduction of quad-play propositions changed key business Continue reading Nonstop Retention benchmark and European quad-play best practice