When you use a mobile network, your traffic has to co-exist with traffic generated by other users currently connected to the same cell. Your speed experience will depend on how much and what type of traffic those other users generate. It will also depend on how your operator has dimensioned that cell, i.e. how many carriers they have put up. Ultimately that depends on the available spectrum your operator has access to.
When operators want to convince us how great their networks are, they typically talk about download speed, i.e. how many Mbit/s users on their network averagely get when downloading something from the internet. It is being supported by a number of independent network performance specialists – Tutela, Opensignal, Ookla, P3, RootMetrics – issuing country reports naming winning networks.
These reports are actually often multi-faceted with several performance metrics, but that is often too complex to use in marketing, operators think. The simplified marketing message becomes: Speed is good – and we won.
Which operator has the world’s highest data usage?
Which operator carries the most data traffic in the world?
Which operator earns the most – or the least – per GB?
This is tefficient’s 22nd public analysis on the development and drivers of mobile data. We have ranked 90 reporting or reported operators based on average data usage per SIM, total data traffic and revenue per gigabyte in 2018.
Final! Mobile data usage and revenue for 39 countries
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. The growth is incredibly fast and driven by 4G.
Two years ago, telcos were still proudly reporting their progress in utilisation of their own public Wi-Fi hotspots for cost efficient offloading of mobile data. Public Wi-Fi was also positioned as an investment in a better customer experience – especially in public indoor environments. Telcos that were late with 4G – such as in Taiwan and Belgium – could utilise their public Wi-Fi to bridge the transition from 3G to 4G.
Those of you that read our series of international mobile data analyses know that Finland is the country with the highest average mobile data consumption in the world.
Truly unlimited mobile data is a key explanation to this: 66% of Finland’s mobile subscriptions (excl. M2M) had unlimited mobile data in June. As a direct consequence of this Finns have developed a readiness to try out new apps and services at any location and at any time – as they never have to consider the data consumption or the associated cost. The habit of ‘Wi-Fi hunting’ is not spread in Finland.
American carriers and uncarriers are embracing fixed wireless as one of the first use cases that 5G will solve. Verizon finally lifted the curtain on its fixed wireless offering yesterday: Verizon 5G Home. October 1 it will be available for 50 USD per month to existing Verizon customers in certain areas in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento.
T-Mobile’s 5G will – to use their own words – have more ‘breadth and depth‘ than Verizon’s. With 5G, T-Mobile will position itself within fixed wireless for the first time:
“51% of Americans have only one high-speed broadband option – no choice at all! The combined company will create a viable alternative for millions by enabling mobile connections that rival broadband, driving prices lower and improving service.”
The only caveat when it comes to T-Mobile’s ambition is that it is conditional. This will happen if T-Mobile and Sprint are allowed to merge – a decision not yet made.
This is tefficient’s 19th public analysis of the development and drivers of mobile data.
Mobile data usage is still growing in all of the countries covered by this analysis. But the growth rates are very different and so are the usage levels. Unlimited moves the needle. Finland tops the charts in usage – 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 Greece, Canada 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 again use the Christmas tree visualisation to identify the countries where the more-for-more initiatives of operators buck the general more-for-less trend.
The data is gathered from December 2017 to February 2018 and covers about 380 million readings from about 12000 unique devices. The data has not been published by OpenSignal but has been shared with us through OpenSignal’s analyst program.
The graph below ranks the fourteen operators in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland after how large proportion of time 4G LTE capable devices have been connected to 4G LTE. OpenSignal calls this 4G availability.
Fresh milk and mobile data seem to share the same bacteria problem. Even if treated carefully, it eventually goes sour. To protect consumers from a possibly unpleasant experience, dairy producers put a best before date on milk cartons. Mobile operators go further – they revoke unused mobile data before those gigabytes have become a health hazard.
But consumers have started to question if unused data really is unhealthy and deserve a similar down-the-drain treatment as sour milk. Clever mobile operators realised that they can offer rollover data. One of the pioneers globally is New Zealand’s 2degrees. In this video they ask what is happening to all that leftover data.