Finnish operator DNA said a recent report by the research company Tefficient showed that DNA carried 9.9 GB of data per subscription per month in the period from January through September 2016. Overall, Finns are the world’s biggest users of mobile data, ranking first as a nation for the third year in a row, followed by South Korea and Sweden. DNA customers were also the world champions of mobile data use in 2015, when they used almost 6 GB per subscription per month. Jarkoo Laari, Director of Radio Networks at DNA, said the operator’s clients use more mobile internet per month than the combined figures for South Korea and Sweden. Average mobile data use by Finnish customers is 7 GB per month per subscription, according to DNA. There is a clear connection between subscriptions with unlimited data access and high mobile data usage. Laari said one of the noteworthy findings in the report by Tefficient is that Finns use approximately 14 times more data per month than the Dutch. In the Netherlands, the average price of 1 GB is 16 times that of Finland, Laari points out.
Finland, known for its longtime dominance in the mobile device space, has developed quite remarkable data usage habits. Finnish consumption is extremely high—not only the highest in the world in absolute numbers but also dramatically higher than in similarly developed, wealthy European economies such as the Netherlands. We find it noteworthy that the cost of mobile data per GB is much higher in the Netherlands than in Finland; in fact, inversely proportional to the relative consumption levels. This discrepancy could perhaps be accounted for in terms of economies of scale, but it is also important to note that Finland is among the few nations to still have widespread unlimited data usage. In such a market, operators rely on upselling subscribers to higher-speed service as a major element in revenue generation. Judging from the results of the past three years, Finland’s reign as the world champion of data shows no sign of ending. But despite the fact that the country is a special case, one lesson for operators worldwide from the Finnish example may be that the concept of unlimited data could work, under the proper circumstances.