Fixed and mobile ultra-fast network rankings

Paris, 10 July 2014 – To mark the start of the 8th annual Assises du Très Haut Débit symposium, IDATE is releasing its ranking of countries that lead the way in ultra-fast fixed and mobile broadband subscriber numbers, in Europe and worldwide. An analysis and data culled directly from IDATE’s freshly updated FTTx and LTE global market watch, which examines hundreds of countries and operators.

Growing disparities in fixed ultra-fast broadband

At the end of 2013, ultra-fast broadband (UFB) access – i.e. with a throughput equal to or above 30 Mbps – represented 29% of all broadband connections worldwide. This marks real progress as the percentage stood at 22% just one year ago. FTTH/B is still the mostly widely deployed technology, accounting for 60% of UFB subscribers around the globe, followed by cablecos’ FTTx/D3.0 systems, which account for 29% of users, and VDSL for 11%.

In terms of subscriber numbers, all UFB architectures combined, the United States is by far the global leader with 62.5 million subscribers at the end of 2013, compared to 42.4 million for China and 27 million for Japan. France is in seventh place with more than 2 million subscribers. Of course this ranking changes depending on the indicators that are taken into consideration, such UFB subscribers’ share of a country’s total broadband customer base. Here South Korea tops the ranks, ahead of the United States, Japan and China, with 66% – versus 64% for Japan, 60% for the United States and 22% for China.

As to the technologies deployed, the US is the undisputed VDSL market leader with some 11 million subscribers, well ahead of the UK and its 2.1 million subscribers. The United States is also the world’s biggest FTTx/D3.0 market, with 42 million subscribers, again ahead of the UK which is home to 3.1 million subscribers, followed by Spain where competition between FTTH/B and FTTx/D3.0 is fierce.

Accelerate 4G rollouts

Meanwhile, LTE also continues to make tremendous strides. IDATE counts close to 212 million LTE subscribers around the world at the end of 2013, of which 190 million are located in just 10 countries. The revenue generated by these subscriptions tripled in 2013, to reach €68 billion or 6% of global mobile telephony revenue.

The United States is the biggest LTE market with more than 100 million subscribers, or three times more than the number two market, Japan. France is in sixth place in terms of user numbers.

There are several reasons for these huge disparities: telcos in the United States have far outspent their European counterparts on LTE rollouts (virtually double the Capex per capita), while in Japan and South Korea LTE is part of a strong ongoing industrial policy. Here, it is worth remembering that South Korea covered its entire population with LTE in just one year.

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Source: IDATE, World FTTx market, June 2014

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