The number of mobile broadband subscriptions increasing

Published 16.10.2015

At the end of June 2015, there were approximately 9.4 million subscriptions in the mobile network in Finland. In addition, there were slightly more than one million machine subscriptions in the mobile network, i.e. M2M (Machine to Machine) subscriptions.

There were no significant changes in the total number of mobile subscriptions during the first half of 2015 as the figure increased only by a few thousand subscriptions. The increase in subscriptions was fairly small during the first half of the year compared with the year before because, in 2014, the number of subscriptions increased by several tens of thousands in six-month periods.

The increase in the total number of mobile subscriptions during the first half of the year was solely caused by business subscriptions, the number of which increased by nearly 20,000 subscriptions from the end of 2014. Instead, the number of subscriptions in households fell by some 10,000 subscriptions during the corresponding period. In recent years, the number of business subscriptions has increased steadily, whereas that of household subscriptions has fluctuated from one six-month period to the next. Of all mobile subscriptions at the end of June 2015, 74 per cent were used by households and 26 per cent by corporate customers.


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Figure: Mobile subscriptions in 2010–2015

Already three out of every four mobile subscriptions include mobile broadband

Mobile broadband refers to a mobile subscription which includes a data transfer service subject to a monthly charge. At the end of June, there were approximately 7.1 million mobile broadband subscriptions, representing 76 per cent of all mobile subscriptions. This number covers subscriptions that include monthly charged data transfer and traditional voice and messaging services, as well as subscriptions intended for data transfer purposes only, i.e. dedicated subscriptions.

Approximately 5.2 million mobile subscriptions, accounting for 56 per cent of all subscriptions, included traditional voice and messaging services plus monthly charged data transfers. Close to 20 per cent of all mobile subscriptions, i.e. 1.9 million mobile subscriptions were dedicated which means that they include data transfer services only. These subscriptions do not offer any traditional voice or messaging services and they are mainly used on tablets and USB modems.

The total number of mobile broadband subscriptions increased by 100,000 from the end of 2014. This growth is largely explained by the 5 per cent increase in the number of dedicated subscriptions as the number of these data transfer subscriptions increased by 80,000 during the first half of the year.


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Figure: Mobile subscriptions by subscription type in 1H 2015

According to the data transfer agreement, mobile broadband subscriptions may be divided into limited and unlimited subscriptions. Of the total of 7.1 million mobile broadband subscriptions, 4.4 million were unlimited and 2.7 million were limited. The number of unlimited subscriptions increased by 300,000 during the first six months, whereas that of limited monthly charged data transfer subscriptions fell by 200,000. Probably, any limitations on use have been removed from specific monthly charged data transfer subscriptions.

Furthermore, subscriptions where data transfer is invoiced through means other than a monthly charge have become rare, accounting for only 5 per cent of all subscriptions. At the end of June, there were 440,000 such subscriptions, showing a decrease of 10 per cent, or 50,000 subscriptions, from the end of 2014.

There were only 1.8 million subscriptions used for voice and messaging services only. Their volume fell by 2 per cent, or 40,000 subscriptions, from the end of last year. However, the decrease has decelerated from the year before when the number of these subscriptions fell by nearly 730,000 from 2013. In 2013, some operators attached a monthly charged data transfer service to all of their mobile subscriptions, which explains last year's drastic change.


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Figure: Mobile subscriptions based on a data transfer agreement in 2011–2015

This article is a part of FICORA's Communications Sector Review 3/2015.

Key words: Internet , Telephone , Mobile broadband , Mobile phone , Articles , Reviews , Statistics

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