The electronic communications market thrives by constantly shifting and being proactively innovative to meet to user demands. This dynamic changing market has been even further accelerated in this past year due to the upheaval caused across the world due to COVID19. As everyday technology users, we are constantly changing the way we interact and use our communications gadgets. To monitor these evolving user tendencies and market developments, the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) regularly gathers data outlining the main markets trends observed for Malta’s telecom sector. Unsurprisingly the latest Malta Communications Authority (MCA) survey figures for 2020, show an increased demand for fast and ultra-fast fixed broadband. The total number of fixed broadband subscriptions amounted to 213,419 by the end of 2020. This figure is up by 10,906 compared to the corresponding figure a year earlier, equivalent to a 5.4% rise in subscriptions.
The past year was also characterized by larger volumes of mobile voice calling when it comes to minutes consumed, and higher mobile data consumption. In fact, the survey results showed that mobile data volumes consumed for 2020 totalled 34,088 million Mb, up by a staggering 141% on the previous year. This excludes consumption related to connectivity over Wi-Fi. Alongside this development, local mobile operators saw voice minute volumes jump by 14% year-on-year. In addition to this, the rising trend in bundle take-up strongly persists, with 93% of all fixed broadband purchases occurring in a bundle setting. Consumers are showing a strong tendency to purchase triple-play packaged products, involving fixed broadband, fixed telephony and pay-TV services, induced by the selling strategies implemented by local telecoms providers.
To assist Maltese citizens to navigate through the wide choice of diverse and varying packages available on the market, in January 2021 the Malta Communications Authority launched a price comparison tool with the name of Telecosts (www.telecosts.com). This price-comparison tool, assists consumers to select the most suitable service plan/s for their electronic communications needs by comparing the prices of various services offered by all the different local service providers. When visiting the portal, consumers need to first choose the service (fixed telephony, mobile telephony, internet and bundles) and then they have to complete a short series of questions, allowing them to filter the choices given based on their preferences. Consumers are then provided with a list of service plans which fit their indicated preferences, sorted in accordance of the calculated monthly cost starting from the cheapest service plan available.
Hons Silvio Schembri applauded this initiative which seeks to further assert the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) in its objective towards empowering consumers and effectively addressing their needs. “We want to aspire towards a Malta Communications Authority (MCA) that is more focused on consumer needs,” said Hon. Schembri. He spoke on government’s vision for the MCA, which through proactive work should lead to our country having a more inclusive digital society, where the benefits of digital technology are felt by society at large. He mentioned the ongoing investment in telecommunications. These include an investment by the Malta Communications Authority, in monitoring and training facilities in the field of telecommunications, including a state-of-the-art system with monitoring facilities strategically located around the island, over a period of three years. Minister Silvio Schembri praised the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) for its reputation in the field of diligent regulation which promotes and facilitates continued investment and sustainable competition in the sector. He further stressed the importance of strong connectivity, especially for an island like Malta which depends on interaction with Europe and international markets, for a country to remain competitive. In the words of Minister Schembri; “The success we have achieved in the Maltese economy would never have been possible if it were not for the advanced infrastructure of the telecommunications sector. I will give priority to the communications industry that supports any other industry. This is particularly true at a time when we are looking at the diversification of the Maltese economy into technologically advanced sectors.”
Mr. Jesmond Buġeja, CEO of the MCA further emphasized that, “Telecosts is invaluable in helping consumers get the most value out of their chosen service plan, by providing transparent, up-to-date, and comparable information from all local service providers.” He added that, “The Telecosts website is a simple-to-navigate tool which allows users to filter the choices given based on their personal needs. It is with such initiative and through proactive work that we lead our country towards having a more inclusive digital society, where the benefits of digital technology are felt by society at large. This project has so far proven to be successful in its intentions, with website visitor numbers proving that it is a sought-after tool”.
Since its launch the website has received a total of 6,393 visitors, with 916 returning visitors, this averages to 80 daily visitors who spend on average 2m 26secs per session. The highest number of searches by type of service are on mobile telephony at 35%. The second most searched service is bundled services at 29%, closely followed by broadband services at 28%, with fixed telephony searches stirring the least interest at 8%.
The MCA continues to monitor and update the website with new market services and products to ensure a valid experience its users. To further raise awareness of this valuable tool, the MCA has also consolidated marketing efforts across radio, TV and online channels. Consumers are encouraged to visit Telecosts and conveniently compare all the available local tariff plans for mobile telephony, fixed telephony, internet, as well as bundled services for telephony, internet and TV.
By visiting the website, www.telecosts.com , consumers can conveniently compare all the available local tariff plans for mobile telephony, fixed telephony, internet, as well as bundled services for telephony, internet and TV.