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Mobile phone users talking more, sending less SMSs
Decline in SMS traffic possibly due to a fall in the price of placing a mobile call or more advantageous offers by local operators for improved minute allowances
15 January 2016, 10:25am
Not only are mobile subscribers making more calls, but they are spending more time per call. In contrast, they are making less use of the SMS facility. In fact, the number of SMSs recorded in the third quarter of 2015 was down by 7.5% (or by 9.5 million) than recorded during the same period a year earlier.
Looking at this decline in SMS traffic and the increase in the number of calls and minutes, the MCA said this was possibly due to a fall in the price of placing a mobile call or more advantageous offers by local operators, in terms of, for example, improved minute allowances. In fact, another positive trend in the take-up of mobile telephony is related to post-paid subscriptions, which increased by 10% during the period under review, as opposed to a fall of 2% in pre-paid subscriptions.
The mobile telephony sector continues to exhibit a solid performance, with subscriptions and voice traffic volumes growing at a strong pace.
At the end of September 2015, mobile subscriptions stood at 567,607. This figure exceeds national population figures, meaning that there are 1.3 active subscriptions for every person in Malta. The number of mobile calls and minutes consumed increased by 5% (increase of 6.7 million) and 9.4% (increase of 17.1 million) respectively.
With the rising popularity of mobile voice telephony services, the fixed telephony sector recorded further declines both in terms of subscriptions and usage. These subscriptions fell by 1.5%, whilst voice traffic volumes were down by 5% (almost 2 million) in terms of voice calls and by 4.2% (almost 6 million) in terms of voice call minutes. Despite such declines, people still maintain this service at home and their business premises.
Positive trends were recorded in most broadband indicators, with the overall number of subscriptions increasing at a very strong rate year-on-year, particularly for products offering higher speeds.
Total subscriptions increased by 6.7%, on the back of higher take-up of products with download speeds of 30Mbps or higher. In fact, subscriptions to broadband services with download speeds lower than 30Mbps declined by 7.3%. This decline was however offset by significant increases in subscriptions to higher broadband speeds.
Subscriptions to broadband services with speeds of 30Mbps but less than 100Mbps increased by 17.9% (14,228 subscriptions), however the highest increase was recorded in subscriptions to speeds of 100Mbps or more, which registered a growth of 109.6% (from 1,056 subscriptions at the end of September 2014 to 2,213 at the end of September 2015).
Whilst the number of pay TV subscriptions at the end of Q3 2015 was down by 1,039 compared to the end of Q3 2014, 800 disconnections (almost 77% of the total) are attributed to the analogue pay TV platform, which is no longer commercially available.
The number of digital pay TV services was down only marginally, as strong take-up of IPTV almost countered the fall in take-up of digital cable and digital terrestrial (DTTV). IPTV has in fact registered strong growth, with subscriptions for this service increasing by 65% to reach 17,532 subscriptions by the end of September 2015.
Whilst the overall number of postal items delivered in the third quarter of 2015 declined by 2.2% compared to the same period a year earlier, it is important to note the positive effects of eCommerce activity for the sector. Increased activity on the eCommerce front has resulted in a significant increase of 30.5% (or 28,280) in parcel mail volumes, although this increase was not sufficient to offset declines in other postal mail activities.
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.
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