Strong increase in data usage especially with mobile phones

Mobile internet use continued to increase during the second half of 2018. The growth has been particularly strong in mobile telephone subscriptions where data usage was some one-third higher compared to the previous year. One factor affecting the growth of data transfer is the expanding coverage of fast 4G mobile networks.

During the second half of 2018, the average Finn sent and received a total of 32 gigabytes of mobile data per month. The amount of data transferred in mobile networks was almost 30% higher than the year before. This means that growth continues to be solid even though it has slowed down in recent years.

Table 1 Key figures of data transfer in mobile networks
Table 1. Key figures of data transfer in mobile networks.

Mobile phones account for almost half of all data transferred in mobile networks. The average data usage with mobile phones was 13 GB per month, which is one-third higher compared to the previous year. The average data usage with data-only mobile broadband subscriptions (e.g. 4G modems and 4G tablets) was 43 GB per month, which is one-fourth higher compared to the previous year. In reality, a small minority is responsible for a large share data consumption. A typical data usage is less 20% of the above-mentioned average volumes.

Figure 1 Mobile phones account for more than half of the growth in mobile data usage
Figure 1. Mobile phones account for more than half of the growth in mobile data usage.

In ideal conditions, 4G network of one or more mobile operators provided 30 Mbps mobile broadband to well over 50% of Finland at the end of 2018. This area covered 99% of households. The 100 Mbps coverage grew particularly strongly. In July, the coverage was 10%, but at the end of the year, it had increased six percentage points covering 92% of households. The 300 Mbps broadband covered still less than one per cent of Finland and 13% of households. When looking at the figures, it is good to remember that network congestion and building structures, for example, can have major negative effects on the data transfer speed available.

Kuvassa näkyy Suomen kartalla sinisellä matkaviestinverkon 100 megan peitto heinäkuussa 2017 ja sinisen ja vihreän yhdistelmällä tilanne joulukuussa 2018. Vihreä osuus kuvaa siis peiton kasvua.
Figure 2. 100 Mbps mobile network coverage grew during the second half of 2018.

The total number of subscriber connections in mobile networks remained almost the same at over 9.5 million in 2018. The number of voice-and-data mobile phone subscriptions increased to 6.4 million whereas the number of voice-only subscriptions decreased to less than 900,000 subscriptions. These figures do not include machine-to-machine (M2M) subscriptions. The number of M2M SIM cards increased to 1.3 million.

This information is based on data reported by telecommunications operators to Traficom.

Further information:

Marja Heinonen, 029 539 0306, marja.heinonen(at)traficom.fi