Mobile connection to internet
- Data from December 2016. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned update of the article: March 2019
This article presents statistics on the information and communication technologies (ICT) used by enterprises in the European Union (EU). Use of information and communication technologies (ICT), and in particular new ways of accessing and using the internet efficiently, is driving the way that enterprises run their business and organise e-commerce.
- 1 Main statistical findings
- 2 Data sources and availability
- 3 Context
- 4 See also
- 5 Further Eurostat information
- 6 External links
Main statistical findings
- In 2016, nine out of ten enterprises in the 28 EU Member States had access to and used the internet through a fixed or mobile broadband connection, and more than two thirds of all enterprises used a mobile connection and provided staff with portable devices for business use.
- With portable devices European enterprises could offer their staff more "ubiquitous connectivity" exploiting a wide range of existing technologies, from wireless "hot spots" in public locations, to internet access over mobile telephone networks.
- In 2016, some 44 % of the enterprises providing portable devices said they were to be used with dedicated business software applications over the internet, e.g. for sales management. The most common use of mobile devices for business purposes was however to access the e-mail system of the enterprise (86 %).
Internet access (2016 survey)
Internet access and use of broadband technologies reaching saturation
The percentage of EU enterprises that have internet access and use fixed or mobile broadband internet connections seems to have reached saturation level in 2016 (at 97 % and 94 % respectively) with a small increase (+2 percentage points each) compared to 2012. The share of enterprises that have internet access was similar in most countries. In 2016, in 21 out of 28 EU countries 96 % or more of enterprises reported having internet access. The lowest shares were reported by enterprises in Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia and Romania (91 %, 88 %, 91 % and 84 % respectively).
Business use of portable devices (2016 survey)
Portable devices provided to persons employed
In 2016, 69 % of enterprises in the EU provided staff with portable devices that allowed a mobile connection to the internet for business use (Table 1).
More than nine out of ten large enterprises (94 %) provided their staff with portable devices that allowed a mobile connection to the internet for business use. The share for small and medium-sized enterprises was 66 % and 83 % respectively.
The main business use of portable devices was mobile access to e-mail
Concerning the purpose and the deployment of portable devices for accessing the internet over telephone networks, respondents were given various options, reflecting two important issues: firstly, the level of security required for accessing and using the internet via portable devices; secondly, the usage of dedicated or customised business software applications e.g. for sales management, enterprise resource planning or customer relationship management.
With reference to restricted access requiring specific access rights but not the use of dedicated business software, 86 % of enterprises used portable devices to access the enterprise’s e-mail and 50 % to access and amend documents. In particular, access to the enterprise’s e-mail was common among enterprises scoring above 80 % in all economic sectors except in retail trade. Some 44 % of enterprises reported that portable devices were used over the internet via mobile telephone networks for dedicated business applications that additionally required specific user access rights.
Obstacles limiting the use of portable devices (2012 survey)
Problems with connectivity and high operating costs were the main obstacles limiting the use of portable devices for mobile internet connection
Important obstacles may limit or prevent enterprises from using portable devices effectively for mobile connection to the internet. Indeed, enterprises may consider a range of technical or non-technical, internal or external issues that may need to be addressed.
Some 21 % of all EU enterprises reported connectivity problems to mobile telephone networks (e.g. low speed, poor or no telephone network signal) as a limitation. High costs for the subscription or use of the internet over telephone networks were also an obstacle for 21 %. Some 17 % of enterprises expressed concerns about security-related risks such as interception of data resulting in disclosure of information, or the destruction or corruption of data. Technical obstacles or high costs for integrating mobile connection to the internet in the enterprise’s existing business applications were reported as a limitation by 17 %.
Some 12 % of enterprises reported other obstacles that may broadly concern a lack of skills or knowledge, adaptability to new working practices or legal barriers. While 49 % of all EU enterprises did not consider any of the above obstacles, 30 % reported at least one obstacle that limited or prevented the business use of portable devices for a mobile telephone connection to the internet.
To a certain extent, respondents' views of the obstacles vary according to enterprises' size. Small enterprises see connectivity problems and high costs for subscription or use of the internet as the main limitations (20 % and 21 % respectively). Large enterprises see connectivity problems and security-related risks as more important (29 % and 26 % respectively).
Data sources and availability
Data presented in this publication are based on the results of the 2016 and 2012 European Union survey on ‘ICT usage and e-commerce in enterprises’. Statistics were obtained from the annual enterprise surveys conducted by National Statistical Authorities. The reference period was the current situation of the survey period in 2016, for the 2012 survey it was January 2012. Part of the article is based on results of the 2012 survey when relevant information was not available from the 2016 survey.
In 2016, 148 000 out of 1,6 million enterprises in the EU-28 were surveyed. Of the 1,6 million enterprises, approximately 83 % were enterprises with 10-49 persons employed (small), 14 % with 50-249 (medium) and 3 % with 250 or more (large).
Data in some tables are shown as ‘:’ and refer to data that are unavailable, unreliable, confidential or not applicable. Unreliable data are included in the calculation of European aggregates.
The observation statistical unit is the enterprise, as defined in Council Regulation 696/93 of 15 March 1993. The survey covered enterprises with at least 10 persons employed. Economic activities correspond to the classification NACE Revision 2. The survey covered enterprises in the following economic sectors: manufacturing, electricity, gas and steam, water supply, construction, wholesale and retail trades, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, transportation and storage, accommodation and food service activities, information and communication, real estate, professional, scientific and technical activities, administrative and support activities and repair of computers and communication equipment.
Enterprises that provide their staff with portable devices that allow a mobile connection to the internet for business use are those that additionally pay for all, or at least up to a limit, of the subscription and the use costs.
A mobile connection to the internet means the use of portable devices connecting to the internet through mobile telephone networks.
Portable devices that allow a mobile connection to the internet refer to a) portable computers (e.g. notebook, netbook, laptop, ultra-mobile PC (UMPC), tablet PC) and b) other portable devices such as a smartphone or PDA phone.
The Digital Single Market for Europe is a major priority of the European Commission. The strategy is built on three pillars: (1) better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe; (2) creating the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish; (3) maximising the growth potential of the digital economy.
Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), and in particular new ways of accessing and using the internet efficiently, is driving the way that enterprises run their business and organise e-commerce.
- Internet advertising of businesses - statistics on usage of ads
- ICT specialists - statistics on hard-to-fill vacancies in enterprises
- E-commerce statistics
- E-business integration
- ICT security in enterprises
- Social media - statistics on the use by enterprises
- Cloud computing - statistics on the use by enterprises
- Digital economy and society statistics - enterprises
Further Eurostat information
- One in two enterprises provides staff with portable devices for mobile internet connection - Statistics in focus 2012/46
- ICT usage in enterprises (isoc_e)
- Summary of EU aggregates (isoc_ci_eu_en2)
- Connection to the internet (isoc_ci)
- Internet access (isoc_ci_in_en2)
- Type of connections to the internet (isoc_ci_it_en2)
- Use of mobile connections to the internet (isoc_cimobe_use)
- Websites and use of social media (isoc_cism)
- Websites and functionalities (isoc_ciweb)
Methodology / Metadata
- ICT usage and e-commerce in enterprises (ESMS metadata file — isoc_e)
- Regulation (EC) No 808/2004 of 21 April 2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society
- Regulation (EC) No 960/2008 of 30 September 2008 implementing Regulation (EC) No 808/2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society
- Regulation (EC) No 1023/2009 of 29 October 2009 implementing Regulation (EC) No 808/2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society
- Regulation (EU) No 821/2010 of 17 September 2010 implementing Regulation (EC) No 808/2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society
- Regulation (EU) No 937/2011 of 21 September 2011 implementing Regulation (EC) No 808/2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society
- Regulation (EU) No 1083/2012 of 19 November 2012 implementing Regulation (EC) No 808/2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society
- Regulation (EU) No 859/2013 of 5 September 2013 implementing Regulation (EC) No 808/2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society
- Regulation (EU) No 1196/2014 of 30 October 2014 implementing Regulation (EC) No 808/2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society
- Regulation (EU) 2015/2003 of 10 November 2015 implementing Regulation (EC) No 808/2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society
- Regulation (EC) No 696/1993 of 15 March 1993 on the statistical units for the observation and analysis of the production system in the Community