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Data usage drives an 8% rise in mobile subscriptions

Growing demand for mobile data continues to drive up high-speed mobile Internet subscriptions in OECD countries, according to an update of the OECD’s broadband portal. Latest data shows broadband subscriptions rose by 8%, or 108 million subscriptions, in 2018, taking mobile broadband penetration to just under 110%.

Mobile data usage more than doubled in 18 of the 34 OECD countries for which data were available in the two years to end-2018. Mobile Internet users in the 34 countries downloaded an average of 4.6 GB of data per month per subscription in 2018, up from 2.4 GB in 2016. The top countries for data usage were Finland (19.4 GB), Austria (16.4 GB), Latvia (12.8 GB) and Lithuania (9.9 GB).

As of end-December 2018, there were 1.484 billion mobile broadband subscriptions out of a total OECD population of 1.352 billion. Mobile broadband penetration is highest in Japan, Finland, Estonia, the United States and Denmark, with subscriptions per 100 inhabitants at 172%, 157%, 149%, 144% and 136% respectively.

Fibre, which has now reached 26% of all fixed broadband subscriptions, is the fastest growing broadband technology, with a growth rate of 13% in 2018 and 16% in the preceding two years. Overall, fixed broadband subscriptions in OECD countries totalled 418 million as of December 2018, up from 406 million a year earlier and averaged 30.9 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. Switzerland leads with a penetration rate of 46.8 subscriptions per 100 people, followed by Denmark (43.3%), France (43.3%), The Netherlands (43%) and Norway (41.5%).



Data on machine-to-machine (M2M) communications show that Sweden, Austria, Italy, New Zealand and United States remain the leaders in the number of M2M SIM cards in use per 100 inhabitants. Sweden counts 126 M2M SIM cards per 100 inhabitants – a much higher level than most OECD countries that provided data due in part to use of these SIM cards in other countries by a Swedish operator. Overall, M2M/embedded mobile cellular subscriptions grew by over 21% in the last year in countries were the data was available.

The OECD’s broadband statistics cover 37 countries. You can download the underlying data, charts and broadband penetration maps for different countries at http://oe.cd/broadband.

Working with over 100 countries, the OECD is a global policy forum that promotes policies to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.


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