A quantitative study commissioned earlier this year by the MCA shows that 42% of the Maltese population own a smartphone, a growth of 5% when compared to a similar survey carried out in 2013. This increase is reflected in all age groups except in the 65-74yr group, and as expected, the younger age groups lead the way in terms of growth.
The study has shown that although 79% of the population are aware that the Internet can be accessed through a mobile phone, 47% of these have never done so. The remaining 52% claim to have used the Internet on their mobile phone sometime during the period preceding the interview, an increase of 4% over 2013. Typically, mobile data users are generally aged between 16 and 34 years and possess a post-secondary level of education or higher.
Significant growth has been registered in the number of mobile data users that are subscribing to contract or prepaid plans, which have now reached 72% when compared to the 52% subscribed in 2013. The contract monthly plans are generally preferred by those aged between 35 and 54yrs whilst prepaid plans are more popular with those aged between 16 and 34yrs. Mobile data users are today accessing the Internet for a longer period of time with 25% claiming to use it for at least an hour or more every time, an increase of 15% on 2013.
Socialising and sending/receiving emails continue to be the most popular internet activities conducted on a mobile, followed by accessing content via APPs and retrieving information/news. Social media and messaging are still the most accessed applications among mobile data users, followed by content and games. Facebook leads the way as the website mostly visited, closely followed by Google, YouTube and timesofmalta.com.
77% of mobile data users claim to access the Internet on their mobile whilst abroad, an impressive increase of 40% over 2013. However, more than two thirds, do so via WIFI versus 26% who connect via a data plan subscription.
61% of mobile data plan subscribers agree that data service costs are affordable with more than two-thirds agreeing that data service is reliable and that coverage is good.
Not having a mobile phone that allows internet access is the main reason why people do not use mobile data services. Interestingly, the perception that one does not need or is not interested in a mobile phone that allows Internet connectivity declined by a significant 31% from 2013.
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