22 March 2006

The Web
Business Today

Millions of SMSs mark mobile telephony growth

With over 35 million text messages registered in only one month, mobile telephony has made impressive inroads on the islands which put the Maltese among the highest European cellular phone users.
Figures for January released by the National Statistics Office show that in that month, 35.6 million SMSs were registered, together with 67,307 MMSs and 17,690 WAPs.
By January, 82 per cent of the population had a mobile phone, or 326,446 individual in absolute terms, with the absolute majority of them having card-plan subscriptions – 299,131 – as opposed to the 27,315 having contract-based subscriptions.
In a separate study carried by the Malta Communications Authority in 2004 about consumer perceptions survey, 68 per cent said they had a mobile while 29 per cent said replied they did not have and had no intention of getting one. Asked if they considered SMS to be a good substitute for mobile calls, 29 per cent said “very often” and another 23 per cent replied “always”.
Last January’s figures reveal business for the mobile telephone companies was even better than expected less than two years ago, with around 13 million minutes consumed in mobile telephone networks. Minutes used in fixed-line telephony on local calls amounted to around 61million, with some 43 million minutes from residential subscriptions and the rest from businesses premises subscriptions. The international fixed-telephony traffic comprised 569,196 calls, equivalent to around 3 million minutes, while VOIP minutes were estimated at 5.5 million.
In the 2004 survey, only 5 per cent said they had their mobile paid by the company they worked with and the largest number of respondents had said they spent Lm5 or less using their mobile every month.
Of those having mobile phones, 13 per cent had reported in the 2004 survey to have switched operator, with 31 per cent of them citing cheaper prices as the reason for changing. More than half of them – 56 per cent – said it was easy to change mobile company, and 32 per cent said it was very easy.
Internet subscriptions last January registered an insignificant growth over the previous month, with the rate of internet subscriptions reaching 22 per 100 persons. Narrowband subscribers amounted to 46,760 while broadband had 42,339 subscribers. Cable television subscriptions stand at 25.4 per 100 persons.

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Editor: Kurt Sansone
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