Malta smartphone data usage grows, fewer aware of growing spend

Wifi is key in demand pattern for mobile data: 46% say they use free public wifi to access mobile data services

The monthly spend for mobile phone data is increasing every year, yet few smartphone users are really aware of how much more they are spending each year.

Mobile phone usage has increased exponentially, a survey by the Malta Communications Authority has found... nothing less than 99% of all households having a mobile subscription.

Compared to 2017, take-up of mobile telephony was now strongest in the post-paid segment, up from 35% to 41% because of the increased reliance on mobile data services. Indeed, the share of respondents with a smartphone was up from 66% in 2017 to 71% in 2019.

The monthly smartphone spend has increased since 2017, when around 83% of mobile phone subscribers reported a monthly spend of €20. That percentage has fallen to 55% in 2019, where now the share of respondents quoting a monthly spend of up to €49.99 has grown from 10% to 23%. There was a three percentage point rise in the share of subscriptions quoting a ‘€50 or more’ monthly expenditure.

However, a bigger chunk of respondents say they do not know their monthly expenditure, most likely a result of the rising number of respondents on a post-paid subscription, which tends to be paid via direct debit.

Around 55% of respondents with a mobile subscription said they are aware of and use mobile data services, with a  considerable share saying they use such services on a daily basis. The biggest use is for social networking and emailing activities.

Usage of wifi plays a key role in the demand patterns for mobile data services with 46% of mobile data users say they use free public wifi to access mobile data services.