Number of mobile phones down in Romania, but use continues to rise

More Romanians seem to have decided to give up on their mobile phones, as recent statistics show. The number of active mobile phones in Romania fell in the first half of 2012, according to the national communications authority ANCOM. A marked 3.1 percent fall from the end of 2011 to mid 2012 was seen, which followed hard on the heels of a 3.8 percent fall between mid and end 2011. Thus, the total number of active mobile phones on June 30 this year was 22.7 million, nearly 7 percent less than a year earlier.

The mobile phone penetration rate was still well above 100 percent: 119.2 per 100 inhabitants. Prepaid phones experienced a much larger decline over the first six months of 2012 than the contract based services – a 4.6 percent fall for the former against a 0.7 percent drop for the latter.

Despite the decrease in active mobile phones, voice traffic grew for all types of calls – intra-and-inter-network, international, to landlines and mobiles – reaching more than 30 billion minutes after a 7.6 percent increase on the first half of 2011. Although voice traffic for all call types rose, by far the biggest increase was for international calls – up 44 percent on the first half of 2011 to reach a total 391 million minutes. Other types of call were up by between 5 and 6 percent.

Average use also increased between January and June this year. The average Romanian mobile phone user talked for 3 hours and 42 minutes a month, an 11.9 percent year on year increase, and sent 48 text messages, 12 more than the monthly average a year earlier. In total, 6.7 billion text messages were sent in the the first six months of 2012, an increase of 29.3 percent on the same period a year earlier.

Multimedia messages are on the up: 7 million sent in the first half of 2012, representing a 53.1 percent annual rise. Nearly a million minutes of video calls were also registered in the first half of 2012. Both voice and SMS traffic on roaming services were up on 2011, 12.2 and 3.8 percent rises respectively.

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