German operators: We listened to your customers. Maybe you should too?

This innocent tweet – based on official statistics from the German and Finnish telecom regulators – has currently been read by more than 90 000 people:

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?

On price…

Translated: Could well be due to our tariffs, or, @o2de?

Translated: Thanks to Telekom’s and Vodafone’s prices: Germans are 16x more careful with data traffic than Finns.

On throttling policy…

Translated: “You are now surfing at reduced speed since your included data volume is consumed” [Quoting the typical end-of-data SMS]

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…

Translated: Probably something to do with our advanced 300 MB-“flatrates”?!

Translated: Fact: The data volume of our mobile phone contracts are definitely too small!

On network quality…

Translated: To receive this message over Edge in MeckPomm probably explains stuff … [Edge is data over 2G, not 3G or 4G]

On Germany as digital leader…

Translated: Noted, again: Germany is something of a third world in Internet …

The tweet summing it up

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

This graph shows the average mobile data usage – per any SIM card – per month:

Finland vs Germany 2015 data usage

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.