World Fixed Broadband Statistics – Q1 2019

Point Topic has published Q1 2019 broadband subscriber figures

At the end of Q1 2019, the quarterly growth of fixed broadband subscribers stood at 2.06 per cent. The number of global fixed broadband connections was 1.047bn.

Summary of key findings

At the end of Q1 2019, the quarterly growth of fixed broadband subscribers stood at 2.06 per cent. The number of global fixed broadband connections was 1.047bn.

The main trends in Q1 2019:

  • More than 65 per cent of all net additions in fixed broadband subscribers came from East Asia which also maintained the largest regional market share of all subscribers at 47 per cent.
  • Copper connections continued to decline, having dropped by 8.9 per cent in the last year, while FTTH/B/C connections increased by 24.4 per cent in the same period. Cable based subscriptions went up by 4.41 per cent. The trend of subscribers dropping copper in favour of fibre, whether it’s FTTH/B or VDSL, continues.
  • China continued to be the largest fibre growth market. In 12 months to the end of Q1 2019, China saw FTTH connections grow by 23%. Some 72% of global FTTH net adds in in Q1 2019 came from China.
  • Argentina, Thailand, Philippines, Chile and South Africa among others also saw significant FTTH quarterly growth rates – 53%, 34%, 26%, 20% and 17% respectively.

Global and regional trends

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

In Q1 2019, the number of global fixed broadband subscribers grew by 2.02 per cent quarter-on-quarter to 1.027bn (Figures 1 and 2).

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

More than 65 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 47 per cent (Figure 4). Market shares across all regions changed by less than a percentage point, compared to Q4 2018.

Figure 3. Share of net adds in fixed broadband subscribers by region, Q1 2019. Source – Point Topic.

Figure 4. Share of fixed broadband subscribers by region, Q1 2019. Source – Point Topic

In Q1 2019, the quarterly growth rate in East Asia increased by 0.34 per cent compared to Q4 2018 and stood at 2.91 per cent. This was mainly due to the increased fibre growth rates and slower decline of xDSL services this quarter (Figure 5).

Figure 5. Quarterly growth rates by region, Q1 2019 vs Q4 2018. Source – Point Topic

Quarterly growth rates have also increased in North America and America Other. The rest of the world saw a decline in quarterly growth compared to Q4 2018, with Africa seeing the largest difference of 1.78 per cent. Despite this, Africa was still the fastest growing region (4.55 per cent quarter-on-quarter, given that it has the second lowest market share of all fixed broadband subscribers at 1.86 per cent and the lowest fixed broadband penetration at 3.87 per cent. (Figure 6).

Figure 6. Penetration and quarterly growth by region (size of bubble represents subscriber volume in Q1 2019). Source – Point Topic.

In Q1 2019, Asia Other came third in terms of growth in fixed broadband subscribers, with quarterly increase of 2.03 per cent. In this region, strong quarterly growth was recorded in Sri Lanka (8.6 per cent), Nepal (4.5 per cent), Indonesia (3.7 per cent), Thailand (3.3 per cent) and Vietnam (3.2 per cent), among others. Overall, growth tended to be higher in the countries with lower broadband penetration, with the exception of some markets where mobile broadband dominates due to low penetration of fixed lines (Figure 7).

Figure 7. Fixed broadband: quarterly growth versus population penetration in Q1 2019. Source: Point Topic.

Technology trends

Between Q1 2019 and Q4 2018, the market share of fibre connections in the total fixed broadband subscribers continued to grow – it went up by 1.04 per cent globally. The share of cable-based subscriptions dropped by 0.23 per cent as subscribers further migrated from legacy networks to fibre. The share of copper-based subscriptions (ADSL) continued to deteriorate and fell by 0.82 per cent.

Direct fibre connections continue to grow at high rates. In Q1 2019, 72 per cent of global FTTH net additions came from China which saw a 4 per cent quarterly growth in FTTH connections (23 per cent growth in 12 months to the end of Q1 2019).  Argentina, Thailand, Philippines, Chile and South Africa among others saw significant FTTH quarterly growth rates – 53 per cent, 34 per cent, 26 per cent, 20 per cent and 17 per cent respectively. Meanwhile, VDSL growth rates were in single figures this quarter.

Figure 8. Technology market share by region, Q1 2019. Source – Point Topic.

Figure 9. Changes in fixed broadband technology market shares by region, Q1 2019. Source – Point Topic.

In terms of annual changes, between Q1 2018 and Q1 2019, the number of copper lines globally fell by 8.9 per cent, while FTTH connections increased by 22 per cent and FTTx by 2.4 per cent (Figure 10). The trend of subscribers dropping copper in favour of fibre continues. Wireless (mostly FWA) and satellite saw healthy growth as these technologies are increasingly used to cover broadband ‘white spots’.

Figure 10. Annual growth in subscriber numbers by technology (%). Source – Point Topic.

Top broadband countries

The top ten countries by total fixed broadband subscribers remained unchanged since Q2 2016 (Figure 11). China is approaching half a billion of fixed broadband subscribers and continues to record the largest broadband net adds globally (Figure 12).

Figure 12. Country ranking by broadband subscribers in Q1 2019.  Source – Point Topic.

Figure 13. Country ranking by broadband net additions in Q1 2019. 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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