Latin America is the world’s most expensive region for broadband access with an average monthly tariff of EUR 54.74 for fixed broadband and EUR 17 per GB data for mobile broadband data. Europe and Asia Pacific are the least expensive areas for fixed and mobile broadband regions with EUR 28.01 per month and EUR 8.8 per GB of data respectively, according to a report from Quantum-Web.
The 2012 fourth quarter tariff monitoring study found no big price gaps between packages with limited (capped) or unlimited (uncapped) monthly data allowances across different region except in Latin America. This is because operators cannot afford the risk of losing customers by putting a cap on data allowances in order to monetize the traffic on their network.
This research also shows that the price gap between limited (capped) and unlimited monthly data allowance (uncapped) of packages in different continents varies in relation to a series of factors: international bandwidth, incumbent or major operators’ main technology/ies and market share, degree of competiveness between fixed and mobile broadband and regulatory authority’s approach towards the marketplace.
The global average price gap between capped and uncapped residential standalone fixed broadband tariffs is around EUR 5.60 and this varies region by region. North America and Africa are the only regions where capped packages are more expensive than the uncapped ones.
In the US and Canada, there is fierce competition between cable broadband and xDSL operators to offer broadband services; and, since cable operators are traditionally reluctant to offer unlimited data packages to subscribers, there are only few operators who offer uncapped standalone broadband services and that reflects in overall pricing of stand-alone tariffs on the continent. In Africa, most operators apply the mobile data pricing policy by imposing limitations on the monthly data allowance on fixed broadband services.
The report further shows that Europe is the region with the highest broadband penetration in the world and also offers the world’s cheapest fixed broadband tariffs. Topping the European list are Romania and Belarus with EUR 6.41 and EUR 9.44 respectively being the lowest average broadband prices in Europe. Faroe Islands and Malta where the average national broadband tariffs are EUR 47.46 and EUR 42.82 are the most expensive countries in Euope.
On the mobile broadband front, following the launch of LTE in almost 22 of 102 countries monitored in the fourth quarter of 2012, mobile broadband headlines are more about connection speed rather than traffic, bundled packages or value added services. Operators are mainly focused on the rollout of LTE and competition between operators enables mobile broadband subscribers to benefit somewhat these low tariffs for the service.
The findings show that global average of mobile broadband data costs EUR 11.3 per GB. In Latin America this cost stands at EUR 17 per GB, representing the most expensive region while Asia Pacific with around half of the Latin America’s average at €8.8 per is the least expensive region for mobile broadband data. Europe is the second least expensive region where data costs EUR 10.1 per GB followed by the Middle East, Africa and North America.
The most competitive mobile broadband market in Europe has been identified as Belarus. Beltelecom, the Belarusian incumbent offers a 2/3G data packages named "Mobile Express" with a monthly traffic allowance of 5 GB day traffic and 5GB night traffic at EUR 7.5 (VAT excluded). This is the cheapest mobile data package in Europe. Belgacom, the Belgian incumbent’s “Start” with 50MB monthly data allowance at EUR 4.12 is the most expensive mobile data package in Europe.
In absolute terms, the best value mobile broadband data package is offered by the Moldavian incumbent Moldtelecom “Connect 175” and the most expensive is the Canadian Telcos Rogers, ”Flex rate plan LTE” charging EUR 3.75 for 10MB data. By comparison, Verizon Wireless, the world’s largest LTE operator with “10GB shared Data”, works out at EUR 4.50 per GB.
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