Fixed broadband tariffs in Q4 2018

Broadband tariff benchmarks for residential and business broadband services

We have compared broadband tariffs across different technologies in Q4 2018, looking at price and speed variations in various parts of the world.

Global broadband tariffs and bandwidths

We have compared the average subscription charges and corresponding bandwidths for different broadband technologies across the world. All prices are quoted in US dollars at PPP (purchasing power parity) rates to allow easier comparison.

Residential broadband packages

In Q4 2018, the average monthly charge for copper connections decreased by 3%, charge for cable increased by 5% while the average charge for fibre remained unchanged compared to the previous quarter. The average monthly charge for residential broadband services based on all technologies also remained the same and stood at $91 in Q4 2018.

The average bandwidth provided to residential subscribers increased by 4% compared to Q3 2018. The boost was caused by the continued increase in bandwidth provided over all platforms. In Q4 2018, the average download speeds over copper, fibre and cable increased by 2%, 3% and 4% respectively.

In Q4 2018, the combined average cost per Mbps on broadband packages provided over the three technologies continued to decrease – it dropped from $0.49 in Q3 2018 to $0.47 in Q4 2018. Despite this 4% drop, copper remains the most expensive technology. Operators, especially in better developed economies, stopped promoting copper based broadband services (ADSL) as their main broadband product and are migrating consumers to fibre and gigabit capable cable broadband packages.

Business broadband packages

In Q4 2018, the average monthly charge for standalone business broadband services decreased by 1% compared to the previous quarter and stood at $191. This indicator dropped by 4% for cable and 5% for fibre while it went up by 0.4% for copper.

At the same time, the average bandwidth continued to grow – it increased by nearly 10% compared to Q3 2018 and stood at 168Mbps. This boost was caused by higher average download speeds offered over cable and fibre networks. In the case of cable, in Q4 2018 the average bandwidth has gone up by 4% compared to Q3 2018. For fibre connections, the average download speed has increased by 10%. The average copper connection speed dropped by 9% this quarter.

At the end of Q4 2018, the average combined cost per Mbps for business broadband packages went down by a further 10% and stood at $1.13. The decrease in the average cost of bandwidth provided over cable and fibre has contributed to the overall drop in the average cost per Mbps. Fibre connections saw the most substantial decrease of 13%. The average cost of cable dropped by 8%. Over the same period, the average cost of copper went up by 10%. However, with copper having a small share of all connections (see our Global Broadband Statistics), the increase in its average cost did not outweigh the drop in the cost of fibre and cable.

Regional tariffs and bandwidths

In this section, we have compared the average subscription charges and corresponding bandwidths in different regions across the world. All prices are quoted in international US dollars at PPP rates to allow direct comparison between regions.

Residential broadband packages

Asia-Pacific retained its dominant position in terms of bandwidth as operators in the region continue to push fibre services. In Q4 2018, the average bandwidth in this region was 530Mbps, up 3% quarter on quarter. Western Europe and North America followed with 254Mbps and 250Mbps respectively (up 3% and 15%) as the rollouts of VDSL,, FTTP and Docsis 3.1 continued.

Middle East and Africa saw an increase of 4% q-o-q in the average fixed broadband download speeds which stood at 39Mbps in Q4 2018. Due to the relatively limited supply of fixed broadband, it was the second most expensive region, following Latin America. With still relatively low fixed broadband penetration, Latin America offered the second lowest average bandwidth at 66Mbps. Meanwhile, Asia-Pacific had the second lowest average cost after Western Europe, which meant this region offered the best value for money for residential customers. Indeed, the average cost per Mbps in this region stood at $0.12 PPP compared to $0.25 PPP in Western Europe for example.

Region (residential broadband) Average Downstream Speed, Mbps (Q4 2018) Average Cost per Mbps (Q4 2018)
Asia-Pacific 530.6  $              0.12
Eastern Europe 140.5  $              0.47
Latin America 66.3  $              3.03
Middle East and Africa 38.9  $              3.06
North America 250.2  $              0.33
South and East Asia 211.9  $              0.39
Western Europe 254.5  $              0.25

Business broadband packages

The lowest priced business tariffs were offered in Europe and North America. While being the most expensive market in terms of average monthly cost ($469), Asia-Pacific also offered the highest average download speeds at 516Mbps and thus one of the lowest average costs per Mbps of bandwidth at $0.91. In comparison, in Western Europe and North America the average bandwidth was 257Mbps and 213Mbps respectively.

Region (business broadband) Average Downstream Speed, Mbps (Q4 2018) Average Cost per Mbps (Q4 2018)
Asia-Pacific 515.98  $               0.91
Eastern Europe 91.90  $               1.13
Latin America 60.14  $               5.48
Middle East and Africa 27.82  $             10.84
North America 212.80  $               0.70
South and East Asia 105.39  $               1.76
Western Europe 256.83  $               0.46

Country ranking

In this section, we look at the average monthly tariff for residential broadband services across the world. The average tariffs include copper, cable and fibre broadband services, and cover both standalone and bundled services.

All tariffs are quoted in international US dollars at PPP rates to allow comparisons between countries.

We are using the three most common comparison aggregations:

  • The entry level tariff – typically ignores variations in bandwidth caps, time charging, actual bandwidth offered and overall availability of a tariff in the market. Best used to indicate the conditions at the low end of the market and best comparator if you’re looking at the market penetration for broadband overall or a particular technology.
  • The median tariff – the value in the middle of the count of all values in the set. Can be skewed by unbalanced reporting or data gathering.  Useful as a general indication of the country market and for inter market comparisons.
  • The average tariff – doesn’t represent an amount anyone actually pays, skewed by extremes in price. The best single number for comparing whole country markets when you want to understand the range of options for the consumer.

There is a difference in the relative country performance depending on which metric is used and the variation can be significant.

Here we show the price and country ranking for the metrics explained above for residential services. All prices expressed as international US$ (PPP rates).

The above chart shows the range from the entry level service through the median up to the average value of all the residential tariffs in the market. This highlights some of the issues we have outlined above.

The spreads in Japan, Germany, France, UK, Korea and Russia for example seem to indicate that it is relatively straightforward to get more bandwidth. In Brazil, India, Turkey, China and the United States the differences in price levels of various packages are much more pronounced, not least due to the variation of supply between urban and rural areas.

Looking at the most expensive markets in terms of median tariffs we also see some variation in the entry level and average ones. Upgrading to higher level tariffs is still especially expensive in UAE, Bolivia, Bahrain, Oman, Mauritania and Sudan. This is symptomatic of the African and Middle Eastern countries where mobile broadband is the technology of choice for accessing the internet.

Get access to the full data

Access to the full version of this report and our latest tariff database featuring more than 5,000 services from over 90 countries are available to subscribers of Point Topic’s Broadband Operators & Tariffs as well as Double Play and Triple Play services. To find out more, please telephone +44 (0)20 3301 3303 or e-mail

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