Broadband and telecom

OECD broadband statistics update



Mobile broadband subscriptions grow in OECD area, data usage doubles in 2017


28 June 2018 - High-speed mobile Internet subscriptions grew by 80 million, or 6.1%, in the year to December 2017, taking mobile broadband penetration to over 102% in the OECD area, according to an update to the OECD's broadband portal, now covering 37 countries including Colombia* and Lithuania*.


As of December 2017 there were 1.377 billion mobile broadband subscriptions in a population of 1.344 billion people, equating to 102.4 subscriptions per 100 people. The fastest growth was seen in Greece (24%) followed by Chile (23.4%), Poland (19%) and Belgium (15%). The countries with the highest mobile broadband penetration were Japan, Finland, Estonia and the United States.


Mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, December 2017

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Mobile data usage grew rapidly, more than doubling in the 12 months to end-December 2017 for the 32 countries for which data were available. For those countries (the 37 OECD countries bar Chile, Israel, Poland, Spain and the United States) mobile Internet users downloaded an average of 2.8 GB of data per month per subscription in 2017 compared to 1.3 GB in 2016. The top countries for data usage were Finland (15.5 GB), Austria (11.2 GB), Estonia (7.2 GB) and Latvia 6.7 GB).


Fixed-line broadband subscriptions in OECD countries totalled 408 million as of December 2017, up from 393 million a year earlier and averaged 30.4 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. Switzerland led the pack with a penetration rate of 46.8 subscriptions per 100 people, followed by Denmark (42.9%), France (42.8%), the Netherlands (42.1%) and Korea (41.2%).


DSL remains the prevalent technology, making up 41% of fixed broadband subscriptions, but continues to be gradually replaced by fibre. Fibre now accounts for 23.3% of subscriptions after a 15% jump in subscriptions in the year to December 2017. Cable (32.5%) makes up most of the rest.


Turkey, Australia, Colombia and Italy showed the highest year-on-year growth in fixed broadband penetration, with respective growth rates of 13.6%, 7.4%, 6.9% and 6.6%. New Zealand, Australia and Iceland continued to expand in fixed broadband, with a notable increase in fixed wireless subscriptions over the year of, respectively, 129%, 95% and 63%. Fixed wireless is an affordable way to connect to the Internet in rural or remote areas, and much of this rise was from people taking out their first broadband connection or shifting from DSL to fixed wireless, particularly where fibre connections were not available in areas of lower population density. Meanwhile, Ireland and Colombia saw the highest growth in fibre with a surge of 420% and 168% over the year.


Data on machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, such as for Internet-connected vehicles, show that Sweden, New Zealand, Norway and United States remain the leaders in the number of M2M SIM cards in use per 100 people, with the caveat that data is not yet fully comparable for all countries. Sweden counts 114 M2M SIM cards per 100 inhabitants – a much higher level than most OECD countries that provided data due in part to use of these SIM cards in other countries by a Swedish operator. Overall, M2M/embedded mobile cellular subscriptions grew by over 36% in the last year in countries were the data was available.


The OECD’s broadband statistics cover 37 countries. You can download the underlying data, charts and broadband penetration maps for different countries at

*Note: The OECD last month invited Colombia and Lithuania to become members of the Organisation. Both countries are now included in all OECD totals and historical time series. This means the data for OECD totals and OECD growth rates are not comparable to previously quoted data.

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