29 October 2003

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Malta increasingly connected to digital world, figures reveal

By David Lindsay
Figures released by the National Statistics Office yesterday show that Malta is becoming more and more connected to the digital world with each passing month.
Evidencing this is the fact that Internet subscriptions have gone up 22 per cent, live mobile subscriptions have risen by 15.1 per cent, satellite dish use has grown by 21.9 per cent and the new Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) telephone services have grown by a staggering 112.7 per cent.
Over this year’s second quarter, between April and June, the number of Internet subscriptions in Malta rose by 22 per cent, or 12,964 and reached a grand total of 71,404. Now 17.9 per cent of the population is connected to the world wide web, as compared to just 14.8 a year earlier.
In June this year, the number of mobile subscriptions reached a peak of 275,156, representing an increase of 36,034 or 15.1 per cent over the same quarter last year.

As of the end of June, mobile phone subscriptions rose to no less than 69.1 per cent. Moreover, this data has been revised in order to consider only the actual live subscriptions rather than the existing or previously used mobile numbers.
With the liberalisation of the international telephony came a number of companies offering VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) international telephone connectivity. Statistics collected from firms having VOIP service reveal that as at the close of June 2,386,431 minutes were consumed, up from 1,106,549 minutes from March 2003. With its 112.7 per cent increase, the sector is growing rapidly, raking in an estimated (at 3c per minute) revenue for the period of Lm71,600.
Cable television subscriptions edged upwards slightly by 2.2 per cent to 95,107 when compared to 93,039 of last year’s second quarter. As such the ratio of cable subscriptions per 100 population rose to 23.9 from 23.5 a year ago. However, a comparison between June 2003 and March 2003 point to a decrease of 1,133 subscriptions.
At the same time, the number of satellite receiver licenses went up by 2,876 to 16,031 in June 2003, or 21.9 per cent when compared to the second quarter last year. Four per cent of the population now watch television by means of a satellite receivers.
However, decreases of 7.7 per cent and 12.5 per cent were noted in pager subscriptions and in the number of two-way radio licenses respectively.
Figures also show there are a total of 175 public coin phones, 1,685 public card phones and 207,694 working exchange phone lines.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
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