Usage growth decelerates after COVID – but monetisation improves

Tefficient’s 33rd public analysis of the development and drivers of mobile data compares 46 countries from all regions of the world.

In our previous reports for 2020 and 1H 2021 we could see that the pandemic drove mobile data usage – contrary to the belief that all that time we spent at home would offload mobile data traffic to Wi-Fi and fixed broadband.

But the usage backlash is here: During the second half of 2021 the demand for more mobile data slowed. If comparing countries where usage is available for both the first and the second half of the year, most experienced decelerating growth. There were even five countries with a decline in absolute usage: Australia, Iceland, Qatar, Austria and Bahrain.

The country with the fastest growth in usage was – once again – Peru with 53%. Qatar, Bahrain, Austria and Japan experienced unusually slow growth rates of 15% or less in 2021. Iceland even declined when the M2M base exploded.

Data-only continues to define the average mobile data usage although the share of base is limited.

Using mobile data has never been cheaper but the erosion in the revenue per gigabyte slowed compared to previous reports. It was again Spain that had the fastest erosion, 35%, while Iceland – for the first time ever for a country in this series of analyses – reported an increase.

The good news: ARPU developed much more favourably compared to previous reports. Although mobile data usage grew slower, a larger share of countries could improve ARPU. Our famous Christmas tree graph shows a majority of branches going right. It has not happened in a long time.

Download the analysis: Usage growth decelerates after COVID – but monetisation improves – updated 4 July 2022

Updated 27 June 2022 with new data for Luxembourg and Qatar

Updated 1 July 2022 with new data for Poland and Iceland

Updated 2 July 2022 with new data for Greece and South Korea (May 2022)

Updated 4 July 2022 with new data for Australia