The total number of mobile subscriptions remained unchanged in 2015

At the end of 2015, there were 9.46 million mobile network subscriptions in Finland. The number of subscriptions remained fairly unchanged from the previous year. As the year 2015 came to a close, a little more than 7 million mobile subscriptions were being used by household customers, and 2.4 million subscriptions were being used by corporate customers. Household customers accounted for 74 per cent and corporate customers 26 per cent of all subscriptions. These numbers have remained highly stable in recent years.

In recent years, the increase in the number of mobile subscriptions used by households and companies has nearly stopped, and on the basis of the development of statistics, the number of household subscriptions, in particular, is estimated to be approaching saturation point. In fact, the number of household subscriptions increased by a few tenths of a per cent last year compared with the year before. In 2008–2011, annual growth varied between 7 and 13 per cent.

Of the 9.46 million subscriptions, roughly 8 per cent, or 750,000 subscriptions, were prepaid subscriptions. The number of prepaid subscriptions has been in decline for a few years, and last year, their number decreased by approximately 2 per cent.

Of all mobile subscriptions, 2.1 million subscriptions do not include any voice or messaging services, and these subscriptions are used for data transfers only. These dedicated subscriptions are used, for example, on tablets and USB modems. In 2015, the number of dedicated subscriptions increased by approximately 110,000.


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Figure: The number of mobile subscriptions

More than half of all mobile subscriptions already include unlimited data transfer

On the basis of their data transfer capabilities, mobile subscriptions can be divided into four groups (proportion of all subscriptions):

  • unlimited data transfer in terms of usage volume with a monthly charge (51 per cent)
  • limited data transfer in terms of usage volume with a monthly charge (28 per cent)
  • data transfer is charged according to use or through other means (4 per cent)
  • voice and messaging services only (17 per cent)

With regard to the first three groups, the subscriptions may, in addition to limitations on data transfer volumes, include limitations associated with data transfer speeds.

Of these main groups, monthly-billed subscriptions that include unlimited data transfer were the only subscriptions that increased last year. Their number increased by 16 per cent during the year, and there were approximately 4.8 million subscriptions of this type at the end of the year. Of these, 2.1 million subscriptions were of the aforementioned type, i.e. used for data transfers only. For the first time, more than half of all mobile subscriptions included unlimited data transfer.

Correspondingly, the number of the three other subscription types decreased last year. The number of subscriptions billed monthly with limited data transfer decreased by approximately 10 per cent, with there being 2.6 million of these subscriptions. The number of subscriptions other than subscriptions billed monthly including a data transfer agreement also fell by approximately 10 per cent, and there are only 440,000 of these subscriptions. The number of subscriptions that only have voice and messaging services fell by approximately 15 per cent, with there being 1.6 million of these subscriptions.

A general trend in mobile subscriptions clearly is that most subscriptions offer not only traditional voice and messaging services, but also mobile data. It is likely that, in a few years, nearly all mobile subscriptions will include data transfer.


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Figure: Mobile subscriptions with a data transfer agreement

The number of M2M subscriptions is increasing

In addition to traditional mobile subscriptions, approximately 1.1 mobile M2M subscriptions were in use in Finland at the end of 2015. The number of M2M subscriptions has increased in recent years, and in 2015, their number increased by 7 per cent, or 70,000 subscriptions. M2M subscriptions are not included in the previously discussed number of subscriptions.

This article is a part of FICORA's Communications Sector Review 1/2016.

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

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