Interesting Tidbits from the German Telecoms Regulator Report 2013

A few days ago the German infrastructure regulator (BNetzA) has published its yearly report for 2013. Like every year it contains very interesting information that give a lot of insight, especially when comparing the numbers to previous years. For the moment I've only seen the German version but at some point I'm sure there'll also be an English translation. Here are some of the noteworthy things described in more detail in the report:

Voice and SMS

  • The volume of mobile originated voice calls has reached 100 billion minutes in 2013, up by one billion from the year before.
  • The volume of fixed line calls continues to decline. A total of 169 billion minutes were recorded and out of that, international voice calls accounted for 14%. That's actually surprisingly high for me but shows that the time when nations in Europe were islands is long gone. What I didn't find in the report was the number of international voice minutes from mobile. Due to ridiculously high pricing it's perhaps not even measurable in the percentage range!?
  • For the first time ever, the number of SMS messages sent has fallen. Quite significantly, actually, from 58.9 billion down to 37.9 billion. Quite a steep decline and perhaps similar to what we've seen in Spain a year earlier. WhatsApp and Co. are showing a rather sudden effect.

Data Traffic Volumes

  • The report contains information about fixed and mobile data volume over the year. In fixed line networks, 8 billion GB (8 million TB) of IP traffic was transported (not counting the incumbent's IPTV offer, see page 75 in the report). That amounts to an average of 22 GB per household per month. The 8 billion GB of 2013 compare to 4.3 billion GB in 2012 and 3.7 billion GB in 2011. Quite an incredible and sudden increase compared to the previous years.
  • On the mobile side, 267 million GB (=0.267 billion GB) were transferred, i.e. only 1/30 of the fixed line data volume. The YoY rise was 70% and thus the rise was higher than the 56% and 53% in the previous two years. I wonder how much that has to do with network operators offering LTE as fixed line alternative in rural areas where ADSL is not available.

Revenues, Employment and Investment

  • Revenues: There's been a slight decline, about 50/50 share between fixed and wireless in the order of 25 billion Euros each in 2013.
  • Number of employees in the telecom sector: The downward trend continues, down by 3000 to 170.000 (compared to 230.000 ten years ago).
  • Infrastructure Investments: 6.4 billion Euros, about the same as in the previous 5 years and somewhat less than the 7.1 and 7.2 billion Euros that were spend in 2007 and 2008. Keep this in mind next time you hear a telecom exec complain about rising or neck breaking investment costs.