Mobile data increasing – the use of traditional services decreasing

In early 2015, the use of mobile network services continued to develop as in previous years. The use of mobile data grew strongly, while the use of traditional voice and messaging services decreased.

In recent years, the use of traditional voice and messaging services has turned to a decrease in the mobile network. In 2014, the number of calls placed in the mobile network fell by 7 per cent from 2013 and the number of call minutes decreased by 3 per cent. The decrease in the number of calls continued during the first half of 2015 as the figure fell by 5 per cent from the end of last year.

During the first half of 2015, the decrease in the number of call minutes, however, stopped for the first time in two years, and call minutes even increased slightly compared to the end of 2014. The decrease in call minutes, which started in 2013, seems to have stopped, but the latter half of the year will show whether this is only temporary or whether the current trend is more permanent.

During the first six months, the average duration of calls placed in the mobile network increased by ten seconds from the end of last year, with the average call duration being 3 minutes and 41 seconds. Since 2010, the average duration of mobile calls has increased by more than 30 seconds. Therefore, mobile calls are placed less frequently, but their duration is longer.

During the first six months, some 1.46 billion text messages were sent, being 150 million, or 9 per cent, less than in the latter half of the previous year. If this development continues until the end of the year, the number of text messages sent will be below the limit of 3 billion for the first time since 2007.

Approximately 41 million multimedia messages were sent during the first half of the year. Compared with the corresponding period of last year, the figure has remained unchanged but from the end of last year it shows a decrease of up to 12 per cent. In practice, this is the first six-month period when the number of multimedia messages fell clearly. As the use of multimedia messages increased by nearly 20 per cent last year, the development trend seems to be changing.


Mobile call (pcs) Mobile call (min SMS MMS
1H 2012 2 484 8 122 2 155 26
2H 2012 2 461 7 952 2 171 29
1H 2013 2 370 7 960 1 982 34
2H 2013 2 330 7 783 1 900 39
1H 2014 2 169 7 660 1 681 41
2H 2014 2 181 7 639 1 609 46
1H 2015 2 074 7 650 1 463 41

Figure: The use of mobile voice and messaging services in 2012–2015 (million)

In place of text and multimedia messages, Finnish people are increasingly using various instant messaging services. A consumer survey conducted by FICORA at the beginning of 2015 shows that nearly half of all Finnish people are regularly using various instant messaging services on their mobile phones, such as WhatsApp, Snapchat or Facebook Messenger. In other words, free mobile services have partly replaced traditional messaging services. The decrease in multimedia messages may also be based on the increasingly simple sharing of images and videos in various applications, such as Instagram.

According to the recent trend, the decrease in text messages usually slows down during the latter half of the year, and this is also expected to happen this year. This phenomenon is largely based on Christmas greetings. A similar trend may also be seen in the number of multimedia messages.

The volume of data transmitted in the mobile network has continued its steep incline. During the first half of the year, a total of 270,000 TB of mobile data was transferred, which is double the volume transferred in the corresponding period last year, showing an increase of 40 per cent from the end of 2014. This is on an equal level with the previous year's development. The strong growth is also represented by the fact that the volume of data transferred in the first half of 2015 is clearly higher than the total volume transferred in 2008–2012. During the first half of 2015, some 8 GB of mobile data was transferred monthly per each Finnish individual.


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Figure: Data transferred in the mobile network in 2008–2015 (TB)

This article is a part of FICORA's Communications Sector Review 3/2015.


Key words: Telephone, Mobile broadband, Articles, Reviews, Statistics


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