Five year broadband subscriber forecasts – to end 2018

Point Topic forecasts 925 million broadband subscriptions by the end of 2018

Every six months, Point Topic updates its five-year global broadband subscriber forecasts. In this free report we present the global and regional highlights of the most recent analysis.

Based on our latest forecasts we estimate that there will be 925 million broadband subscribers worldwide by the end of 2018. This is lower than our previous estimates as we see continued declining growth rates in the world’s major broadband markets – the US, China and Japan. It is now becoming less likely that the 1 billion subscriber mark will be exceeded within this decade.

Global broadband subscriber numbers

Point Topic forecasts that there will be 925 million broadband subscribers across the world at the end of 2018. Overall, the growth picture looks fairly static, but this masks some big differences in the growth of countries across the world.

Point Topic - world broadband forecasts - five year forecasts to end 2018

Broadband subscriber growth by region

Whilst globally broadband growth is expected to remain fairly constant, we can see differences between the growth in different regions.

Point Topic - regional broadband forecasts - five year forecasts to end 2018

At the end of 2018, 40% of the world’s broadband subscribers are expected to be in South and East Asia, compared to 34% at the end of June 2013. Eastern Europe and Latin America are expected to have comparable growth rates and market shares over the next five years. Growth will be slowest in the developed markets of Western Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America.

Based on recent growth trends, we have reduced our broadband forecasts for all markets other than the Middle East and Africa. This is due to continued slow growth in the world’s largest broadband markets, and in particular the US, China and Japan. Several markets in Western Europe reported a loss of broadband subscribers in recent quarters. In these markets, copper broadband subscriptions continue to decline as the fibre market grows rapidly – but net growth rates remain slow.

Point Topic - market type broadband forecasts - five year growth to end 2018

Broadband subscriber growth by market type

These differences in broadband subscriber growth across the world are driven by how developed the broadband market is within a particular country.

Point Topic uses three different classifications depending on the age of the market: emerging, youthful and mature.

We can see very clear differences in growth by the type of market:

Point Topic - market type broadband forecasts - five year forecasts to end 2018

In total, the youthful markets have the greatest volume of subscribers, but we are seeing the most rapid growth across the emerging markets. Broadband subscriber numbers in the more mature markets (Western Europe, South Korea and Hong Kong) are only expected to grow by 12% over the next five years.

Point Topic - regional broadband forecasts - five year growth to end 2018

How do we forecast broadband subscriber numbers?

Point Topic uses the Gompertz Curve to forecast global broadband growth. The Gompertz Curve has been used for modelling consumer behaviour in a number of instances for at least the last 50 years. It has proven to be an accurate and powerful tool for predicting the diffusion of technology products through a consumer universe.

Broadband forecasts are generated for the 46 countries with the highest broadband subscriber numbers, as well as a general curve addressing growth in the rest of the world.

Point Topic’s forecasts use the following inputs:

  • Broadband subscribers – every quarter, Point Topic updates its database of broadband subscriber numbers across the world. The full database is available to our Global Broadband Statistics subscribers. This historical data is used as the basis for our forecasts.
  • Population forecasts – we use population forecasts published by the UN.
  • Household forecasts – we use estimates of the number of people per household to forecast growth in households

We then calculate the following variables for each of the markets covered:

  • Coverage – coverage defines the total addressable audience and is therefore set as the upper limit for broadband subscriptions. We forecast coverage growth over time.
  • Inception date – how many quarters since the technology was adopted in that market? This will affect the growth rate.
  • Growth factor – the speed of adoption (diffusion) of fixed broadband in a particular market. This is an indicator of how accessible, both economically (consumers can afford it) and in terms of availability (the service is present for a consumer in a particular place), fixed broadband is. This will vary from market to market.

Using these inputs we generate a forecast of broadband subscriptions in each of the 46 markets covered and for the rest of the world. These forecasts are inspected manually and adjusted to account for local market knowledge.

Find out more

The full country-level forecasts are published in Point Topic’s Global Broadband Statistics service. Please telephone +44 (0)20 3301 3303 or e-mail [email protected] for more details.