Telecommunications in the EU
Brussel – Around 80 mobile subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in the EU25 in 2003
Slight decrease in the number of main telephone lines since 2001
Mobile telephony has experienced enormous growth since 1995. During the period 1995-2003, the number of mobile telephone subscriptions (1) has grown 42% each year on average at EU25 level. In 2003, there were over 364 million subscriptions in the EU25 compared to only 22 million in 1995, meaning there were on average 80 subscriptions to mobile phones per 100 inhabitants in the EU25 in 2003 compared to only 5 in 1995.
Due to competition from mobile telephone networks and broadband, the number of main telephone lines (2) in the EU25, which increased from 197 million in 1995 to 230 million in 2001, has slightly decreased since then, registering 229 million in 2003.
This information comes from a report (3) released today by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities. This publication also provides information on the Internet access of households, the broadband penetration rate and some other features of the telecommunications sector.
Highest number of mobile phone subscriptions per inhabitant in Luxembourg, Sweden and Italy.
Luxembourg (120 per 100 inhabitants), Sweden (98), Italy (96) and the Czech Republic (95) recorded the highest numbers of mobile phone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in 2003. It should be noted that subscriptions include active pre-paid cards and that one person may have more than one subscription. Therefore, the number of subscriptions can be higher than the population. The lowest numbers of mobile phone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants were recorded in Poland (46), Latvia (52) and Lithuania (62).
The number of mobile subscriptions rose by 8.6% in the EU25 in 2003 compared to 2002. All Member States registered increases, ranging from around 5% in Malta, Finland, Austria and Italy to more than 30% in Latvia, Cyprus and Lithuania. The growth can be expected to slow down in those Member States having the highest subscription density.
Large differences in the density of main telephone lines among the Member States
In 2003, the average density of the main telephone network in the EU25 was 50 lines per 100 inhabitants. However, large differences can be observed between the Member States. The density varied from 24 lines per 100 inhabitants in Lithuania and Slovakia and 28 in Latvia to 67 lines per 100 inhabitants in Denmark, 66 in Germany and 62 in Cyprus and the Netherlands.
On average in the EU25, the number of lines slightly decreased, by 0.3% in 2003 compared to 2002. The largest falls were observed in Lithuania (-11.0%), Slovakia (-7.7%) and Latvia (-6.8%).
(1) Mobile telephone subscriptions refer to subscriptions to an automatic public mobile telephone service.
(2) A main telephone line is a telephone line connecting the subscriberâ€™s terminal to the Public Switched Telephone Network. ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) lines are counted as main telephone lines.
(3) Eurostat, Statistics in Focus, Theme 4, Industry, trade and services, 8/2005, â€˜Telecommunications in Europeâ€™.