Finland consumes a significant share of all mobile data used in the Nordics and Baltics

The Nordic and Baltic countries are significant consumers of mobile data. In 2019, the volume of data transferred in mobile networks continued to increase in the entirety of both regions. While growth has been particularly rapid in the Baltics, Finland retains its status as the largest consumer of mobile data by a substantial margin. Finns make up only about a sixth of the two regions’ combined population, but use 38% of all mobile data.

A comparison of the usage of communications services in the Nordic and Baltic countries shows that the largest relative increase in the volume of mobile data used was observed in Lithuania, where consumption was up 50% on the previous year. As in years past, Finns used by far the most mobile data, with the per capita figure reaching 36.3 gigabytes in 2019. The other countries included in the comparison ranged from Norway's 5.6 gigabytes to Latvia’s 21.2 gigabytes.

The graph presents the percentages of what percentage each Nordic and Baltic country contributed to the amount of mobile data transferred in mobile networks in these countries altogether in 2019. Finland used 38% of all the mobile data of Nordic and Baltics countries. Sweden had 21%, Denmark 14%, Latvia 8%, Lithuania 7%, Norway 6%, Estonia 5% and Iceland 1%.
Figure 1. Finns use a substantial share of the mobile data transferred in the Nordic and Baltic countries.

Fibre now the number one fixed broadband technology in all Nordic and Baltic countries

While Finland plays in a league of its own in terms of mobile data consumption, it lags behind with regard to fixed connections. The year 2019 marked the first time that fibre, which allows for the fastest available data transfer rates, was the most common fixed-line broadband technology in all Nordic and Baltic countries. The number of cable modem subscriptions, which take advantage of the cable TV network, remained relatively stable in all studied countries while slower copper-based subscriptions were on the decrease.

Data-only mobile broadband subscriptions saw growth in all Baltic countries, but fell in the Nordics. According to data from late December 2019, Finland had the highest number of broadband subscriptions per capita. This figure included both fixed and data-only mobile broadband subscriptions. Alongside Finland, mobile broadband subscriptions enjoy a high degree of popularity in Latvia.

The graph present the number of broadband subscriptions in each Nordic and Baltic country per person at the end of year 2019. The graph differentiates between different technologies. Finland has the most broadband subscriptions per person when data-only mobile broadband subscriptions are added to fixed broadband subscriptions. The second largest amount of subscriptions per capita is in Denmark where the number of fibre, cable modem, copper and mobile broadband subscriptions is fairly even. In third place is
Figure 2. Finland has the highest number of broadband subscriptions per capita in a comparison of Nordic and Baltic countries.

Denmark and Sweden boast the highest availability of fast fixed-network connections

The availability of very fast fixed-network subscriptions (download speeds exceeding 100 Mbps) was highest in Denmark and Sweden. Over 90% of households in both countries had access to a fast fixed-network connection. Iceland saw the largest increase in availability, with the number of households with access going from 78% to 87%. In terms of fast fixed-network connections in use, Sweden topped the list with 0.7 subscriptions per household. Meanwhile, 64% of Finnish households had access to fast connections in late 2019, with 0.28 fast subscriptions in use per household. No availability data was provided for Latvia.

The graph presents coverage and subscriptions of fast fixed broadband as a proportion of households at the end of year 2019.  The coverage as percentage of households was as follows: Denmark 94 %, Sweden 93 %, Iceland 87 %, Norway 86 %, Finland 64 %, Lithuania 61 %, Estonia 50 %. Amount of subscriptions per household was as follows: Denmark 0,39, Swedem 0,7, Iceland 0,69, Norway 0,39, Finland 0,28, Lithuania 0,29, Estonia 0,14. Data for Latvia is not available.
Figure 3. Availability of fast fixed broadband and subscriptions relative to the number of households.

In 2019, retail revenues from telecommunications operations remained relatively steady compared with the previous year. Per capita retail revenues from mobile network services and fixed-network telephone and broadband services in Finland, Iceland, Denmark and Sweden were approximately 350 euros per year, while the equivalent figure was over 400 euros per year in Norway and less than 250 euros in Latvia and Lithuania. An upward trend could be seen in Norway, Latvia and Lithuania, but retail revenues decreased in the other studied countries. Data was not yet available for Estonia.

The graph presents the retail revenues of telecommunications per person in 2019 in euros. In Norway, the retail revenues were 408 euros per person, Sweden 353 euros, Denmark 351 euros, Iceland 350 euros, Finland 349 euros, Lithuania 246 euros, Latvia 234 euros. Data for Estonia is not available.
Figure 4. Retail revenues from telecommunications operations show a downward trend in many of the Nordic countries, but are rising in Norway. While retail revenues are smaller in the Baltics, they have seen almost yearly growth. The figures are adjusted for purchasing power parity, and thus take into account the differing price levels in the studied countries.

Norway in the process of replacing its copper network 

In 2019, tangible investments made by telecommunications operators in telecom networks followed the trend set in previous years, with significant growth in Norway and Denmark. The large investments made in Norway came as the country is in the process of replacing all DSL and copper connections by the end of 2022, necessitating investment in other technologies. By contrast, investments in telecom networks are on the decrease in the other Nordic and Baltic countries. 89 euros per capita were invested in telecom networks in Finland last year, compared with 231 euros in Norway. While investment levels in Sweden have declined every year since 2017, the per capita figure remained at over 130 euros.

The data is based on statistics compiled by the public authorities responsible for supervising the telecommunications markets in the Nordic and Baltic countries.

Enquiries and further information

Read more about the statistics in the presentation on Traficom's website (External link).

The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) publishes the statistics on its website (External link) (available in Swedish and English).

Elina Pallas, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 390 126, elina.pallas(at)traficom.fi