Fixed broadband tariffs in Q1 2019

Broadband tariff benchmarks for residential and business broadband services

We have compared broadband tariffs across different technologies in Q1 2019, 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 2019, the average monthly charge for fibre connections decreased by 4.8 per cent while the average price of copper accesses dropped by 1.5 per cent and the charge for cable accesses went up by 1.3 per cent compared to the previous quarter. The overall average monthly charge for residential broadband services dropped by 3.3 per cent q-o-q as a result of the lower cost of fibre broadband.

In Q1 2019, the average bandwidth provided to residential subscribers increased by nearly 7 per cent compared to Q4 2018. The boost was impacted by the continued increase in bandwidth provided over fibre and cable networks. In Q1 2019, the average download speeds over fibre and cable increased by 6 per cent and 5 per cent respectively. At the same time, average download speeds over copper dropped by 2 per cent this quarter.


In Q1 2019, the combined average cost per Mbps on broadband packages provided over the three technologies continued to decrease – it dropped from $0.47 in Q4 2018 to $0.43 in Q1 2019 (-9 per cent). Despite its continuing decline, the average cost per Mbps over copper increased by 27% – not surprising, given increasing costs of maintenance of the legacy networks. Various operators, especially in more developed regions, stopped promoting copper based broadband services as their main broadband product and are migrating consumers to fibre and superfast cable broadband packages.

Business broadband packages

In Q1 2019, the overall average monthly charge for business broadband services increased by 1.6 per cent compared to the previous quarter and stood at $194. The average monthly charge for copper decreased by 2.3 per cent while for cable it dropped by 0.8 per cent. Over the same period, it went up by 1.3 per cent for fibre connections.

The increase in the cost was partly caused by the fact that the average bandwidth continued to grow – it went up by 9 per cent compared to Q4 2018 and stood at 183Mbps. This boost was caused by higher average download speeds offered over fibre networks. They were up by 9 per cent compared to Q4 2018. Cable and copper connections maintained roughly the same average download speeds compared to the previous quarter.


At the end of Q1 2019, the average combined cost per Mbps for business broadband packages went down by a further 5 per cent and stood at $1.07. The decrease in the average cost of bandwidth provided over fibre and copper has contributed to the drop in the average combined cost per Mbps. Fibre connections saw the most substantial decrease in the cost per Mbps of 7 per cent 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 operators in the region continue to push fibre services. In Q1 2019, the average bandwidth in this region was 472Mbps. Western Europe and North America followed with 265Mbps and 253Mbps respectively as the rollouts of VDSL, G.fast, FTTP and Docsis 3.1 continued.

Middle East and Africa, which are focusing on mobile markets and technologies, had the lowest average fixed broadband download speed at 68Mbps. Due to the limited supply of fixed broadband, it was the second most expensive region. With still relatively low fixed broadband penetration, Latin America was the most expensive market offering the second lowest average bandwidth at 75Mbps.

Region (residential broadband) Average Downstream Speed, Mbps (Q1 2019) Average Cost per Mbps (Q1 2019)
Asia-Pacific 471.99  $          0.14
Eastern Europe 154.83  $          0.44
Latin America 75.45  $          2.30
Middle East and Africa 67.83  $          1.91
North America 252.51  $          0.31
South and East Asia 221.37  $          0.38
Western Europe 265.48  $          0.24

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 download speeds at 338Mbps and an average cost per Mbps of bandwidth of $1.19. In comparison, in Western Europe and North America, the average cost per Mbps stood at $0.42 and $0.71 respectively, with the average bandwidth being 299Mbps in the former and 213Mbps in the latter.

Region (business broadband) Average Downstream Speed, Mbps (Q1 2019) Average Cost per Mbps (Q1 2019)
Asia-Pacific 337.85  $          1.19
Eastern Europe 94.00  $          1.10
Latin America 66.50  $          4.47
Middle East and Africa 33.24  $          9.40
North America 213.18  $          0.71
South and East Asia 115.00  $          1.73
Western Europe 298.73  $          0.42

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, at least in terms of cost, even though this may indicate that consumers on entry-level tariffs are subsidising those on higher level tariffs. 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 more commonly used for accessing the internet.

APPENDIX

Coverage and Methodology

The monthly rental prices have been analysed in terms of local currency and equivalent USD costs.

As of Q1 2007, a full set of tariff information is available for download as part of Point Topic’s Broadband Operators and Tariffs Service. The data set contains the most up-to-date tariff information including such details as monthly rental, connection speed, equipment cost and service features. In Q1 2007, Point Topic began providing end of quarter tariff updates from the database, which clients may use for their own historical analysis. These are now incorporated into our benchmark report and are published simultaneously.

Entries within tariff data sets which do not have both a downstream speed and a monthly rental listed have been excluded from this analysis.

The PPP rates used are published annually by the World Bank for a selection of countries and are readily available to the public free of charge. Those PPP rates are published at the beginning of each year are used throughout the year and hence any quarterly changes in PPP rates are not taken into account during the analysis. Some retrospective adjustments to PPP rates were made during the period 2000–2010. All PPP rates during this period were updated accordingly.

Price comparison issues

This analysis is intended as a general indicator of the trends in pricing in major broadband countries. There are several additional variables that complicate the process of making a direct comparison of broadband prices. These need to be taken into account when making a more in-depth analysis:

  • ISP charges: Some operators include ISP charges in their monthly rental, whereas others do not and charge an additional cost. This is evident in the case of Yahoo Japan, where a separate ISP charge is billed to the customer. In instances where this clearly occurs, Point Topic includes the charge in the monthly rental.
  • Bundling: With the continuous competition in service price, ISPs are focusing on bundling value-added services in order to increase revenue. Since Q1 2007, an integrated tariff database file containing bundled services information is available as part of the Broadband Operators and Tariffs service. This allows a comprehensive analysis of bundled services and pricing which we introduced here for the first time in Q1 2007.
  • Tax charges: Sales taxes (such as value-added tax) are also included in the residential monthly rental by most operators, although this is not the case in North America where telecommunications taxes are charged on top of the monthly rental. There would be a slight difference in the rankings if tax costs were included in the quoted monthly rentals of North American operators.
  • Time limits: Many operators worldwide have begun introducing broadband packages that restrict the time spent online without additional charges. For a monthly flat rate, customers can enjoy ‘free’ broadband access at particular times of the day/night, or for a certain number of hours per month. Any time spent beyond that limit is charged at an hourly rate.
  • Download limits: Some operators offer entry-level services with data volume limits. In most cases, these limits are generous enough so as not to affect light or medium users. Point Topic includes this type of service as a reasonable entry-level service since it does not involve adding a usage charge to the monthly cost for the typical user.

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 simona@point-topic.com.

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