4G LTE Tariffs in Europe: key trends – Q3 2016

Point Topic started tracking changes in the 4G LTE tariffs provided by mobile operators across Europe

This overview presents the latest 4G LTE tariff benchmarks as of the end of September 2016

The data on 4G LTE tariffs is collated within Point Topic’s Mobile Broadband Tariffs subscription service. Our experienced analysts review and interpret the data to show pricing trends by region and country.

We also provide access to the complete tariff dataset which our customers can use to perform their own analysis. Currently, the mobile tariff database covers nearly 2,000 tariffs from all major mobile broadband providers from EU-28, Norway and Switzerland.

Technologies

We track mobile broadband tariffs provided over 4G LTE and LTE-Advanced technologies. For the sake of brevity, we are referring to both of them as ‘4G LTE’ or sometimes ‘4G’.

Standalone and bundled

We record 4G LTE and LTE Advanced tariffs which are offered either bundled with a device (a tablet, a router or a dongle) or marketed as sim-only. We currently track only monthly tariffs, rather than daily, weekly or pay as you go, and exclude tariffs offered with smartphones.

Residential and business

We report both business and residential mobile broadband tariffs. The analysis in this report for Q3 2016 is based on 1255 residential and 822 business tariffs.

Currency

To allow for comparison between countries with different living standards, this report refers to the tariffs in $ PPP (purchasing power parity).  The data on PPP conversion rates is provided by the World Bank. The tariffs in our database are also available in local currencies, USD, EUR and GBP.

Residential 4G LTE tariffs

In Q3 2016, the average monthly charge for residential 4G LTE services varied from $94 (PPP) in Malta to $27 (PPP) in Belgium. The overall trend is for residents of the more developed countries, which also happen to be the EU-15 member states, to have access to relatively cheaper 4G LTE services.

average-4g-lte-tariffs-residential

Having said that, in some cases, the lower average monthly charge reflects the lower average usage allowance, and vice versa. However, countries such as Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, Poland and Norway stand out as offering both the highest data allowances and the lowest charges, in other words providing the best value for money to subscribers. This is reflected in the average cost per GB of data in these countries being the lowest in Europe.

4G LTE tariffs per GB

In some of the ‘top five’ countries, 4G LTE services also come out favourably compared to fixed broadband in terms of the costs. For example, in Denmark the average monthly subscription for a 4G LTE service in Q3 2016 was $33.20 (PPP) while the average monthly rental for fixed broadband was $47.74 (PPP). Of course, in the fixed broadband market, it is more common to have very high or unlimited data allowances. However, given that Danish mobile operators offered on average 150GB of data a month on their 4G networks, the mobile broadband alternative in this country is rather attractive.

Similarly, in Ireland the average monthly fixed broadband tariff was $75 (PPP) against $38 (PPP) average monthly 4G LTE tariff. In this country, the average monthly data allowance on 4G LTE was 56GB which is still an attractive option for an average user, given the price differential between fixed and mobile broadband packages.

Having said that, many 4G LTE service providers require customers to pay an upfront device cost which can be substantial.

Business 4G LTE packages

Similarly to residential mobile broadband services, with a few exceptions, the more established and better off European countries tend to offer lower average 4G LTE monthly tariffs (Figure 5). In around half of the countries, the average monthly cost to a business user on 4G network is under $40 (PPP). Like in the case of residential tariffs, Malta stands out as much more expensive but this could be due to peculiarities of pricing and a low sample of 4G LTE tariffs in the country where, as of Q3 2016, only two mobile network operators offered 4G broadband.

average 4g lte tarifs business

The top five most generous countries in terms of average data allowance on 4G networks are the same as in the residential segment. Sweden and Norway are much more generous to their business customers compared to residential ones, whereas residential 4G subscribers in Denmark are offered on average three times more data than business customers. One can argue that Swedish and Norwegian operators offer data volumes high enough to lure business customers from fixed broadband operators. For example, in Sweden the average monthly 4G LTE tariff for businesses is $42 (PPP) as opposed to $109 (PPP) average fixed broadband tariff. However, for the time being fixed broadband providers can still compete on lower equipment costs and higher reliability of service.

average-4g-lte-tariff-data-allowance-business

Country ranking

In this section, we look at the entry level, median and average monthly tariff for residential mobile broadband services across Europe. All tariffs are ranked in international US dollars at PPP rates to allow comparisons between countries.

Table 1. Country scorecard by residential 4G LTE tariffs, Q3 2016

4g-lte-tariffs-scorecard

Get access to the full data

Access to the full version of the this report and our latest tariff database featuring more than 2,000 mobile broadband services from 30 European countries are available to subscribers of Point Topic’s Mobile Broadband Tariffs service. To find out more, please telephone +44 (0)20 3301 3303 or e-mail simona@point-topic.com

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