Public industry analysis

Subscribe to our public industry analyses – to get them emailed to you before they are published here

22 January 2019

Final! China and India shift to 4th gear – leave many mature markets in the dust

This is Tefficient’s 21st public analysis of the development and drivers of mobile data.

Mobile data usage is still growing in all of the 39 countries covered by this analysis. But there are two countries that stand out – China and India. In the first half of 2018, these two ‘developing’ nations have overtaken several mature markets when it comes to average data consumption per subscription.

But China and India aren’t yet challenging the top – where the two unlimited superpowers, Finland and Taiwan, still reign.

Data-only remain a key driver for overall usage and new figures from Austria and Finland add insight to the extreme usage pattern of fixed wireless access. Since the baby steps on 5G are taken in that FWA segment, it’s an interesting pointer to the future.

But, more importantly, we show the usage vs. ARPU chart.

10 September 2018

More data? Always. For more? It happens.

Tefficient’s 20th public analysis on the development and drivers of mobile data follows on our country-focused analysis published in July.

In our latest analysis we have ranked 115 operators based on:

  • Average data usage per SIM
  • Total data traffic
  • Revenue per gigabyte

The data usage per SIM grew for all operators. And it grew quickly. But what happened to ARPU? Could operators monetise the data usage growth?

Our Christmas tree graph visualises those that delivered on “more for more” – and those that are just followed the “more for less” stream.

10 July 2018

Unlimited moves the needle – but it’s when mobile addresses slow fixed internet that something happens

Tefficient’s 19th public analysis of the development and drivers of mobile data shows that mobile data usage is still growing in all of the 36 countries covered by this analysis. Unlimited moves the needle. Finland tops the charts – but it’s India that leads the growth league.

Data-only is a very important driver of usage. Austria is now the clear world leader in fixed-line substitution. In Korea, the share of data traffic on 4G has now effectively reached 100% with a 4G penetration of 80%. The country is ready for 5G.

A prerequisite for continued data usage growth is that the total revenue per gigabyte is low. This is not the case in GreeceCanada and Belgium. The total revenue per gigabyte there is roughly 20 times higher than in Finland and more than 35 times higher than in India.

In this analysis we identify the ten countries where the more-for-more initiatives of operators buck the general more-for-less trend.

21 December 2017

Spotting the operators capable of monetising the data usage growth

Our 18th public analysis on the development and drivers of mobile data ranks 124 operators based on average data usage per SIM, total data traffic and revenue per gigabyte.

The data usage per SIM grew for all operators. But what happens to ARPU? In an upfront way, our new Christmas tree graph visualises the operators that are delivering on more-for-more – and those that are just following the more-for-less stream.

19 December 2017

“More for more” tips the balance

Mobile data usage is still growing in all of the countries covered by this analysis. The growth rates are very different and so are the usage levels. Finland tops the charts in usage – but not in growth.

Data-only is a clear driver of usage. Austria emerges as the fixed-line substitution leader.

A prerequisite for continued data usage growth is that the total revenue per gigabyte is low. This is not the case in Greece, Canada, Belgium, Germany and Czechia. The total revenue per gigabyte here is roughly 20 times higher than in Finland. Of these countries, Canada stands out with its combination of low data usage and high ARPU.

In this analysis we introduce the Christmas tree visualisation to see where the more-for-more initiatives of operators can balance the more-for-less erosion.

13 July 2017

The luxury of the commodity gigabyte

This is an add-on to our just-published analysis “More for more” isn’t happening which compares 33 countries.

In this analysis we compare operators. We have ranked 111 of them based on:

  • Average data usage per customer
  • Total data traffic
  • Revenue per gigabyte

If you think gigabytes are becoming a commodity, you are just partly right. End-users love what they can do with data – but even if they are willing to pay for it there are limits to their loyalty.

11 July 2017

“More for more” isn’t happening

The mobile data usage continued to grow in 2016, but the spread in growth rates has never been greater between markets.

Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and, surprisingly, USA grew the slowest whereas Poland, Lithuania, Romania, Austria and France grew the fastest.

See the top 33 of the world in our 15th analysis of data usage and revenue. See what data-only and 4G LTE means for usage.

And see who has the highest – and lowest – revenue per gigabyte and per SIM.

19 December 2016

Unlimited pushes data usage to new heights

The mobile data usage continued to grow in 2016, but the growth rates varied much. Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and Hungary grew the slowest whereas Lithuania, Turkey, Austria and Korea grew the fastest.

In Lithuania, Austria and Korea, premium unlimited plans were introduced and the effect on data usage has been similar to what our previous analyses identified for Finland and Latvia.

The data usage top list is dominated by operators that offer unlimited: The world leader had an average usage per SIM of 9.9 GB per month.

26 September 2016

Upsell and loyalty strategies of operators: Using public Wi-Fi as customer magnet

Wi-Fi as customer magnetIn this analysis – our fifth on the subject – we show how telcos, cellcos and cablecos in mature markets in Europe, America and APAC use public Wi-Fi to attract and retain customers – and to upsell.

We also update you on Wi-Fi usage and deployment. You might be surprised to see that the wide adoption of 4G LTE and an increasing use of mobile data meant more Wi-Fi, not less.

29 June 2016

USA, Latvia and Finland combine: High mobile data usage with fast growth

Revenue vs MBoU tefficient simplified 2015

Which country had the highest mobile data usage in 2015? The fastest usage growth? The lowest and highest revenue per Megabyte? How does it affect usage? How are data-only and 4G LTE adoption rates affecting usage?

Which operator leads the world?

Find the answers to these mobile data usage and monetisation questions in tefficient’s 13th public analysis on the topic.

28 January 2016

Wi-Fi – the last piece of the customer retention puzzle?


Why should an operator complement their customers’ experience of mobile data with Wi-Fi?

To improve customer loyalty?

This analysis – covering 22 mobile operators in 7 markets (Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Taiwan, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden) – makes an attempt to once and for all conclude if Wi-Fi is the last piece of the customer retention puzzle.

21 January 2016

5 GB per any SIM and month no longer a utopia – if price is right

Which operator is in the top when it comes to mobile data usage?

Which country charges the most for mobile data?

Find the answers to these and other important mobile data usage and monetisation questions in tefficient’s 12th public analysis on the topic.

24 June 2015

Mobile data usage: Price and bucket size matter


Mobile data usage continues to grow: +58% for the markets in this analysis.

In some high usage markets like the US and Singapore, we however see signs of saturation with growth of just about 20%. But it’s not a general trend: In other high usage markets – Finland, Estonia, Denmark, Japan and Ireland – the mobile data usage grew 60 to 80%.

In the two low usage countries Germany and the Netherlands a Mbyte effectively costs 11-14 times more than in the European countries with the lowest effective Mbyte price.

11 June 2015

Increase loyalty. Increase revenue. Reduce SAC/SRC. Is the combo possible?

Decoupled, non-binding, unsubsidised: A game changer?

Decoupled Non-binding Unsubsidised

Our analysis shows that mature market mobile operators on average use 15-20% of service revenue on subscriber acquisition and subscriber retention cost (SAC/SRC). In most cases without growing.

Consequently, we examine the success of the operators who – in order to reduce SAC/SRC and improve margin – are challenging the mature market norm with binding contracts with coupled, subsidised, equipment.

22 December 2014

“Peak data” in sight?Peak data

For the first time – in our 10th public analysis on the development of mobile data usage –we see clear signs of saturation.

Unlimited squeeze-out. Smartphone penetration levelling out. 4G is mainstream. Public Wi-Fi disrupts.

Are we approaching “peak data”?

8 December 2014

Wi-Fi dollar

How operators use Wi-Fi to strengthen existing business

Wi-Fi has become a tool in the operator toolbox. In this analysis – our third on the subject – we show how telcos, cellcos and cablecos use Wi-Fi to strengthen existing business.

Time is right for operators to include Wi-Fi into a combined connectivity experience for customers – a carrier-grade experience.

8 September 2014

early upgrade plans analysis 5 2014Early upgrade plans: Sweet now. Turns sour?

Is a recurring upgrade promise – often without any fee – a good idea? Take-up has been great, but it’s only now the pioneering operators need to start delivering on this promise.

19 June 2014

Mobile data usage 2013 KPI styleMobile data usage: Global top list

For the first time, we have combined regulator reported data with operator reported data from around the world allowing comparisons between markets as well as in markets. We also present a new number 1 on the country top list.

19 May 2014

subbrands FRImpact of operator sub-brands on MVNO businesses

What happened to the MVNO businesses when Orange, SFR and Bouygues launched their sub-brands Sosh, Red and B&YOU in preparation for the announced launch of Free mobile.

21 March 2014

salesmen 100x80The art of balancing SAC and SRC

This is our fourth analysis on subscriber acquisition cost (SAC) and subscriber retention cost (SRC). It shows that much has happened in 2013: Average unit SAC and SRC have decreased significantly. How come – and what has it led to?

Some of our older analyses are still available:

Why more operators should care about alternative smartphone OSs   30 January 2014

Mobile data usage: The global top list   18 December 2013

How 4G LTE became mainstream (for some)   15 November 2013

Invest – and conquer?  8 October 2013

How six months contracts changed mobile in Belgium and Denmark   13 September 2013

Why the smartphone growth is over (for smartphones as we got to know them)   23 August 2013

From four to three operators: The quick fix of a broken market?   12 August 2013

Quad-play: A competitive necessity?   5 July 2013

Mobile data demand saturated? Forget it.   16 June 2013

Top MBoU operators worldwide   10 June 2013

Top LTE operators worldwide   31 May 2013

Top FTTH/B operators worldwide   24 May 2013

Operator Wi-Fi booms   14 April 2013

Why operators should refrain from handset sales   27 March 2013

SRC increases to 98% of SAC – do the positive effects continue after 100%?   11 March 2013

Why mass marketing is inefficient when launching LTE   4 March 2013

Time for Korea and Estonia to harvest   12 February 2013

Measure, compare and improve competitiveness within telecoms