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Mobile subscription numbers edge down in 2017

There were 11.76 million mobile phone subscriptions in Hungary at the end of 2017, some 32,000 fewer than a year earlier, according to data published by the Central Statistical Office (KSH). The number of mobile subscriptions per 100 residents was unchanged at 120.4.   

As a continuing trend, the proportion of post-paid subscriptions compared to pre-paid ones increased, just as in previous years. By the end of 2017, 64.2% of customers had post-paid subscriptions and 35.7% had pre-paid ones. This compares with ratios of 60.1% and 39.9%, respectively, at the end of 2016.

The KSH said new customers typically choose post-paid contracts, while some pre-paid subscribers also make the switch to post-paid contracts because of lower per-minute charges and data options. New rules requiring pre-paid subscribers to reconcile their personal data or face contract cancellation also pushed subscribers in the direction of post-paid contracts, it added.

Hungarian lawmakers recently tightened rules on pre-paid SIM cards amid concerns they could be easily resold to criminals or terrorists, state news wire MTI recalled. The rules required telcos to check and confirm the personal data of all pre-paid subscribers by the end of June 2017.  Industry insiders have said most SIM cards that were invalidated after the deadline passed were not in use anyway.

The number of mobile calls made fell 0.6% to 7.89 billion last year. The time spent on those calls, however, rose 4.2% to 22.3 bln minutes. On average, a mobile call lasted 2.8 minutes.

For landline phones, there were 856 million calls initiated, 9.6% fewer than a year before. Some 46.2% of calls used voice over internet protocols (VoIP). Landline users spent some 4 bln minutes on their phones, down 5.1%. An average call lasted 4.7 minutes.