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News :: Household communications in the EU : Mobile penetration catches up with fixed lines, and broadband connections double

Household communications in the EU : Mobile penetration catches up with fixed lines, and broadband connections double

(24/09/2004) The percentage of European households with at least one mobile telephone reached 81% in 2004. This puts mobile telephony on a par with households having at least one fixed telephone line.

Fixed telephony has fallen by 3 percentage points since 2003 and now stands at 82%. Household access to broadband has more than doubled from an average of 5% in 2003 to 12% in 2004. These conclusions emerge from a large European household survey, a summary of which is published today in the "Telecoms Services Indicators 2004" report. It sheds new light on households' access to and use of electronic communications services.

The survey was carried out for the European Commission as part of its ongoing monitoring work of the impact of regulatory policy on market developments in electronic communications. It examined and assessed developments in households’ access and use of public telephone services covered by the universal service obligations, as well as newer services such as mobile and broadband communications and digital television.

Main results of the report :

  1. Overall proportion of households with access to a telephone at home is 97% while 66% have both fixed and mobile phone. Only 3% of the households have no telephone at all.
  2. An increasing number of households have one or more mobile phones without owning any fixed line: while the average of households without any fixed line is 15%, this proportion reaches 33% in Finland and Portugal.
  3. The highest broadband penetration rates are observed in countries where there is competition between the DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) public telephone network based infrastructure and cable infrastructure, such as the Netherlands (36%) and Belgium (32%).
  4. The proportion of households with Internet access has increased from 34% in 2003 to 39 % in 2004. Reasons for not having internet access at home include: not having a PC (40%); concerns about the cost of the service (16%).
  5. An additional 19 % of households have at least one member using the Internet at another location (such as school or work place).
  6. Background

    The survey was based on a sample of 44,219 respondents in 127 regions, being representative of the total population of the 15 pre-accession EU Member States by demographics and regions. The interviews were carried out between the end of 2003 and the beginning of 2004. The report compares key indicators with the previous survey conducted one year earlier and published in the autumn of 2003. It also studies the relationship between the usage of electronic services and geographic and socio-demographic factors, and explores the household consumption patterns.

    full texts of the report