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The selection process for the market's third operator was a spectacle to behold
For those of you not familiar with Point Topic’s Free Analysis, I suggest you check out its global broadband tariffs charts, which it updates quarterly.
The most recent numbers for Q4 show that the Asia-Pacific region has the lowest average cost per megabit for standalone broadband service (copper, cable and fiber) in the world next to western Europe.
APAC users pay just 70 cents on average for a megabit over fiber compared to 49 cents in western Europe and the UK -- that’s just about a third of what US consumers pay ($1.47). For cable the gap is almost as wide: the rate per 1 MB in Asia Pacific is 91 cents vs $1.69 in the US and just 63 cents in Europe/UK. And with copper, while the divide is narrower between APAC ($5.31) and the US ($6.40), Europe is still more than half the US price ($2.73).
Author Oliver Johnson says, “once again we can see costs in the US are still relatively high”. Talk about an understatement!
He explains the fairly obvious: “What it really comes down to is what the market will bear. The cost of bundles in the US reflects the consumers’ willingness to pay for a particular combination of content and service and has been built up over time. Other markets are less conditioned to paying such a proportion of consumer income on video content in particular.
“Another factor is competition, particularly at the service level.”
He hits the nail on the head there.
Looking at specific regions and countries, the rates per megabit in South and East Asia are more than double the APAC average -- $12.91 for copper, $2.93 for cable and $1.59 for fiber.
Point Topic’s benchmark of 90 countries lists Vietnam second to last (ahead of Bolivia) with an average monthly subscription of $213 (in PPP terms) for residential broadband services (bundles and standalone, all broadband technologies). Thailand is seventh ($159), with India at $107 and Indonesia and the Philippines both at $105. The US is marginally above that level ($89), ranking 58th globally.
China is the least expensive in Asia ($49), followed by Taiwan ($50) and Hong Kong ($65). Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore are between $70 and $78.
To be fair, the US is far from the most expensive market. Rates in the Middle East and Africa are three times higher for copper and more than twice the price of fiber while surprisingly cable is lower (just $1.38 vs $1.69).
Latin America is slightly higher than MEA for copper ($24.66 vs $19.88), more than double for cable ($3.19 vs $1.38 in MEA), but at the US level ($1.44) for fiber.