World Fixed Broadband Statistics – Q3 2018

Point Topic has published Q3 2018 broadband subscriber figures

At the end of Q3 2018, the quarterly growth of fixed broadband subscribers saw a 2.6 per cent boost compared to the previous quarter. The global number of fixed broadband connections passed one billion milestone and stood at 1.008bn.

Summary of key findings

At the end of Q3 2018, the quarterly growth of fixed broadband subscribers saw a 2.6 per cent boost compared to the previous quarter. The global number of fixed broadband connections passed one billion milestone and stood at 1.008bn.

The main trends in Q3 2018:

  • The growth was highest in the last six quarters, mostly due to the trends in East Asia which provided nearly 70 per cent of all net additions in fixed broadband subscribers.
  • Copper connections continued to decline, having dropped by 8 per cent in the last year, while FTTH/B/C connections increased by 29 per cent in the same period. Cable based subscriptions also went up by 4.5 per cent.
  • 81% of global fixed broadband subscriptions were fibre (FTTH/B/C) and cable based.
  • China continued to be the largest fibre growth market. In 12 months to the end of Q3 2018, China saw FTTH connections grow by 25%. This figure constituted 82% of global FTTH net adds in the period.
  • Elsewhere Argentina, Brazil, UK and France among others saw significant FTTH quarterly growth rates – 21%, 19%, 11% and 10% respectively. Meanwhile, Peru and Italy were among the top VDSL growth markets, with quarterly growth of 23% and 14% respectively.

Global and regional trends

Figure 1. Trends in world broadband subscriber growth. Source – Point Topic.

In Q3 2018, the number of global fixed broadband subscribers grew by 2.6 per cent quarter-on-quarter and the global number of fixed broadband connections passed one billion milestone. The growth was highest in the last six quarters, mostly due to the trends in East Asia which includes China (Figures 1 and 2).

Figure 2. Global broadband subscribers and quarterly growth rates. Source – Point Topic.

Nearly 70 per cent of all net additions in fixed broadband subscribers came from East Asia (Figure 3), which also maintained the largest regional market share of all subscribers at 46 per cent (Figure 4). This remained roughly the same compared to Q2 2018. Western Europe saw its market share drop slightly from 17 per cent in Q2 2018 to 16 per cent in Q3 2018, while market shares in the rest of the regions remained almost entirely unchanged.

Figure 3. Share of net adds in fixed broadband subscribers by region, Q3 2018. Source – Point Topic.

Figure 4.Share of fixed broadband subscribers by region, Q3 2018. Source – Point Topic

In Q3 2018, the quarterly growth rate in East Asia stood at nearly 4 per cent (Figure 5). China, which grew by 4.6 per cent, was mostly to blame. The rest of the world saw a slight increase in quarterly growth compared to Q2 2018, except for Africa where the quarterly growth rate dropped from 5.8 per cent in Q2 2018 to 3.8 per cent in Q3 2018. Nevertheless, Africa was the second fastest growing region. It is no surprise, given that it has the second lowest market share of all fixed broadband subscribers at 1.6 per cent and the lowest fixed broadband penetration of 3.2 per cent.

Figure 5. Penetration and quarterly growth by region (size of bubble represents subscriber volume in Q3 2018). Source – Point Topic.

In Q3 2018, fixed broadband subscribers in the rest of Asia went up by 3.3 per cent, with strong growth in Sri Lanka (10.5 per cent), Indonesia (8.6 per cent) and Vietnam (7.2 per cent), among others. Growth in other regions and countries was more moderate (Figure 6).

Figure 6. Fixed broadband: quarterly growth versus population penetration in Q3 2018. Source: Point Topic. To access these interactive maps, click here

Technology trends

Between Q3 2018 and Q2 2018, the share of fibre connections in total fixed broadband subscribers continued to grow in all regions, while the share of cable-based subscriptions dropped slightly in Asia and Oceania as subscribers are migrating from legacy cable networks to FTTH and VDSL platforms. This is especially the case in New Zealand, where the UFB (Ultra-Fast Broadband) network is being deployed, and Australia, which is rolling out (NBN) National Broadband Network. The share of copper-based subscriptions (ADSL) continued to deteriorate in all regions.

Direct fibre connections continue to grow at high rates. In Q3 2018, 82 per cent of global FTTH net additions came from China which reported a 6 per cent quarterly growth in FTTH connections (25 per cent growth in 12 months to the end of Q3 2018).  Argentina, Brazil, UK and France among others saw significant FTTH quarterly growth rates – 21%, 19%, 11% and 10% respectively. Meanwhile, Peru and Italy were among the top VDSL growth markets with quarterly growth of 23% and 14% respectively.

Figure 7. Technology market share by region, Q3 2018. Source – Point Topic.

In terms of annual changes, between Q3 2017 and Q3 2018 the number of copper lines globally fell by 8 per cent, while FTTH connections increased by 23 per cent and FTTx by 6 per cent (Figure 9). The trend of subscribers dropping copper in favour of fibre, whether it’s FTTH/B or VDSL, continues.

Figure 8. Annual growth in subscriber numbers by technology (%). Source – Point Topic.

Top broadband countries

The top ten countries by the total fixed broadband subscribers remained unchanged since Q2 2016 (Figure 10). China passed a third of a billion of fixed broadband subscribers a while ago and continues to record the largest broadband net adds globally (Figure 11).

Figure 9. Country ranking by broadband subscribers in Q3 2018.  Source – Point Topic.

Figure 10. Country ranking by broadband net additions in Q3 2018. Source – Point Topic.

Get access to the full report and data used in it

The data used in this report is taken from Point Topic’s Global Broadband Statistics service that allows customers to analyse the datasets covering fixed broadband subscribers in more than 120 countries at country, operator and technology level. The data is also available as part of our Double Play and Triple Play service. Please telephone +44 (0)20 3301 3303 or e-mail simona@point-topic.com for more details.

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