Latin America is the most expensive region for mobile broadband data and showing the world's widest price gap between capped and uncapped fixed-line broadband packages.

Latin America is the most expensive region for mobile broadband data and showing the world's widest price gap between capped and uncapped fixed-line broadband packages.

According to Quantum-Web's 2012 fourth quarter tariff monitoring service, Latin America is the world's most expensive region for broadband access with an average monthly tariff of €54.74 for fixed broadband and €17 per GB data for mobile broadband data. Europe and Asia Pacific are the least expensive areas for fixed and mobile broadband regions with €28.01 per month and €8.8 per GB of data respectively. 

Fixed Broadband

Our 2012 fourth quarter tariff monitoring study found no big price gaps between packages with limited (capped) or unlimited (uncapped) monthly data allowances across different region except in Latin America. This is because operators can't afford the risk of losing customers by putting a cap on data allowances in order to monetise the traffic on their network.  

It is clear that operators are trying to increase their revenues by offering faster broadband access via FTTC, VDSL and DSL vectoring on the one hand and aggressively promoting upgrades from stand-alone packages to bundled packages on the other.

Finally, we observed no big shifts in the fixed broadband pricing strategy adopted by operators during the last quarter of 2012. It is becoming common practice for operators to offer stand-alone services (entry level) with limited monthly data allowances and encouraging customers to upgrade their customers to take out faster and uncapped broadband services.

This research also shows that the price gap between limited (capped) and unlimited monthly data allowance (uncapped) of packages in different continents varies in relation to a series of factors: International bandwidth, incumbent or major operators' main technology/ies and market share, degree of competiveness between fixed and mobile broadband and regulatory authority's approach towards the marketplace.

For instance the global average price gap between capped and uncapped residential standalone fixed broadband tariffs is around €5.60 and this varies region by region.

North America and Africa are the only regions where capped packages are more expensive than the uncapped ones.

In the US and Canada, there is fierce competition between cable broadband and xDSL operators to offer broadband services; and, since cable operators are traditionally reluctant to offer unlimited data packages to subscribers, there are only few operators who offer uncapped standalone broadband services and that reflects in overall pricing of stand-alone tariffs on the continent.

In Africa, the majority of telecom operators apply the mobile data pricing policy by imposing limitations on the monthly data allowance on fixed broadband services. This policy also mirrors the limitation of international bandwidth across the continent.

Europe with the world's highest broadband penetration also offers the world's cheapest fixed broadband tariffs.

Topping the European list are Romania and Belarus with €6.41 and €9.44 respectively being the lowest average broadband prices in Europe. Faroe Islands and Malta where the average national broadband tariffs are €47.46 and €42.82 are the most expensive countries in Euope.*

*Slovenia and Norway have been excluded from our country comparison prices as outliers. This is due to the high cost of a handful of broadband packages which skewed the national average tariffs.

Mobile Broadband

On the mobile broadband front, following the launch of LTE in almost 22 of 102 countries monitored in the fourth quarter of 2012 by Quantum-Web, mobile broadband headlines are more about connection speed rather than traffic, bundled packages or value added services.

Telecom operators are mainly focused on the rollout of LTE and competition between operators enables mobile broadband subscribers to benefit somewhat these low tariffs for the service.

The findings show that global average of mobile broadband data costs €11.3 per GB. In Latin America this cost stands at €17 per GB, representing the most expensive region while  Asia Pacific with around half of the Latin America's average at €8.8 per is the least expensive region for mobile broadband data.

Europe is the second least expensive region where data costs €10.1 per GB followed by the Middle East, Africa and North America.

The most competitive mobile broadband market in Europe has been identified as Belarus. Beltelecom, the Belarusian incumbent offers a 2/3G data packages named "Mobile Express" with a monthly traffic allowance of 5 GB day traffic and 5GB night traffic at €7.5 (Excluding VAT). This is the cheapest mobile data package in Europe.

Belgacom, the Belgian incumbent's "Start" with 50MB monthly data allowance at €4.12 (Excluding VAT) is the most expensive mobile data package in Europe.

In absolute terms, the best value mobile broadband data package is offered by the Moldavian incumbent Moldtelecom "Connect 175" and the most expensive is the Canadian Telcos Rogers, "Flex rate plan LTE" charging €3.75 for 10MB data. By comparison, Verizon Wireless, the world's largest LTE operator with "10GB shared Data", works out at €4.50 per GB.

The fourth quarter 2012 tariff monitoring service is based on an extensive research by harvesting over 3500 tariff packages of some 299 operators across 102 countries.

Quantum-Web uses a variety of econometric models, statistical techniques and in-depth market behavioural analysis to provide comprehensive market intelligence in telecoms and the media industry.

For more information about the findings of this press release and Broadband Tariffs Database or Quarterly Broadband Tracker contact Qmars Safikhani, Head of Analytical Research at Quantum-Web  +44 (0) 20 3286 9570 or  qs@quantum-web.com