03 November 2004

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VOIP calling card use surges nearly 50 per cent

Statistics released by the National Statistics Office yesterday show Malta’s number of internet and mobile phone subscriptions are on the constant rise, while Voice Over Internet Protocol calling cards have made significant market headway over this year’s third quarter.
Between July and August this year, VOIP minutes consumed amounted to 6.1 million, nearly a 50 per cent rise over the period last year, which saw 4.4 million being consumed.
The figure outstretches that of international phone calls made from Maltacom fixed landlines, which, for the same period, saw 3.8 international minutes being consumed.
Mobile phone subscriptions also passed the 300,000 mark for the first time over the quarter and amounted to just short of 304,000, rising 8.2 per cent over figures for the same quarter last year. The figure translates into 75.8 per cent of the population owning a mobile phone line. The number of contract based mobile telephone subscriptions reached 22,895, an increase of 4.7 per cent over the second quarter this year, while the number of card plan mobile telephone subscriptions reached 281,085, increasing by 2.4 per cent.
Mobile phone calls to mobile networks amounted to over 31.3 million minutes, while those to fixed lines amounted to around 9.7 million minutes – a respective seven and 19.5 per cent increase over the previous quarter. SMS and MMS use were both up by a respective 6.2 and 18.5 per cent, while 26,093 minutes of WAP services were used.
Fixed telephone subscriptions indices dropped by 0.8 per cent, with the number of minutes used in fixed line telephony on local calls declining by around 20.7 million or 8.8 per cent when compared to the second quarter this year. Most of the recorded drop was in the use of residential fixed telephone lines for local calls, while a drop of over one million minutes, or 1.8 per cent, was registered in use of business fixed line telephones for local calls.
The amount of minutes taken up by international calls from fixed line telephones decreased by 6.9 per cent in the third quarter this year when compared to the previous quarter, while the number of international calls from fixed telephone lines decreased by nine per cent when compared to the second quarter this year.
The internet subscriptions index rose by 17.4 per cent over the period, while in absolute terms the number of subscriptions grew to 85,672 over the quarter. The figures represent 21.3 per cent of the population having internet subscriptions. The number of narrow band and broad band subscriptions reached 53,640 and 32,032 respectively.
In the period under review the satellite dish licenses indices showed a drop of 22.9 per cent from the previous year, indicating 3.1 per cent of the population owns a satellite dish. Cable television subscriptions, on the other hand, 1.9 per cent, amounting to 25.1 per cent of the population.

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