It is actually quite shocking to see a comparison of how much mobile data €30 buys you in different countries in Europe. Let’s take a look at two examples: In Germany, according to the statistics of Rewheel and my own experience, €30 buys you around 6 GB with the cheapest network operator and far less with other network operators. On the other end of the scale is Finland where less than €30/month gets you a ‘all you can eat’ flatrate subscription!
Obviously this has a great influence on use. While in Germany the per capita cellular data consumption is less than 1 GB a month, it’s over 16 GB in Finland! In other words, network utilization in Finland is much higher than in Germany. Which makes me wonder what kinds of data rates can be achieved during busy hour!?
It would be nice to go to Finland and have a first hand look but unfortunately I have no trip scheduled to that part of the world anytime soon. For Finland, Omnitele reports decent speeds here, but there is little information on how and under which conditions (e.g. busy hour, at night, etc.) this was measured.
I’ve been to Sweden last year, however, where prices and use are similar as in Finland and while I could get great data speeds during the day I did notice a significant slow down of the network to around 5-6 Mbit/s in the evening in the country side. Whether this was due to local congestion or due to congestion of the roaming link back to Germany is hard to say.
On the other hand, getting decent speeds out of the LTE network in Germany in the country side is also difficult these days for those who have a fixed/mobile access product that combines DSL with the capacity the widely dispersed LTE cells can offer. I’m not sure what the impact is on mobile users in the area. Another interesting thing to investigate.
Rewheel also has a country average capacity utilization graph comparing the utilization of the 5% of the most loaded sectors. I’m a bit skeptical here because as mentioned above, country side base stations are pretty much fully loaded in Germany during busy hour while in their statistics, utilization for Germany is given as 3.3%. Their detailed report probably contains more information about how that is calculated, perhaps they only take data generated from mobile subscriptions into account and leave out fixed/mobile products. As I don’t have the full report I can only speculate.
Does Average Wage In A Country Play A Role?
One might be tempted to think that subscription prices are cheaper in countries where the average wage is lower. However, when looking at their statistics it becomes obvious that this is not the case at all. In fact average wage has absolutely no influence at all! At the low end of the scale, for example, there are countries such as Greece and Germany while at the high end of the scale (unlimited data for less than €30), there are countries such as Finland and the Slovak Republic. In both cases the average wages in the two countries are vastly different.