According to data from the data analysis company Tefficient, there is a change in the global data usage leaders : Zain Kuwait has overtaken DNA Finland as the operator with the highest mobile data consumption per SIM.
With 21.5 GB of data per SIM per month, Zain Kuwait becomes the one to catch for operators who – like Zain Kuwait – knows how to turn usage growth into revenue growth. Zain offers unlimited (under fair usage policy) data-only plans for 46 EUR – alongside smartphone plans with buckets up to 1 TB (with a hefty price of 116 EUR). There are cheaper options too – but still with very large data buckets.
DNA, winner of many of our previous reports, had a growth in the average usage per SIM per month from 15.9 GB in 2017 to 20.8 GB in 2018 – but that wasn’t enough to keep Zain Kuwait behind. Unlimited, speed-tiered, plans – both for data-only and smartphones – form a key component of the Finnish market logic. DNA doesn’t report how large share of its base that has unlimited plans, but for Finland as a whole, that share was 67% of non-M2M SIMs in December 2018.
Drei (3) Austria defends its number three position from our previous report. The company carried 43% of Austria’s total mobile data traffic in Q3 2018. That share actually used to be even higher, but that is more a reflection of that Drei’s competitors A1 and T-Mobile eventually embraced the data-only home segment that previously pretty much was defined and owned by Drei. The Austrian home internet plans come with unlimited, speed-tiered, data. Hybrid routers are now offered by A1 and TMobile to speed up the slow fixed internet that is characteristic for Austria. Unlike Finland, smartphone plans aren’t unlimited in Austria.
Below the podium we find Elisa from Finland (17.2 GB per SIM per month in 2018), Zain from Bahrain
(16.5 GB), Taiwan Mobile (16.2 GB2), FarEasTone Taiwan (16.0 GB2) and Zain Saudi Arabia (15.5 GB).
Telia Finland is the likely number 9 but since Telia doesn’t report its mobile data traffic we have calculated it
as the Finland total minus the sum of DNA and Elisa.
This means that Telia’s actual usage might be somewhat different. Chunghwa from Taiwan is number 10 with 10.8 GB2 while our only maturing market operator on this top-eleven list is Jio from India. Unlike the other operators in the top, Jio’s average usage didn’t grow much in 2018.
Europe: Finnish operators and ‘3’ dominate the top
The top ten operators are either Finnish (DNA, Elisa, Telia), affiliates of ‘3’ (Austria, UK), Polish (Plus
Cyfrowy Polsat, Play), Austrian (3, T-Mobile) or French (Free, Bouygues). The bottom eight operators are from the low usage markets of Czechia (T-Mobile), Greece (Vodafone), Belgium (Proximus, Telenet BASE, Orange) and Germany (O2, Vodafone, Telekom).
“The Tefficient study shows that data consumption in the mobile network is increasing, and the key challenge for operators in the future will be to provide the network with total data transfer capacity, network security, and operational stability. LMT is currently one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, coverage in Europe in terms of base stations and frequency coverage. That’s why in LMT network we can offer such innovative solutions as smart TV, mobile call center, business resource management systems and others that consume large amounts of data, ”says Juris Binde, President of LMT. “Our philosophy is to promote the use of data on the mobile network, so that customers can use mobile Internet, without any limit, without the need. Still, most operators in the rest of the world do not provide it, as reflected in our position on the “Tefficient” rating.