Local telecommunications consumers are increasingly reliant on their mobile devices for internet access as remote work and unlimited mobile data plans make it more convenient.

The Malta Communications Authority (MCA) is responsible for the regulation and oversight of Malta’s telecommunications and postal sector and regularly collects data from authorised operators to track market trends.

In terms of data connectivity, subscriptions offering speeds of 500Mbps to 1Gbps experienced a five per cent year-on-year increase, as consumers demanded faster internet connections and high-speed performances.

By the end of March 2023, 35.6 per cent of fixed broadband users enjoyed connections capable of delivering a headline download speed of at least 500Mbps.

Yet, despite the availability of high-speed fixed broadband services, more users were turning to their mobile data plans for internet access.

There was a significant surge of 49 per cent in mobile data usage during the first three months of 2023 compared to the previous year.

The MCA said the surge could be attributed to the shift toward remote work and digital communications, and a greater reliance on mobile devices for internet access.

It claimed that the trend is likely to continue due to the wider availability of unlimited mobile data plans and the convenience of using mobile devices for internet access.

During the first quarter of 2023, subscriptions for fixed broadband, mobile telephony, and pay-tv have maintained their upward trajectory with year-on-year growth rates of 3.6 per cent, 7.3 per cent and 4.9 per cent respectively.

Fixed telephony experienced a modest rise of 0.7 per cent, however, minute volumes declined.

The postal service also experienced a year-on-year decline of 13.7 per cent in volume. However, there was a notable increase in low-weight mail items, potentially driven by a rise of e-commerce activity.

Overall, the MCA noted that there was a clear trend that there’s a growing reliance on high-speed connectivity, mobile devices and bundle plans.

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