Mobile Broadband in Sweden – Still Growing

Last year, I wrote about the explosive growth of mobile broadband in Sweden. According to the  National Post and Telecom Agency (PTS), which publishes an annual report on the state of the Swedish Telecommunications Market, the number of mobile subscriptions via data plug-in cards or USB modems increased from 92,000 to 376,000 (a growth rate of around 309%) during 2007. The rate of growth in mobile data traffic was even steeper –  total mobile data traffic increased by over 1000% during 2007  (from 203 TB to 2,191 TB).

Well, the PTS has come out with the 2008 report on the Swedish Telecommunications Market highlighting the state of the mobile broadband in Sweden last year. The number of active customers with broadband in Sweden  increased from around 3.156 million to 3.782 million between 2007 and 2008, corresponding to a growth of approximately 20 per cent. Mobile broadband represented 80 per cent of this increase, proving once again that people with dial-up connections are choosing mobile broadband over fixed broadband.

Naturally, mobile broadband traffic continues to grow as the accompanying picture shows – traffic grew from 2191TB to roughly 9TB (a growth rate of over 310%). Sweden_traffic growth_2008

Source: Swedish Post and Telecom Agency (PTS)

But this growth is clearly not generating adequate incremental revenue to the operators – revenue per GB has decreased from SEK 3000 to roughly SEK 200 (SEK 1 = US$0.14), which amounts to US$28 per GB. In an earlier entry, I commented on the profitability of mobile broadband service – I used Informa’s cost estimate of 2-3 Eurocents per MB, or ~20 Euros per GB which translates into ~US$29.5. Clearly, mobile broadband in Sweden is not a profitable service yet. Sweden_revenue_decreaseSource: Swedish Post and Telecom Agency (PTS)

As the accompanying chart demonstrates, most of this traffic is being carried by 3’s network. The average monthly data  per subscription  has increased to 1.8 GB and there was a great variation between the various operators. In particular, 3 is carrying the bulk of this traffic with its average monthly data traffic per subscription as high as 4.5 GB.

Sweden_traffic_increase_operatorsSource: Swedish Post and Telecom Agency (PTS)

Btw, 3 Sweden is the only operator that I have come across that offers different price levels based on the speed of the modem. Three different price levels corresponding to maximum download speeds of 2Mbps, 6Mbps and 10Mbps are being offered – presumably, the choice of modem restricts the maximum download speed. It is an interesting twist to mobile broadband pricing where the predominant model is based on monthly usage quotas and throttling of user traffic once the quota is exceeded.


Filed under mobile broadband

9 responses to “Mobile Broadband in Sweden – Still Growing

  1. Hi. There are other examples where pricing determines speed – see the Malaysian wireless broadband market. See the offers from Celcom and Digi for example

  2. James

    Interesting article. I had a lot of broadband questions so I did some research and this article was really informative as well.

  3. Good round-up and interesting results/graphs

    In my view Mobile Broadband’s sharp growth is not as a result of people choosing mobile broadband over home broadband but as a result of people using mobile to supplement their existing connection. People are becoming ever more reliant on the internet and they love the independence mobile broadband gives you.

  4. I have to agree with Will, a large percentage of mobile broadband users have fixed lines also. I wonder if the take up of mobile broadband subscriptions will slow down as smart phones become better quality and more affordable?
    It is probably a long way off but I can see mobile phones getting good enough to replace mobile broadband as an extra way to connect.

  5. Pingback: Mobile Broadband in Sweden – Still Growing | Telecommunications Internet Blog and Tech News

  6. Interesting how much the price per gb has fallen, and yet vendors are still there. I wonder what margins looked like back in the day when they could fleece people.

  7. What is the guaranteed speed in Swe? In Slovenia I use mobile broadband, but when I exceed 20GB the speed drops to 384kbit/s.

  8. Interesting article.

    I think Simon has a good point about the development of smartphones and someday possibly taking over from mobile broadband. I think this is entirely possible, especially as at this current time you’ve got products like the iphone where you can get on the internet pretty much anywhere and with a good connection speed.

    Keep the articles coming

  9. In Denamrk the picture is the same. An huge increase in mobile broadband has been under development the last 3-4 years

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s