The development of telephone services 2014

The total number of mobile subscriptions turned to a slight increase in 2014. At the end of 2014, there were around 9.4 million subscriptions, which is 110,000 subscriptions more than in 2013.

The figure includes all mobile subscriptions, including those that are not used for voice and messaging services, i.e. that are used only for data transfer services. Such subscriptions are acquired, for example, for tablets. Of all mobile subscriptions, 74 per cent were used by households and 26 per cent by corporate customers.

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Figure: The number of mobile subscriptions in 2006–2014.

At the end of 2014, voice and text messaging services were used in 81 per cent of all mobile subscriptions. Even though the total number of mobile subscriptions increased slightly, the number of calls made from the mobile network measured by minutes fell for the second year in succession. In 2014, there were slightly less than 3 per cent fewer call minutes than the year before. The number of calls placed fell by 7 per cent. The average duration of mobile calls increased from 3.3 minutes to 3.5 minutes. It seems that, particularly, the number of short calls placed from the mobile network has decreased.

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Figure: The number of calls and text messages in the mobile network in 2007–2014.

The year 2013 was the first when the number of text messages sent decreased in Finland, being 10 per cent lower when compared with the previous year. In 2014, the decline in the number of text messages accelerated with the number being 15 per cent lower than the year before. Despite the fall, a total of 3 billion text messages were still sent in Finland in 2014. Instead, the number of multimedia messages increased by 20 per cent from the year before, even though their total number remains low compared with text messages.

Fixed-line subscriptions became ever rarer

There were around 640,000 fixed-line telephone subscriptions at the end of 2014. That is roughly 15 per cent less than in 2013. Some 52 per cent of these subscriptions were used by companies, which means that the share of corporate subscriptions is clearly larger in the fixed-line network than in the mobile network. The volume of fixed-line subscriptions has continued to steadily decrease for a long time. Approximately 1.1 million subscriptions have been discontinued since 2007. Some telecommunications operators have stopped the sale of new fixed-line subscriptions altogether.

The number of call minutes placed from the fixed-line network fell by 17 per cent, while the number of calls decreased by 18 per cent from the year before. The average duration of calls placed from fixed-line subscriptions remained at 3.1 minutes.

Telephone subscriptions
and usage in fixed network
Fixed network call
volumes (million pcs)
Fixed network
call minutes (million minutes)
The number of
fixed network
subscriptions (thousand subscriptions)
2007 1048 4025 1740
2008 867 3040 1650
2009 692 2321 1430
2010 580 1866 1250
2011 484 1532 1080
2012 414 1259 890
2013 364 1130 750
2014 298 935 640

Figure: The number of subscriptions and calls in the fixed-line network in 2007–2014.

Only a few of the mobile network subscriptions are products reminiscent of fixed-line telephone subscriptions, i.e. subscriptions that have a telephone number similar to that of fixed-line numbers and possibly also similar pricing and services as fixed-line subscriptions. At the end of 2014, there were a roughly 115,000 such mobile subscriptions.

New technologies shape the use of telephone services

In 2014, the average Finn placed calls amounting to around 8.2 minutes per day. This figure includes calls made in both the fixed-line network and the mobile network. Finnish people sent, on average, 1.6 text messages and around 0.04 multimedia messages per day.

The increase in services used through smartphones and data transfer subscriptions has possibly caused the use of mobile messaging services to decrease. Furthermore, an increase in the use of various instant messaging applications and social media services, particularly among the younger population, has affected the steep decline in the popularity of text messages. The increase in the number of multimedia messages is unusual in this respect, but it may have been caused by the fact that photos are easier to take and share using smartphones.

An unusual development can also be seen in mobile voice services. The previous trend was to transfer calls from the fixed-line network to the mobile network but, in the past few years, there has been a slight decrease in the number of mobile calls. Services offered through the internet have possibly taken over part of total call minutes.

This article is a part of FICORA's Communications Sector Review 2014 (1/2015).

Key words: Telephone, Land-line phone, Mobile broadband, Mobile phone, Subscription, Articles, Reviews, Statistics

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