According to a new report, mobile broadband penetration in OECD countries has reached 99.3 percent, meaning there is nearly one high-speed mobile broadband subscription for every inhabitant. As the smartphone became mainstream and mobile internet started to become more common, pricing in mobile markets shifted from telephony to data usage. That trend is particularly evident when it comes to 4G services that are designed for IP-based traffic, rather than being optimized for voice.
The rapid expansion of 4G, coupled with providers in many countries introducing unlimited data packages, has seen levels of data usage rise considerably in recent years. The following infographic shows mobile data usage per mobile broadband subscription in selected OECD countries last year, with Finland first by a wide margin.
In 2016, Finnish smartphone users consumed an average of 10.95GB of mobile data per month, considerably more than Austria’s 6.28GB. In Finland, users can select the speed for all services without having their usage capped. For example Elisa offers tiered speeds for 4G at 50 Mbps, 100 Mbps and 300Mbps including unlimited data usage. Sweden and South Korea recorded mobile data usage of 4.38 and 3.83GB per month respectively while U.S. smartphone owners used 2.67GB. While some U.S. operators like Sprint and T-Mobile do offer unlimited usage plans and charge by speed, others are still rooted back in the 3G-era.