Unlimited pushes data usage to new heights

For the 14th time: tefficient’s famous data usage analysis – now covering 32 countries

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.

High penetration of data-only SIMs explains high data usage to a greater extent than 4G LTE. But it’s the effective revenue per Gbyte that matters most: In Finland, average usage was 13x that of the Netherlands – where operators effectively charged 14x more for a gigabyte than in Finland. Other expensive mobile data countries are Canada, Belgium, Germany and Czech Republic.

Download analysis: tefficient industry analysis 5 2016 mobile data usage and pricing 1H 2016 ver 2

The original analysis of 19 December 2016 was updated 5 January 2017 to include 1H 2016 statistics for Estonia, figures for the Malaysian operators Maxis and Celcom – as well as for the Axiata held operations in Sri Lanka (Dialog), Bangladesh (Robi) and Nepal (Ncell). A new graph, showing data usage vs. ARPU (Figure 10), was added. An assumption for SK Telecom was changed making MegaFon the new number 3 operator in Figure 11.