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Finland has more broadband subscriptions than the other Nordic and Baltic countries

Nordic and Baltic telecommunications statistics reveal that Finland had the most broadband subscriptions relative to the population last year. Finland’s top position can be largely explained by its high number of mobile broadband subscriptions. The household use of mobile connections is also reflected in the volume of data transferred via the mobile network, which is higher in Finland than in the other Nordic and Baltic countries by a notable margin. The aforementioned details were revealed by the 2021 telecommunications statistics published by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom and the telecommunications authorities of the other Nordic and Baltic countries.

As has been the case in previous years, Finland has the most broadband subscriptions per capita out of all the Nordic and Baltic countries when both fixed and mobile broadband (data services only) subscriptions are included in the comparison. Finland’s high number of broadband subscriptions is based especially on mobile broadband subscriptions, which are used by households via 4G/5G modems instead of fixed broadband connections or alongside them for devices such as tablets. In many other countries, households primarily use fixed broadband subscriptions, such as optical fibre and cable TV network connections, while mobile network connections are mostly only used outside of the home. The aforementioned observations are based on the comparable statistics jointly published by Traficom and the telecommunications authorities of the other Nordic and Baltic countries.

Number of fixed and mobile broadbands per person by technology in each country for 2019 and 2021. Finland had the highest relative figure thanks to mobile broadbands while Latvia had the least. In many countries, most of subscriptions are fibre or cable modem broadbands.
Figure 1. Number of broadband subscriptions per capita in the Nordic and Baltic countries. As regards mobile network subscriptions, the graph only includes subscriptions that do not include any voice services, meaning so-called mobile broadband subscriptions.

Finland trailing behind the other Nordic countries in the building of fixed broadband networks

Finland has traditionally been at or near the top in comparisons of the number of different types of mobile network subscriptions per capita. In recent years, the numbers of mobile network subscriptions have been growing rapidly in Estonia and Denmark, whereas in Finland their growth has stopped. Estonia and Denmark have seen rapid growth especially in the numbers of mobile network subscriptions that include both voice and data services, which are typically used with smartphones. As a result of this growth, at the end of 2021 Estonia had nearly caught up with Finland in the number of all broadband subscriptions per capita, with Denmark not trailing far behind.

The country with the highest number of fixed broadband subscriptions per capita was Iceland, where the number of fixed broadband subscriptions per household is almost one. Next came Norway and Denmark with almost as many fixed broadband connections. Finland, on the other hand, had fewer fixed broadband connections than the other Nordic countries and Estonia. The high fixed broadband penetration rates of some of the countries are an indication of their comprehensive high-speed fixed broadband networks. In Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, fixed 100 Mbps internet connections were available to at least 90% of households, while in Finland they were available to 71% of households.

Data volumes reflect the household use of the mobile network

During 2021, the volume of data transferred via the mobile network per capita and month was nearly 56 gigabytes in Finland. The country with the second-highest mobile data volume was Latvia, at 42 GB per capita and month. In Norway, the mobile data volume was only 9 GB per capita and month. 

These figures reflect the different ways in which the mobile network is used in different countries. In Finland, many households only use broadband connections based on the mobile network, whereas in Norway nearly all households have fixed broadband connections, meaning that their data traffic does not contribute to the data volume of the mobile network. Data volumes are contributed to the most by services that are primarily used at home or workplaces, such as streaming services, video calls and online gaming.

Data transfer in mobile networks per person for the years 2016-2021. In Finland, the figure for 2021 was highest with 55.9 Gb per person, Latvia second with 42.2 Gb, Estonia third 34.2 Gb. Others between around 20 to 30 gigabytes. Last Norway with 8.8 Gb. Data transfer has significantly increased in all countries during the years.
Figure 2. Mobile network data transfer volumes per capita and month in the Nordic and Baltic countries.

The presented figures are based on statistics compiled by the telecommunications regulatory authorities in the compared countries.

Traficom monitors the development of communications networks and services and publishes related information for the public for the purpose of monitoring the communications market and foreseeing any changes in it.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Presentation on the statistics (External link) on Traficom’s website (in English).

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

Marja Heinonen, Communications Market Specialist, marja.heinonen@traficom.fi, tel. +358 29 539 0306