Prices of mobile voice and data plans have fallen in most packages in Europe

The largest price drop is in the most data-intensive basket (5 GB + 100 calls) which has fallen by 20 % since 2017


Looking at the usage basket of 300 voice calls and 1GB data, minimum prices range between EUR 8 and EUR 59 with an EU average of EUR 22 (EUR 2 cheaper than a year ago).
The cheapest countries are Luxembourg, Italy, Slovenia, Austria and France, with minimum prices below EUR 10.
By contrast, prices are high in Bulgaria (EUR 59), Greece (EUR 56), Hungary (EUR 47), Slovakia (EUR 46) and Czechia (EUR 43).

Prices of mobile broadband plans for laptops and tablets show large differences across Europe.
On average, prices have decreased for all types of consumption baskets since 2016, ranging from
5 % to 16 %.

Looking at 5 GB data-only plans for laptops, minimum prices range from EUR 3.7 to EUR 42. The EU average (EUR 17) is below the price of fixed standalone offers of 12-30 Mbps.
The cheapest countries are Italy, Poland, Sweden, Latvia and Austria, with prices below EUR 10. At the same time, prices are very high in Cyprus (EUR 43).
Prices from laptops have decreased for all types of consumption baskets since 2016. The largest price drop is in the highest consumption basket (20 GB), with a 21 % decrease.

Mobile prices worldwide: compared with the USA, Japan and South Korea, the EU is cheaper for
data-intensive handset usage baskets. Compared with the USA, the EU is cheaper for all data only (laptop/tablets) packages.

On average, the EU performs well in all data consumption baskets, with much lower prices than South Korea and Japan, even in high-consumption baskets (5 GB). When comparing EU and US prices, prices are lower for all baskets in the EU, except for the basket with 1 GB data and high intensity of voice calls
(2GB + 900 calls).
Regarding the handset use baskets with less than 2 GB data usage, the USA offered flat rates for calls and text messages for EUR 26.7 in 2018, while in South Korea 5 GB is included in all data consumption baskets.

Regarding laptop/tablet baskets, the USA is more expensive than the EU for all baskets. The least expensive data-only offer in the USA allows up to 10 GB of data for EUR 22.
In the case of Japan, prices have substantially dropped from previous years, and baskets of up to 20 GB can be found for EUR 10.8 on average. This is what makes Japan the best performer in this category.
On average, the EU performs well in lower baskets, but prices are higher than South Korea and Japan for high-end baskets (especially 10 GB and 20 GB).

  • There are 96 active mobile broadband SIM cards per 100 people in the EU.

The penetration rate doubled over the last 6 years.

In Poland, the Nordic countries, Estonia and Luxembourg there are already more than 120 subscriptions per 100 people, while in Hungary the take-up rate is less than half of that. Most mobile broadband subscriptions are used on smartphones rather than on tablets or notebooks.

Mobile broadband is still mainly complementary to fixed broadband. In 2018, 9.5 % of EU homes
accessed the internet only through mobile technologies. Finland and Italy were leaders in
mobile–only access with 35 % and 22 % of homes respectively.

Europeans primarily use fixed technologies at home to access the internet. However, there is a growing number of homes with only mobile internet use. The percentage of homes with purely mobile broadband access grew from 4.1 % in 2010 to 9.5 % in 2018.
The Netherlands had the lowest mobile-only access rate at less than 0.2 % of homes, which correlates with the fact that it has the highest take-up rate of fixed broadband in the EU (97 %).
By contrast, in Finland, Italy, Poland, Latvia and Austria, where fixed broadband take-up is comparatively low, more than 15 % of homes rely purely on mobile technologies at home.

  • Internet traffic per capita in western Europe is well below the figures for the US and South Korea.

Mobile data traffic is a fraction of total IP traffic, and this will remain so despite the increase forecasted by Cisco. Mobile data currently represents 6 % of European internet traffic, and this ratio is forecast to reach 10 % by 2022.
Nevertheless, the share of mobile traffic will be significantly higher in Japan (14 %), China (18 %) and Russia (32 %). By contrast, only 6 % of US’s traffic will go through mobile networks by 2022.

Mobile traffic per capita in western Europe is currently 2.4 GB per month. By 2022, this figure is forecast to reach equally 12 GB in both western Europe and in China, while in the USA it will be 17 GB. The average mobile speed in western Europe is currently 16 Mbps, ahead of the USA, with 13.5 Mbps.

Average mobile traffic per capita in in western Europe is well below the figures for the USA, Japan, South Korea and Russia. Mobile traffic per capita is forecasted to skyrocket by 2022. It is currently 2.4 GB per capita in the EU and it is forecast to reached 12 GB per capita by 2022. Nevertheless, the traffic per capita is significantly higher in the USA (3.8 GB), Japan (5.3 GB), South Korea (5.8 GB) and Russia (4.2 GB).

Only China, with 1.4 GB per capita, is currently below European levels. By 2022, Russia will have taken the lead with 25.5 GB of mobile traffic per capita, followed by South Korea with 23.5 GB.

* France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Norway and Iceland. Source: Idate Digiworld, Communications Committee – European Commission




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