The latest figures published by the National Statistics Office (NSO) show that the use of mobile telephony continue to increase at a fast rate, at the expense of fixed-line telephony.
In releasing figures for the first quarter (January-March) of this year, NSO said that as at the end of March subscriptions to all forms of communication technology, except for fixed telephony, registered increases when compared to 2011. Mobile telephone subscriptions advanced by 15.1 per cent.
During the first quarter this year, broadband subscriptions grew by 5.8 per cent reaching 130,189. No active narrowband (dial-up) internet or broadband subscriptions of less than 144 kbps were recorded. There was also a sharp rise in subscriptions with bandwidths greater than 10 Mbps, while broadband internet connections between 2 Mbps and 10 Mbps decreased by 35.4 per cent, as a result of the fact that users had higher Internet speeds.
This confirms the EU Digital Agenda Scoreboard assessment on Malta earlier this week, which commented that Malta is above EU average in terms of quantity and quality of Internet broadband use.
Fixed telephone subscriptions totalled 228,406, down by 5.9 per cent over quarter 1 of 2011. In the first three months of this year total fixed originating minutes to national and international networks went down by 0.1 and 20.3 per cent respectively.
Mobile telephone subscriptions reached 521,764, up by 15.1 per cent when compared to the previous year. Increases were recorded in both post-paid and pre-paid schemes. The mobile penetration rate per 100 persons amounted to 124.1 per cent, implying that a considerable number of users have more than one mobile line.
Increases were recorded in local originating mobile traffic, both towards fixed and mobile telephone networks - 11.5 and 28.0 respectively. An increase was registered in all outbound roaming activities. In contrast, inbound roaming activities decreased by 13.7 per cent in total outgoing minutes, while total incoming visitor minutes rose by 17.1 per cent compared with the corresponding quarter last year.
Television subscriptions numbered 146,231, edging up 0.3 per cent over 2011. Digital subscriptions dominated the market with a share of 93.5 per cent, the rest being analogue subscriptions (mainly cable TV) which continue to decline quarter on quarter.
Total postal traffic amounted to almost 10.5 million items, decreasing by 0.6 per cent when compared to the corresponding quarter in 2011. Total parcels and other items were recorded at 21,326 - a decrease of 7 per cent when compared to last year. Items received and dispatched by couriers totalled 152,633 - up by 8.1 per cent when compared to the corresponding quarter last year, NSO said.