Broadband and telecom

OECD broadband statistics update


2 August 2016

Mobile broadband penetration in the OECD area has risen to 90.3%, meaning more than nine high-speed wireless Internet subscriptions for every 10 inhabitants, according to data for December 2015 released by the OECD today. The penetration rate was 81.6% in December 2014.

Data for the 35 OECD countries shows Japan has overtaken Finland as broadband leader, with a penetration rate of 138.8% versus 135.4%in Finland. The United States has moved up to fourth from eighth place in the ranking, reflecting a growing demand for video and data in general and increasingly competitive offers.

The addition of 117 million new mobile broadband subscriptions in OECD countries made a year-on-year rise of 11.3%, driven by continued growth in the use of smartphones and tablets, and lifted the OECD total to 1.153 billion subscriptions in a population of 1.27 billion people.

Nine countries (Japan, Finland, Sweden, United States, Denmark, Australia, Estonia, New Zealand and Korea (in descending order of mobile subscriptions per head) now lie above the 100% penetration threshold, up from eight countries a year ago.

Notes: A minor methodology change means Dec 2015 data should be compared with Dec 2014 rather than June 2015 data. Israel, Switzerland and the United States: Data for Dec. 2015 are estimates. Information on data for Israel: Colombia is in the process of accession to the OECD.

Download the Excel data here

Data for fixed-line broadband showed subscriptions in the OECD area reached 371 million as of December 2015, up from 356 million a year earlier and making an average penetration of 29.0%. Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands and France topped the list with 51.9, 42.4%, 41.3% and 40.4% respectively.

DSL now makes up 45.7% of fixed broadband subscriptions as it continues to be gradually replaced by fibre, now accounting for 19.4% of subscriptions, up from 16.2% in December 2014. Cable (32%) made up most of the rest. Japan, Korea and Latvia have the highest shares of fibre in fixed-line broadband at 73%, 71% and 61% respectively.

2015 also saw a jump in the take-up of machine-to-machine communications, with 127 million M2M SIM cards in use by end-year versus 107 million at the end of 2014. Sweden, New Zealand, Norway, Finland and Italy are the leaders in M2M SIM cards per 100 inhabitants, with the caveat that data is not yet fully comparable for all countries. Sweden counts 69 M2M SIM cards per 100 inhabitants – a much higher level than for most other OECD countries that provided data, though not all these devices may be located in Sweden.

The OECD’s broadband statistics cover 35 OECD members plus accession country Colombia. You can download the underlying data, charts and broadband penetration maps for different countries at:


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