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Internet phone calls getting popular in European homes

European Commission - IP/08/1049   27/06/2008

Other available languages: FR DE DA ES NL IT SV PT FI EL CS ET HU LT LV MT PL SK SL BG RO

IP/08/1049

Brussels, 27 June 2008

Internet phone calls getting popular in European homes

An EU-wide survey of 27,000 households has revealed the emergence of new consumption patterns in telecoms services in Europe. Technological progress and competition have brought more choice to European consumers; 24% of households have given up their fixed telephone in favour of mobile phones while 22% of them are using their computer from home to make phone calls over the Internet. In an increasing number of Member States, European households are using wireless access to connect to the Internet, via mobile or satellite networks. Meanwhile, 29% of European households buy bundled telecoms and media packages, an increase of nearly 10% since last year. Nevertheless, the top priority for consumers in this fast evolving environment remains the quality of services.

Here are the key findings of the third EU-wide household survey published by the European Commission today:

  • Users are increasingly switching from fixed to mobile phones with around 24% of EU 27 households just using mobile. The proportion is significantly higher in the new Member States (39%) than in the EU 15 (20%), with the exception of Finland (61%) and Portugal (48%). In some Member States this increase is accompanied by an increased use of wireless access to the Internet via the mobile phone network or satellite (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and Italy).
  • 22% of European households with Internet connections now use their PC for making phone calls. This figure is twice as large in Latvia (58%), Lithuania (51%), Czech Republic (50%), Poland (49%) and Bulgaria (46%).
  • 29% of European households buy two or more telecom and media products from a single service provider (an increase of 9% since winter 2007), the combination of fixed telephony and Internet access being the most common.
  • Almost half of European households have access to the Internet (49%) and an increasing majority enjoy a broadband connection (36% of EU 27, an increase of 8% since winter 2007). Most connected households access the Internet via an ADSL line (59%, an increase of 4% compared to last year). The main reason quoted for not having an access at home remains the lack of interest in Internet (50% of respondents).
  • 22% of European households have difficulty contacting their Internet service provider about connection problems. A similar number said the cost of the support they get is not affordable.
  • One in four mobile users is not always able to connect to the mobile network to make a phone call. 28% are sometimes cut off.
  • More households are receiving digital terrestrial television: an increase of 5% since winter 2007 to now 12% of EU 27 households. The share of households with analogue television reception via an aerial has fallen from 45% to 41%.
  • One in ten EU households receives television by more than one means (aerial, cable, satellite, Internet). The figure is even higher in France (25% of households), UK (22%), Italy (19%), Sweden (19%), and Cyprus (16%).

Background:

This survey was conducted with a sample of 27,000 representative households from 27 countries, from November to December 2007.

A reform of EU Telecoms rules, presented by the Commission in November 2007 (see IP/07/1677, IP/07/1678, MEMO/07/458), is currently being discussed in the European Parliament and the Council.

The full text of the EU-wide household survey can be found at:

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/ecomm/library/ext_studies/index_en.htm

For more information on last year's survey:

IP/07/582

Annex

Penetration rates for key telecom services


Average EU 27 households Winter 2008
Average EU 27 households Winter 2007
% change EU 27 Winter 2008 / Winter 2007
Overall telephone access (fixed and/ or mobile)
95%
95%
0%
Mobile telephone access1
83%
81%
+2%
Fixed telephone access
70%
72%
-2%
Both fixed and mobile telephone access
57%
58%
-1%
Mobile but no fixed telephone access
24%
18%
+4%
Fixed but no mobile telephone access
14%
15%
-1%
Broadband internet access
36%
28%
+8%
DSL access
29%
22%
+7%
Cable-modem access
7%
6%
+1%
Television
96%
97%
-1%
Aerial
41%
45%
-4%
Cable-TV
34%
35%
+1%
Satellite
22%
21%
-1%
Digital Terrestrial TV
12%
7%
+5%

1 Note: The EU mobile telephone access rate per household is lower than the penetration rate per capita because of multiple mobile access (prepaid/postpaid) within a same household which only count as one when measured at a household level.


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