Survey: Latvia’s mobile use higher than EU average

An estimated 84 percent of Latvian residents have a mobile telephone, which is higher than the average of all 25 member states of the European Union, a new survey finds.

The Eurobarometer survey, published in November, focused on mobile phone roaming issues and was based on questionnaires completed in September and October.

Across Europe, the vast majority of the phones in use were personal phones as opposed to business phones, according to the survey. Across the EU, 79 percent of residents have a mobile phone.

The survey found that 55 percent of Latvians have mobile phone access on the basis of a prepaid arrangement, rather than a contract. By comparison, just 23 percent of Estonians have prepaid arrangements, but 75 percent have contracts.

Mobile phone penetration in Estonia was 86 percent, but in Lithuania it was 76 percent. Topping the list was Sweden, where 95 percent of respondents to the survey said they had a mobile phone. Finland was second at 93 percent and the Netherlands third at 91 percent.

At the bottom of the list was Poland, where market penetration was 64 percent.

Of those Europeans who traveled outside their home country, almost all rely on international roaming rather than buying a SIM card in the country they are visiting, the survey found. Latvian citizens are less likely to use their mobile phones when abroad.

The survey suggests EU residents would be more likely to use their mobile phones if roaming fees were more attractive.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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