Change at the top as growth slows

Tefficient’s 41st public analysis of mobile data development and drivers compares 39 countries worldwide, where M2M/IoT can be excluded from the total bases. Mobile data usage grew in 38 of these, with Bahrain as the only exception.

Finland no longer leads in usage

For the first time since 2013, Finland doesn’t lead in usage. Saudi Arabia is the new world leader with more than 45 GB per average subscription in 2023.

When usage continues to grow, the growth rates are slowing. Greece leads with a growth rate of 49%, contrasting with Qatar’s 9% and Taiwan’s modest 10% growth. Bahrain even experienced a decline of 7% in data usage.

Data-only subscriptions continue to dominate average mobile data usage, although their market share remains limited. Latvia‘s average data-only subscription consumed 164 GB per month in 2023. In the FWA-only category, Australia had a high 334 GB per month in 1H 2023.

5G’s share of traffic disappoints

While data-only subscriptions drive traffic, the same can’t be said for 5G in general. Reporting is imperfect, but only three countries have disproportionately high 5G traffic relative to their 5G bases: South Korea, Austria, and Saudi Arabia. We explain what these countries are doing right and what other countries are missing.

Overall, mobile data revenue once again reached its lowest level, although the decline in revenue per gigabyte slowed compared to our previous analyses. Greece experienced the fastest erosion rate at 31%. Turkey was the only country to witness a much-needed increase.

ARPU followed data usage upwards

Adding to the positive outcomes, 70% of markets experienced an increase in ARPU following data usage growth. This is an improvement compared to some of the previous editions of this analysis.

Download the analysis: Change at the top as growth slows

Updated 18 July 2024 with 2023 data for Iceland and with 2023 revenue data for Italy.