Dutch taking ever-bigger data bundles, expect even more in future

Monday 12 March 2018 | 17:07 CET | Background

Dutch consumers expect their next mobile data bundle to be slightly bigger, at an average 4.4 GB per month versus 4.1 GB currently, according to the latest research from Telecompaper. That's a change from a year ago, when most expected to need no more than their current 3 GB per month. The survey suggests more and more people will take bigger data bundles in the coming year. 

Telecompaper asks consumers since 2013 about what size data bundle they use and how much they expect their next plan to have. In 2013, the average amount was 2.6 GB per month, and in the following years, the average amount of data dropped to 2.3 GB. The drop was mainly due to a large number of people taking a data plan for the first time, pulling down the average with entry-level plans. This effect now appears to have come to an end. 

The share of Dutch consumers without a mobile data bundle fell to 25 percent in 2015 from 43 percent two years earlier. In 2015, consumers planning to take their first data bundle most often took 500 MB to start. By 2017, the share without a data plan had fallen to 19 percent. 

As there are fewer first-time users, the migration to larger bundles is becoming more clear. Only 31 percent now have a plan of no more than 500 MB, down from 57 percent four years ago. 

One in ten interested in unlimited data

The latest survey found that 10 percent of Dutch consumers expect to have an unlimited data plan in future. The figure has risen slowly over the years, from 7 percent in 2013 and then back down to 5 percent in 2015. The ability to subscribe to unlimited data only became possible in early 2017, when T-Mobile and Tele2 launched offers. 

There is also a strong increase in the amount of people expecting to take bundles of 4 to 20 GB. Only 1 percent were interested in this amount of data in 2013 and now 13 percent expect their next bundle will have this much. Interest in a plan with 1-3 GB has risen also over the period, from 7 percent in 2013 to 21 percent in 2017. Only 19 percent want a plan with up to 500 MB, down from 32 percent four years ago. 

Most consumer choice in 1-5 GB range

In terms of what's available on the market for data plans, the most providers offer 1-2 GB. Nine of the ten providers researched also offer plans of 2.5-5 GB. These segments offer sufficient choice for consumers. 

The around a fifth of consumers interested in a plan of 500 MB have a choice of just four providers. Unlimited plans are also available from just two providers still - Tele2 and T-Mobile, which are planning to merge. If the current conditions hold, Tele2 and T-Mobile could add up to 10 percent of up Dutch mobile data users. 

Drop in consumers without mobile data slows

The drop in consumers who don't expect to subscribe to mobile data in the next two years has slowed. The figure fell from 37 percent in 2013 to 17 percent in 2016, but did not change significantly in 2017. 

While the number of first-time data users is falling, the volume consumed continues to grow strongly. The latest figures from the ACM show that total mobile data traffic in the Netherlands reached 77 petabytes in Q2 2017, more than double the 35 PB registered in Q1 2016. LTE is driving the growth, with 4G traffic growing from 23 to 60 PB over the same period. 

Vodafone and KPN reported average postpaid data usage of respectively 2 GB and 2.4 GB per month. This means usage is still well below the average (pre- and postpaid) bundle purchased. 

This research is based on the Telecompaper Consumer Insights Panel and data collected in Q4 2017 and the same period in previous years. Panel participants are aged 12-80, and results are stratified according to age, gender and education. For more information about research opportunities with the panel, please contact research@telecompaper.com.

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