Europeans Ditching Landlines for Mobile

A survey shows EU citizens are going tech with a vengeance. Nearly half have Internet access, and many have switched to cell or Internet telephony

Almost a quarter of Europeans have ditched their landline phones in favour of mobile ones, while the number of those using their computers to make calls has also increased, according to a survey released by the European Commission on Friday (27 June).

Some 24 percent of EU households have cancelled their landlines and are only using a mobile phone, according to the poll.

The number is higher in the EU states that joined the bloc in 2004 (39%) than in the 15 "old" ones (20%), except for Finland (61%) and Portugal (48%).

The Czech Republic tops the list of households using only a mobile phone at 64 percent, while those only having a landline are most numerous in Bulgaria, Germany and France.

One fifth of the respondents to the survey also still use paid public phones (22%) — with the figures being the highest in Austria and Spain.

On the other hand, in Finland, Cyprus and Lithuania, nobody uses public phones anymore, according to the document.

The survey has also found that 22 percent of EU households use their computers to make phone calls over the internet, with the tendency towards this trend highest in Latvia (58%), followed by Lithuania (51%), the Czech Republic (50%), Poland (49%) and Bulgaria (46%).

"Internet telephony is certainly on the rise in Europe and that is a good sign for the competitive structure of this new market and of this new technology," a commission spokesperson said.

Additionally, almost half of EU households currently have access to the internet (49%), with 36 percent of them using a broadband connection — compared to 28 percent in the winter of 2007.

Most of those not having internet have given a lack of interest in the World Wide Web as the main reason.

The EU-wide survey of 27,000 households was carried in November and December 2007.