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Mobile broadband penetration at 99% in OECD area

Mobile broadband penetration at 99% in OECD area

High-speed Internet use continues to grow in OECD countries with mobile broadband penetration reaching 99 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in December 2016, up from 91 per 100 inhabitants a year earlier, according to new data released by the OECD.

The addition of 113 million new mobile broadband subscriptions in the 35-country OECD area made a year-on-year rise of 9.8%, driven by continued growth in the use of smartphone and tablets, and lifted the OECD total to 1.275 billion subscriptions in a population of 1.284 billion people.

Eleven countries – Japan, Finland, Australia, the US, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Korea, Iceland, New Zealand and Ireland, in descending order of mobile subscriptions per capita – now lie above the 100% penetration threshold, up from nine countries a year ago.

Poland, Slovenia, Chile, Portugal, Turkey and Mexico were the fastest growing countries in mobile broadband penetration in the previous 6 months, with growth rates ranging between 22% and 12%.


Fixed-line broadband subscriptions in the 35-country OECD area reached 387 million as of December 2016, up from 372 million a year earlier and making an average penetration of 30.1%, up from 29.2%. Switzerland leads the pack with a penetration rate of 50.1 subscriptions per 100, followed by Denmark (42.4%), the Netherlands (41.9%), France (41.4%) and Norway (40.5%).

DSL remains the prevalent technology, making up 43% of fixed broadband subscriptions, but continues to be gradually replaced by fibre. Fibre now accounts for 21.2% of subscriptions thanks to a 15% jump in fibre subscriptions since 2015. Cable (32.7%) makes up most of the rest.

Turkey, Mexico, Portugal and Australia had the highest year-on-year growth in fixed broadband penetration in the OECD area, with respective growth rates of 9.3%, 9.2%, 7.6% and 7.5%. New Zealand continues to expand fixed broadband apace, with a notable increase in fixed wireless of 200% in the past 6 months, made up of people taking their first broadband connection or shifting from DSL to fixed wireless, particularly where fibre to the residence has not reached their location in areas of lower population density.

Data on machine-to-machine communications, such as for Internet-connected vehicles, show that Sweden, New Zealand, Norway, the Netherlands and Finland remain the leaders in the number of M2M SIM cards in use, with the caveat that data is not yet fully comparable for all countries. Sweden counts 88 M2M SIM cards per 100 inhabitants – a much higher level than most OECD countries that provided data. Overall, M2M/embedded mobile cellular subscriptions grew by almost 14% in the last year in countries were the data was available.

The OECD’s broadband statistics cover the 35 OECD members plus accession country Colombia. You can download the underlying data, charts and broadband penetration maps for different countries at http://oe.cd/broadband.

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