Research Brief

European MBB tariffs continue to vary significantly- Swiss Highest and UK lowest

, published: January 2013
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Mobile broadband (MBB) adoption continues to increase globally and in Europe. Related mobile data traffic continues to double each year and is expected to increase even further; Ericsson predicts a 12-fold rise worldwide between 2012 and 2018. This is fuelled by notebooks/netbooks, and the continuously growing penetration of tablets and smartphones is driving further growth. However, this exponential rise in data traffic has not generated a proportional increase in revenue for mobile network operators.

Pricing levels and adoption continue to vary significantly in Europe. In the past affordable 'all you can eat' and unlimited packages (with no cap) were the norm in order to spur demand for mobile data. Now, the majority of operators are shifting to tiered or capped plans, or adding maximum usage or speed caps to so-called 'unlimited' plans. More than ever operators are in need of new mobile data pricing models, in order to fund the future development of their networks and sustain further growth.

This research brief analyses operators' MBB offerings for laptop/netbook devices across 16 Western European countries during the fourth quarter of 2012. A separate research brief is dedicated to special iPad/tablet-only packages.

The main conclusions are that average monthly MBB tariffs continue to vary significantly across the different countries of Western Europe, and range from EUR 16 in the UK up to EUR 33 in Switzerland (monthly average prices excluding VAT). In the Netherlands, the average price has come down from being the highest in Q1 2009 to the middle (8th) in Q4 2012. Dutch MBB penetration via notebook/tablet remains limited, but has almost doubled in the past two years to around 6.6 percent of the population.


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