Finland is the Nordic mobile services leader – fixed network is falling behind

Finland stayed ahead of the Nordic and Baltic countries in mobile network statistics, like in 2018. However, Finland ranks second to last when comparing the number of fast fixed broadband subscriptions. Taking all broadband connections into account, Finland has the most subscriptions per capita because of the popularity of mobile broadband subscriptions.

In comparison to other Nordic countries and the Baltic countries, Finland has the most broadband subscriptions per capita. At the end of 2018, there were 72 active broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in Finland, followed by Denmark with 64 broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants.

Finland had twice as many dedicated mobile data subscriptions, or mobile broadband subscriptions, compared to Sweden, for instance. However, Finland had fewer fixed broadband subscriptions, such as fibre or cable modem subscriptions, than the other Nordic countries. The number of such subscriptions in Finland was 31 per 100 inhabitants, whereas in the other Nordic countries the figure varied between 38 and 44. Due to the popularity of mobile broadband subscriptions, Finland ranked first in the total number of broadband connections. From the Finnish perspective, it is surprising that the number of such subscriptions is clearly decreasing in Sweden and other countries, too.

There was considerable variation in the availability of fixed broadband connections between the Nordic and the Baltic countries. In Finland, 58 per cent of households had access to broadband of 100 Mbps or more at the end of 2018. Only Estonia had a lower percentage (no data was available for Latvia). In Sweden and Denmark, for example, more than 90 per cent of households had access to such fast connection. The penetration of active fixed broadband subscriptions also varied between the countries: In Finland, there were 11 subscriptions with a downstream capacity of 100 Mbps or more per 100 inhabitants, whereas in Sweden, the corresponding figure was 29.

The graph shows the amount of subcriptions per capita of different broadband technologies for each country in 2018. Finland has the highest overall figure due to mobile broadband subscriptions. The highest amount per capita of fibre subscriptions was in Sweden with Lithuania, Norway and Iceland close by. Denmark has the highest number of cable modem subscription per capita.

Figure 1. Fibre, cable modem, copper and other fixed subscriptions as well as mobile broadband subscriptions (data-only) per capita at the end of December 2018 in the Nordic and Baltic countries.

The number of mobile call minutes in Finland has decreased but in the other countries, the call minutes are mainly on the rise. Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden had a higher number of call minutes than Finland. The number of SMS messages sent in Finland in considerably lower than in any other country Nordic or Baltic country. In Sweden, for example, the number of SMS messages sent per capita is over two times higher than in Finland. Finland also has the lowest number of fixed telephony subscriptions out of the other countries: only six per 100 inhabitants.

Data traffic in mobile networks grew rapidly in all of the countries.  Finland had by far the largest mobile data volumes: almost twice as high as the runner-up, Latvia. An important factor behind the vast usage of mobile data in Finland is the popularity of subscriptions with unlimited data. As a result, households frequently use mobile subscriptions instead of fixed broadband subscriptions.

The graph shows the amount of data transferred in mobile networks per capita in a month for each country. Finland was in the lead in 2018 with 30.7 gigabytes per capita in a month, Latvia second with 15.8 gigabytes. Lowest figure is in Norway, 4.3 gigabytes.

Figure 2. Data transferred over mobile networks per capita in a month in the Nordic and Baltic countries.

The Nordic-Baltic comparison of telecommunications statistic also includes data on revenues and investments. In Finland, tangible investments in telecommunications networks were EUR 95 per capita, which is more than in the Baltic countries but clearly less than in other Nordic countries. In terms of revenues from telecommunications, Finland was closer to the other Nordic countries.

The graph shows the amount of tangible investment to fixed network per capita in each country. Iceland had the highest figure in 2018 with 247 euros per capita and Lithuania the lowest with 29 euros. Finland was in the middle with 95 euros per capita.

Figure 3. Telecommunication operators’ investments in tangible fixed assets per capita in the Nordic and Baltic countries.

The figures are based on statistics compiled by the Nordic and Baltic telecommunications regulatory authorities. Data on revenues and investments in Denmark will probably be updated to the statistics available via the links below during autumn 2019.

More 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) (in Swedish and English)

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