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Mobile internet access in Europe and OECD countries — over 100x price difference inside the EU
"[Digital Fuel Monitor] Research shows that users pay up to ten times more to use their smartphones in those Member States where there is no challenger to the big European operators" Joaquín Almunia, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Competition Policy, 2013

Mobile internet access is the prime fuel of the “mobile-first and cloud-first” world. Competitively priced, anytime, anywhere mobile internet access is an essential input to all data-volume heavy mobile cloud storage, cloud computing and media streaming applications.

Technology innovation (LTE-Advanced, 5G, small cells), new radio spectrum bands (700 MHz), net neutrality regulation, mergers, new entrants, network sharing, MVNO deals, telco provisioned mobile video and cloud services, Google's and Facebook's zero-rating platforms – major, often disruptive market changes that may potentially incentivise operators to increase or decrease competition in provisioning open mobile internet access. Volume caps and provisioned speeds may go up. Though, practical experience shows that they often tend to go down.

Extensive empirical data sets (updated 2x a year): Scroll down this page to browse interactive charts benchmarking the competitiveness (prices, data caps, performance, consumption, adoption, zero-rating) of mobile internet access across countries. Click the map, the chart data points or the buttons on the left and right hand side to load the page of a specific operator group or country.

Thought provoking analysis & insights (several times a month): In addition to the raw empirical data sets on prices, data caps and other competitiveness metrics, Digital Fuel Monitor regularly releases in depth research notes to its premium subscribers. The research notes are focusing on the intersection of market, radio spectrum, technology, competition and vertical integration aspects of mobile internet access.
Monitoring competitiveness from the Finnish perspective
The Digital Fuel Monitor service is managed by the Finnish boutique management consultancy Rewheel that specialises into advising European operators, investors and regulators on competitive mobile internet-centric business models, spectrum auctions and infrastructure investments. The Finnish telecom and media regulatory authority as well as some leading Finnish mobile operators are premium subscripers of Digital Fuel Monitor.

Finland has among the lowest mobile internet usage prices, the highest mobile data consumption per capita (over ten times higher than Germany's), the highest mobile broadband population penetration, as well as among the fastest mobile broadband networks and best 4G/LTE coverage. All mobile operators in Finland abide by strict net neutrality principles: operators do not apply vertical price-discriminations.

The extensive traffic growth on Finnish 4G network is driven by the “migration of televisual and music services from television sets and music players to tablets and mobile phones” (link).

Despite the mass-affordable open mobile internet offers and very heavy mobile data traffic the Finnish telecom sector generates healthy returns for its investors (16% ROCE for the market leader operator).
Smartphone internet access speeds
Smartphone internet access prices
Data-only internet access prices
Mobile internet access market adoption
Country & operator price ranking
Research note highlights
A critical look into the uncertain future of open mobile internet access in Europe
This report has been commissioned by Viestintävirasto, the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority
May 2014
Read on »
Media coverage highlights
Reducing Wireless Competition in Europe
The New York Times (editorial)
Further media appearances
MNO consolidation in Germany, lessons learned in the Austrian merger
ECTA Regulatory Conference 2013, Brussels
[December 2013]
Mobile merger increases prices in Austria
[September 2013]
EU27 cost disparities
ECTA Conference 'Single Market for Telecoms', Brussels
[June 2013]
An open letter to the Minister of Development of Greece
Ekathimerini, in Greek
[March 2013]
Finland's leading financial newspaper, has selected Rewheel as the 3rd most successful consulting firm in Finland.
Kauppalehti, full interview in the February 5th printed edition
[February 2013]
Top 1% of Mobile Users Consume Half of World’s Bandwidth
The New York Times / International Herald Tribune
[January 2012]
Chairing and network economics workshop
IIR Mobile Data Offloading Conference, Berlin
[June 2011]
Timelines For LTE in Turkey
Eurasia Com 2011
[January 2011]
Telecoms Cost Allocation & Profitability Analysis Conference
IIR Conference, London
[September 2010]
Opening analyst note and Data pricing strategy workshop at
Mobile Broadband World 2010, London
[September 2010]
Nokia's wireless modem business has been hurt by Chinese competition
The New York Times / International Herald Tribune
[July 2010]
Mobile data business case workshop
WiMAX Global Congress 2010, Amsterdam
[June 2010]
Reuters Factbox on LTE
[February 2010]
TeliaSonera's LTE deal
[January 2010]
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