12.05.2023 - ICT, Technology

Mobile internet usage grows while call duration decreases

Last year, mobile internet users in Latvia consumed an average of 42 GB per month: that’s 18% more than in 2021, while the number of minutes spent on calls and the number of text messages sent decreased, according to data on the performance of electronic communications companies in 2022 compiled by the The Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The PUC explains how the performance of the electronic communications sector has changed over the past year.

“Looking back at the development of the telecoms industry last year, remote working and learning opportunities, which have driven the active use of internet services, continue to have a significant impact on industry change. Mobile internet consumption in particular increased significantly, while the duration of users’ mobile conversations decreased. This is due to the growing popularity of using apps to communicate with colleagues and friends without making calls via the mobile network voice service. Meanwhile, fixed network voice is playing an increasingly smaller role in the market compared to mobile voice. However, it’s a good thing that fixed internet users are gradually being provided with higher connection speeds,” says Ivars Tauniņš, director of the Electronic Communications and Postal Department at the PUC.

Total revenues of electronic communications operators amounted to 562 million euros

Total revenues from the services provided by Latvia’s electronic communications operators increased by 5.3% to 562 million euros. The largest operators, LMT, Tele2, Bite Latvija, and Tet, accounted for 81% of the market share. The number of electronic communications operators in Latvia continues to decline, with 220 active registered operators at the end of 2022.

Revenue grows across all communications services aimed at users

Taking into account the increase in tariffs for electronic communications services in 2022, revenues for mobile internet services have increased by 9.2%, fixed internet services by 5.6% and mobile voice services by 11.5%. For example, operators’ revenues from SMS services grew by 26.6%, with part of the growth coming from the provision of high-volume or marketing SMS.

Users increasingly optin for mobile internet

Data collected by the PUC show that last year there were 3 million mobile internet connections in Latvia, of which 2.2 million were mobile internet connections used to access the internet on phones, computers or tablets, while the number of fixed internet connections decreased by 0.2%. Compared to 2021, the number of users using mobile internet directly on their phones has increased by 1.6%. The number of connections where the internet service is used on a computer or tablet via a mobile internet router was 400,045 at the end of 2022. 71% of these are connections made by individuals (households).

Three operators in Latvia provide mobile internet services, which are used on phones or computers: LMT, Tele2, and Bite Latvija. Of the total number of mobile internet connections in Latvia, 38.31% are provided by LMT, 38.28% by Tele2 and 23.4% by Bite Latvija.

Last year mobile internet users consumed 18% more than in 2021

Users continue to actively use mobile internet services, e.g., last year one user consumed an average of 42 GB per month. It should be noted that people used the mobile internet more on their computer or tablet than on their phone. This is probably due to users’ preference for watching video content, including television, via platforms available on the internet. The amount of internet consumed using mobile internet on a computer increased by 23%, while the amount of mobile internet consumed on a phone increased by 8%.

The length of mobile calls is decreasing

On average, a mobile user spent 3h 52min per month talking on the phone, which is 8.9% less than in 2021, and sent 32 text messages, which is 13.4% less than in 2021. It has been observed that mobile users made international calls more actively last year, with an 8% increase in minutes. In contrast, domestic calls were less frequent, with a 6.8% decrease in domestic call minutes. Meanwhile, the average total monthly call duration on a fixed network was just 55 minutes.

Number of Tet connections in the fixed network services segment is decreasing

The number of connections to voice communications, internet, and television services continues to decrease. Last year, the largest fixed network service provider, Tet, provided 39% of voice communications connections (14% less than in 2021). However, Tet provided 50% of the total number of fixed broadband internet service connections, while Baltcom provided 20% and Balticom – 15%. 16% were provided by other operators.

Users more likely to opt for fibre optic internet connections with higher internet speeds
In 2022, optical internet connections accounted for 76% of all fixed internet connections in Latvia. In the household segment, 71% of households used an optical internet connection. The number of internet connections with speeds above 100 Mbit/s increased by 2.4% last year. At the same time, 38% of all internet connections were provided at speeds above 300 Mbit/s.

More people choose to watch TV online

The number of people choosing to watch television via internet-based distribution platforms continues to increase, taking advantage of the convenience of watching television on different devices: computer, tablet, smartphone. Meanwhile, the number of users opting for a TV service provided by cable, interactive IP TV, terrestrial or satellite TV has decreased.

Source: Press release (www.labsoflatvia.com). Publicity photo.

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