Mobile telephony users keep switching from prepaid cards to subscriptions

In the first half of 2017, the growing trend in the number of subscriptions to mobile telephony services continued, at the expense of active prepaid cards. Such a trend has been noticed ever since 2016 and can be explained by the diversification of the bundles and packages the providers offer at signing a subscription contract, which often include new generation equipment at preferential prices. In the period under analysis, mobile telephony users in Romania spoke on average 4 hours and 14 minutes each month. See an illustrative infographic here.

Evolution of mobile telephony
At mid-2017, in Romania there were 22.2 million active SIM cards for mobile telephony services (down -1.5% year-on-year), among which there were 11.8 million subscribers (+7%) and 10.4 million active prepaid card users (-10%). Similarly to 2016, the total number of subscriptions increased due to the greater take-up of this service on the level of residential users, thus reaching 9 million subscription-based SIM cards used on the residential segment.
The slight decrease in the total number of active SIM cards was also reflected in the evolution of the total voice traffic (excluding international roaming) achieved during the first half of 2017, which dropped by -4% compared to the same period of 2016, down to 34.3 billion minutes. Concerning traffic categories, only off-net mobile traffic witnessed growth, by nearly 12%, to 11 billion minutes, the other traffic categories being on a downward trend in the first half of this year: on-net mobile traffic down -11%, reaching 20 billion minutes, traffic to networks abroad down -6%, reaching 1.9 billion minutes, and mobile-to-fixed traffic down -1%, reaching 1.1 billion minutes.
During the first half of 2017, the decrease in the total number of SMS messages went further, this number dropping by -16% compared to the first semester of 2016, down to 8 billion messages, most likely as a result of the intensifying use of instant messaging applications. On average, an active user spoke 4 hours and 14 minutes per month and sent 59 SMS messages.

International roaming
The use of international roaming services has intensified significantly in the first half of 2017, mainly following the application of the provisions of the International Roaming Regulation. Thus, outgoing calls traffic almost doubled, from 222 million minutes - in the first half of 2016, to 430 million minutes - in the first half of 2017 (+ 94%), incoming calls traffic surged by + 81%, to 839 million minutes, the number of SMS messages increased by + 31%, to 87 million messages, the most significant growth being seen in the use of data roaming services, which soared + 191%, to 1.1 PB.

Evolution of fixed telephony
Fixed telephony figures continued the declining trend during the first half of 2017, with decreases in both the number of access lines (-5%, down to 4.1 million) and in voice traffic. On 30 June 2017, the fixed telephony penetration rate per 100 households stood at 43%.
Total voice traffic achieved through fixed networks declined to nearly 1.5 billion minutes in the first half of 2017, down 15% y.o.y.. All voice traffic categories witnessed decreases: traffic to fixed public networks dropped by 18%, to 0.9 billion minutes, fixed-to-mobile traffic diminished by 5% to 0.4 billion minutes, while traffic to networks abroad decreased by 21%, to 0.1 billion minutes.
Average monthly traffic originated from a fixed line continued to decline, reaching 1 hour, i.e. 7 minutes less than the average in the first half of 2016, a call lasting 3 minutes and 2 seconds on average.
Statistical data report
The statistical data report on the Romanian electronic communications market in the first half of 2017 has been drawn up by ANCOM based on the statistical data reported half-yearly by the providers that have the obligation to report the indicators corresponding to service categories according to Decision no. 333/2013 and is available here