World Fixed Broadband Statistics – Q3 2019

Point Topic has published Q3 2019 broadband subscriber figures

At the end of Q3 2019, the quarterly growth of fixed broadband subscribers stood at 2.17 per cent. The number of global fixed broadband connections was 1.112bn.

Summary of key findings

At the end of Q3 2019, the quarterly growth of fixed broadband subscribers stood at 2.17 per cent. The number of global fixed broadband connections was 1.112bn.

The main trends in Q3 2019:

  • Wireless (mostly FWA) and satellite continues to grow, having increased by 20.7 per cent and 9.7 per cent respectively between Q3 2018 and Q3 2019.
  • Copper connections continued to decline, having dropped by 7.7 per cent year-on- year while FTTH connections increased by 18.5 per cent and FTTx grew by 2.5 per cent. Cable based subscriptions went up by 3.6 per cent.
  • China continued to be the largest fibre growth market, with 69.6 per cent of global FTTH net adds in Q3 2019 (15m net additions).
  • Belgium, Thailand, Ireland and Brazil among others saw significant FTTH quarterly growth rates – 25 per cent, 22 per cent, 21 per cent and 19 per cent respectively.

Global and regional trends

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

In Q3 2019, the number of global fixed broadband subscribers grew by 2.17 per cent quarter-on-quarter to 1.112bn (Figures 1 and 2).

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

Nearly 65 per cent of all net additions in fixed broadband subscribers came from East Asia (Figure 3), which also retained the largest regional market share of all subscribers at 47 per cent (Figure 4). Compared to Q2 2019, market shares across most regions changed by less than a percentage point.

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


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

Compared to the previous quarter, in Q3 2019 the quarterly growth rate increased across all regions, most notably in Africa (+0.96 per cent) and Oceania (+0.71 per cent) (Figure 5).

Figure 5. Quarterly growth rates by region

Only America Other saw a slight decline in quarterly growth compared to Q2 2019, with numbers dipping by 0.1%. Africa was still the fastest growing region (3.98 per cent up quarter-on-quarter).  With very low market saturation, this region has the second lowest market share of all fixed broadband subscribers at 1.89 per cent and the lowest fixed broadband penetration at 4.02 per cent (Figure 6).

Figure 6. Penetration and quarterly growth by region (size of bubble represents subscriber volume in Q2 2019). Source – Point Topic.

In Q3 2019, East Asia came second in terms of growth in fixed broadband subscribers with a quarterly increase of 3 per cent and China being a main driver, with 3.42 per cent quarterly growth. Asia-Other followed with 2.4 per cent growth this quarter due to strong increase recorded in Saudi Arabia (6.7 per cent), Nepal (6.2 per cent), Indonesia (5.6 per cent), Philippines (3.8 per cent) and Vietnam (3.6 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 and population penetration. Source: Point Topic.

Technology trends

Between Q3 2019 and Q2 2019, the market share of fibre connections in the total fixed broadband subscribers continued to grow – it went up by 3.5 per cent globally. The share of cable-based subscriptions also increased by 1.27 per cent. The share of copper-based subscriptions (ADSL) continued to deteriorate and fell by 2.11 per cent.

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

Direct fibre connections continue to grow at high rates. In Q3 2019, 70 per cent of global FTTH net additions came from China which saw a 4 per cent quarterly growth in FTTH connections (18 per cent growth in 12 months to the end of Q3 2019).  Belgium, Thailand, Ireland and Brazil among others saw significant FTTH quarterly growth rates – 25 per cent, 22 per cent, 21 per cent and 19 per cent respectively. Meanwhile, VDSL growth rates were mainly in single figures this quarter only with Puerto Rico experiencing 11 per cent growth.

Figure 9. Quarterly growth of FTTH subscribers. Source: Point Topic.


Figure 10. Changes in fixed broadband technology market shares by region.

In terms of annual changes, between Q3 2018 and Q3 2019 the number of copper lines globally fell by 7.7per cent, while FTTH connections increased by 18.5 per cent and FTTx by 2.5 per cent (Figure 11). 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 11. 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 12). China is approaching half a billion of fixed broadband subscribers and continues to record the largest broadband net adds globally (Figure 13).


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

Figure 13. Country ranking by broadband net additions. 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.