During the course of the more than two pandemic years, the consumption of mobile services has registered a divergent trajectory, especially the download of data, such that in the first year it traced a valley that was left behind in 2021, returning to the upward trend of long term.

As of the second quarter of 2022 (1T-2022), cell phone lines amounted to 133.3 million, 5.3% more in its annual comparison, while the number of mobile broadband accesses (BAM) reached 108.5 million, a figure that represents an annual growth of 4.9%.

This dynamism demonstrates the importance for Mexicans of having permanent and ubiquitous connectivity. Added to this circumstance is the aggressiveness in the offer of mobile services by operators and the trend towards greater mobility of people and the economy that have driven the contracting and consumption of mobile services.

Average consumption of mobile services. The indicator that demonstrates the recovery in relevance due to ubiquity in connectivity is the consumption of mobile data. As of 1Q-2022, it is estimated that mobile users use an average of 5,390 MB per month, considering their evolution in spending on mobile services and the use of data in sponsored applications (‘sponsored data’) or that do not generate extra charges (‘ zero-rating’).

This level is 12.2% higher in its annual comparison and continues the upward trend in mobile data consumption that was traced prior to the pandemic. This increase in traffic and return to the long-term trajectory results from the greater mobility of people and businesses, as well as the partial economic recovery and the growing investment in availability, speed and quality of mobile networks.

In contrast, the use of voice minutes and short messages (SMS) sees a downward ramp since the beginning of last year to average 406 minutes (-10.8%) and 12 SMS (-20.0%), respectively per user mobile. These levels derive precisely from the increase in the use of mobile data to make calls and send voice, text and video communications through instant messaging applications and social networks.

Use of data in the international comparison. Despite the fact that mobile data consumption has returned to its upward trajectory in the last year, it is still far from reaching the average registered by the 37 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The most recent figure published by this organization is 7.4 GB on average per mobile broadband subscription, which places us at a distance of just over 2 GB with respect to this league of countries, without considering the increase that could have shown in recent times. This places us in the last 10 places, in an ordinal list headed by Finland (31.0 GB), Austria (25.8 GB), Latvia (23.0 GB), Lithuania (20.5 GB) and Iceland (16.7 GB).

Undoubtedly, the growing preference for permanent and ubiquitous connectivity has driven the contracting and consumption of mobile data, despite the pandemic and economic crisis. This trend will be driven by the transition to 5G mobile networks that will enable access to internet applications and services with low latency, higher speed and reliability.


Ernest Stones

Managing Director of The Competitive Intelligence Unit

Competitive intelligence

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