This innocent tweet – based on official statistics from the German and Finnish telecom regulators – has currently been read by more than 90 000 people:
Finland, with 5.5M people, overtook Germany (with 80M) in total mobile data traffic in 2015. pic.twitter.com/fOZnEiIrLd
— tefficient (@tefficient) May 20, 2016
While we expected Finns to read, like and retweet it – it’s not every day a small country overtakes Europe’s largest economy in absolute numbers – we didn’t expect the tweet to trigger a storm of criticism from German mobile users – pointed towards the three German mobile operators.
Telekom, Vodafone and O2: Many of your customers seem fed up with your mobile data pricing, network quality and your policies. We of course know better than to think this is representative for all 114 million mobile customers in Germany, but now that we have listened to some of them, maybe you should too?
— Ron (@derron93) May 22, 2016
Translated: Could well be due to our tariffs, or, @o2de?
Dank der Preise von Telekom und Vodafone: Deutsche sind beim Datentraffic 16x sparsamer als Finnen.
— stefanolix (@stefanolix) May 21, 2016
Translated: Thanks to Telekom’s and Vodafone’s prices: Germans are 16x more careful with data traffic than Finns.
On throttling policy…
“Sie surfen jetzt mit reduzierter Geschwindigkeit, da Ihr inkludiertes Datenvolumen verbraucht ist” https://t.co/CMROSNaHjw
— Stefan Schubert (@pvblivs) May 21, 2016
Translated: “You are now surfing at reduced speed since your included data volume is consumed” [Quoting the typical end-of-data SMS]
— Phörmchen™ (@schreibrephorm) May 21, 2016
Translated: I’d like to see the statistics for the first 10 days of a month #Drosselkom [“Throttle” is “Drossel” in German]
On data caps…
Ob das wohl was mit unseren fortschrittlichen 300 MB-"Flatrates" zu tun hat?! https://t.co/O1BBXkOzyK
— Carsten Titlbach (@locationsite) May 21, 2016
Translated: Probably something to do with our advanced 300 MB-“flatrates”?!
Fact: Die Datenvolumen unserer Mobilfunkverträge sind definitiv zu klein! https://t.co/9zX53NRQvm
— Shedew Coldsteel (@der_mattes) May 21, 2016
Translated: Fact: The data volume of our mobile phone contracts are definitely too small!
On network quality…
Diese Nachricht in MeckPomm über Edge zu empfangen erklärt vermutlich Einiges… https://t.co/cZ9rmaSmQC
— Fup Duck (@fup_duck) May 22, 2016
Translated: To receive this message over Edge in MeckPomm probably explains stuff … [Edge is data over 2G, not 3G or 4G]
— Hermann (@blubalu) May 21, 2016
On Germany as digital leader…
Nochmal der Hinweis: Deutschland ist in Sachen Internet sowas von dritte Welt… https://t.co/hOyd4ukXIY
— Peter Kröner (@sir_pepe) May 23, 2016
Translated: Noted, again: Germany is something of a third world in Internet …
Welcome to the 21st century Germany – not. https://t.co/RB4qRpsp5U
— Simon Lindermann (@SimonLindermann) May 22, 2016
The tweet summing it up
— Dan Ackerson (@danackerson) May 21, 2016
If you think some of these were over the top, then rest assured we have avoided the most aggressive reactions.
Now back to some more facts
In 2015, the average Finnish SIM card used more than 5000 Megabyte per month whereas the average German SIM card used 435.
11.5x more per Finnish SIM card – even though each Finn averagely had 1.9 SIM cards compared to just 1.4 SIM cards per German. If anything, more SIMs per head should tend to lower usage per SIM.
With all those extra gigabytes consumed, do Finnish customers then pay more per month in total compared to German customers?
In 2015, the average service revenue per SIM (ARPU) was:
Finland: 14.6 EUR
Germany: 16.6 EUR
If taking the average number of SIMs per head into account, the average Finnish person paid 27.7 EUR per month – 4.5 EUR more than the average German person (who paid 23.2 EUR).
For those 4.5 EUR, the average Finn got 16 times more data than the average German.
Want to know more?
Combining usage levels with total industry revenues provides a very interesting comparison. We’re busy completing it for full year 2015; in the meantime, read our 1H 2015 analysis here.
To understand why Finnish mobile data usage is so high, please read this post.