As part of an ongoing series of publications designed to pinpoint developments in electronic communications and post for Malta,the MCA has today published the Data Report Sheet (DRS) with the latest figures covering the period Q1 2014 to Q3 2018.
The mobile telephony subscriber base reached an all-time high of 621,744 at the end of September 2018, up by 16,985 subscriptions year-on-year. This increase is completely attributed to a year-on-year rise 12,218 post-paid subscriptions, as opposed to a marginal decline of 283 pre-paid subscriptions during the same period. This trend may be explained by the additional monthly voice and data allowances that have been in place during this year. The shift in take-up from pre-paid to post-paid plans led to an increase in ARPU of local mobile operators, from €45.12 in Q3 2017 to €46.51 in Q3 2018.
Another notable trend is the rise in mobile data consumption both in terms of roaming and domestic use. On the domestic front, mobile data volumes totalled to 1,622.7 million during the 3rd quarter of 2018, up by 349.5 million MB (or by 26.5%) compared to Q3 2017. Similarly, mobile roaming data used by local subscribers whilst travelling abroad increased from 638.1 million MB in Q3 2017 to 1,229.8 million MB in Q3 2018.
The rise in fixed telephony subscriptions did not translate in higher traffic volumes. It is indeed very likely that this change comes on the back of end-users opting for bundled subscriptions that include fixed telephony, notwithstanding the continued fixed-to-mobile substitution that has been strengthening for years.
Take-up for fixed broadband in Q3 2018 was driven by stronger demand for fast and ultra-fast broadband connections, i.e. those connections supporting speeds of 30Mbps or more. In fact, year-on-year, the number of fixed broadband subscriptions supporting download speeds of 30Mbps but less than 100Mbps was up by 13,985 (or by 14.3%) whilst the number of subscriptions for connections supporting a download speed of 100Mbps or more was up by 28,320 (or by 94.9%).
By the end of Q3 2018, the pay-TV sector recorded an increase of almost 10,000 subscriptions when compared to the same period a year earlier. Growth in this sector was driven by higher take-up of the digital cable service and the IPTV service, with both platforms seeing a 14.6% and 41.5% rise in subscriptions respectively. No analogue pay-TV subscriptions were recorded at the end of Q3 2018.
Postal mail volumes were up by 3.8% in Q3 2018 when compared to Q3 2017. During the quarter under review, postal activity related to bulk mail and registered mail items was the greatest contributor in terms of volume. Upon comparing Q3 2018 with Q3 2017, bulk mail volumes were up by 6.7 % whilst registered mail volumes were up by 8.2%.
By the end of Q3 2018 there was a total of 496 leased line connections, down by 59 connections (or 10.6%) year-on-year. This drop reflects the fall in the number of traditional interface connections, which were down by 62.9% during this period. Conversely, Ethernet interface connections were up by 1.9%.
At the end of Q3 2018, there were 14 international retail leased line connections, marginally down from 15 at the end of the same period a year earlier.
All the figures referred to in this article are available on the following link.
- Data cut-off date: 03 December 2018;
- Data is preliminary and subject to change.