Fixed broadband tariffs in Q1 2018

Broadband tariff benchmarks for residential and business broadband services

We compared broadband tariffs across different technologies in Q1 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 Q1 2018, the average monthly charge for residential broadband services continued to grow steadily and stood at $116, compared to $114 in Q4 2017 and $112 in Q3 2017. At the same time, we saw a 5% decrease in average monthly charge for cable whereas copper charge increased by 4%. Fibre remained almost unchanged with the average charge of $109 in Q1 2018.

The average bandwidth provided to residential subscribers grew by 7% compared to Q4 2017. The boost was caused by the continued increase in bandwidth provided over fibre and cable networks. In Q1 2018, the average download speeds over fibre and cable increased by 4% and 10% respectively, while bandwidth over copper remained unchanged compared to Q4 2017.

In Q1 2018, the combined average cost per Mbps has gone down for broadband packages over the three technologies – from $0.78 in Q4 2017 to $0.74 in Q1 2018. Copper remains the most expensive technology as most operators stopped promoting copper based broadband services as their main broadband product and are migrating consumers to fibre.

Business broadband packages

In Q1 2018, the average monthly charge for standalone business broadband services decreased by $6 to $207 compared to the previous quarter. At the same time, the average bandwidth went up 6 per cent compared to Q4 2017 and stood at 130Mbps. This boost was caused by higher average download speeds offered over cable and fibre based networks this quarter. In the case of cable, in Q1 2018 the average bandwidth has gone up by 2% compared to Q4 2017 (+13% between Q3 2017 and Q4 2017). For fibre connections, the average download speed has increased by 2.5% (+10% between Q3 2017 and Q4 2017). Copper connection speed increased marginally from 10Mbps in Q4 2017 to 11Mbps this quarter.

In Q1 2018, the average monthly cost decreased by 8% for copper, 4% for cable and 1% for fibre compared to Q4 2017.

At the end of Q1 2018, the average global cost per Mbps for business broadband packages went down by 10% and stood at $1.59. The decrease in average cost of bandwidth provided over all technology networks has contributed to the overall drop in the average cost per Mbps. Copper infrastructure saw the most substantial decrease of 19% compared to other technologies this quarter.

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 the operators in the region continue to push FTTP services. In Q1 2018, the average bandwidth in this region was 396Mbps. Western Europe and North America followed with 224Mbps as the rollouts of VDSL, and FTTP continued. Western Europe saw its average bandwidth go up from 213Mbps in Q4 2017. In terms of average monthly broadband tariff, Eastern Europe offered the best value for money this quarter, having overtaken Western Europe.

In Q1 2018, North America saw its average bandwidth shoot up by 18.5% from 189Mbps in Q4 2017 to 224Mbps this quarter as Canadian and US operators offered more and faster FTTP and cable broadband packages. Latin America also saw the average download speeds grow by 31.5% q-o-q, though they remain on the slower end. Countries of Middle East and Africa continued to be the most expensive markets offering the lowest speed fixed broadband, not least due to the lack of competition in the fixed broadband markets and the domination of mobile technologies.

Business broadband packages

The lowest priced business tariffs were offered in Europe and North America. While being the most expensive market, Asia-Pacific also offered the highest average speeds at 444Mbps and the second lowest average cost per Mbps of bandwidth at $0.97 PPP. Only Western Europe had a lower average cost per Mbps at $0.64 PPP.

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.

Entry level, median or average?

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, Korea and Russia for example seem to indicate that it is relatively straightforward to get more bandwidth, at least in terms of cost. However perhaps that means that those on entry level tariffs are subsidising those on higher level tariffs. In India, Turkey, Brazil, China and the United States the differences in price levels of various speeds are much more pronounced, not least due to the limited supply of alternative technologies especially in rural areas.

If we look at the most expensive markets in terms of median tariffs we also see some variation in entry level and average ones. Upgrading to higher level tariffs is still especially expensive in UAE, Qatar, Bolivia, Sudan and Bahrain.

Get access to the full data

Access to the full version of the 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 service. To find out more, please telephone +44 (0)20 3301 3303 or e-mail

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