2011: MCA Consumer Perceptions Survey - Fixed Telephony

The MCA has today published the final set of survey results it carried out between July and September, in order to gauge consumer perceptions and satisfaction levels with regard to fixed telephony services in Malta. This last publication of survey results concludes a series of four surveys which have also covered broadband internet, broadcasting and mobile telephony during the past weeks.

According to this survey, circa 8% of households with access to fixed telephony services are subscribed to more than one operator; 77% of which claiming they have no intention of disconnecting one of their multiple lines during the next 12 months.

More interestingly is the fact that only 0.5% of all households with access to fixed telephony consider terminating all their fixed line connections during the next 12 months presumably to use other means of communications such as mobile telephony. This confirms that fixed telephony services are still considered to be an important component of the Maltese household. Unlike the trend in some European countries, where there has been significant substitution between fixed telephony and mobile telephony, in Malta’s case there has been no net substitution between the two communication services. In fact, both the number of fixed line connections and mobile connections have increased in the past years, at a time when more aggressive mobile plans have been launched.

The majority of people still prefer to use their fixed line telephone when at home, rather than their mobile phone. In fact, around 51% of households said they would use the telephone, while only 9% claim that they would use their mobile phone instead. On the other hand, the remaining 40% of households said their preference between using the fixed telephone or mobile would typically depend on whether the call is made to another landline or mobile, on the person being called and on how long the call would take.

Of those households who said they prefer to use their fixed telephone, 36% perceive landline calls to be cheaper, 28% claim the telephone is easier to handle, 20% say they do not have a mobile phone, while the rest say they use the telephone out of habit. On the other hand, those that prefer to use the mobile over the fixed telephone line do so because of SMSs, mobility and direct access to the contact list on the mobile phone.

In terms of pricing, less than 20% of all households know how much it costs to make calls from a landline; be it to another landline or a mobile phone. Notwithstanding this, whilst the majority of households perceive landline calls to another landline to be cheap or reasonably priced, 60% of households think landline calls to a mobile phone are still expensive.

 “Notwithstanding the perceptions of the majority of the population, it is clear that increasing numbers of subscribers are recognising that call rates to mobile phones have gone down over the years.  This is clearly witnessed by the ever increasing traffic registered from fixed to mobile networks. To this effect the Authority feels that although Maltese consumers are still attached to their fixed telephone and are not planning to remove such a connection, demand for mobile services is on the increase. This is the result of more advantageous mobile call rates which are narrowing the gap between fixed and mobile call rates.”, Ing. Philip Micallef said.

The survey also finds that 49% of households with telephone access make international calls from their fixed line, with 66% using theTen21 service, 12% using the GO fixed line service and 11% using the Melita fixed line service. In this case, 87% of those who said they make international calls claim that the rates for the service are cheap or reasonable.

In terms of satisfaction levels, 95% of GO subscribers and 76% of Melita subscribers are highly satisfied or satisfied with the fixed telephony service they have. Interestingly, circa 73% of households with a Melita fixed line connection say their subscription forms part of a bundle, reflecting the fact that Melita had originally packaged access to fixed telephone services together with internet broadband access. With respect to GO, 43% of households with a fixed line connection say that their subscription forms part of a bundle.

It also emerges from the survey that 12% of households changed their fixed line operator over the last two years. 37% of those that have switched operators did so to benefit from a bundle offer, 27% claim the other operator had better products and services, while 20% said that the other operator had cheaper call rates. Furthermore, circa 70% of those who claim to have switched operators over the last two years have opted to port their original number. 79% of those who changed operators claim that switching was not difficult.

View Survey Results