The majority of Western European countries demonstrated constant erosion of total fixed voice traffic within the past five years, as customers migrate to other communication platforms such as mobile and Internet. Moreover, the rise in VoIP usage in some countries, such as France, has not been enough to offset completely the decline. However, some countries in the region exhibited a slowdown in fixed voice decline or even registered growth, primarily due to combined strategies such as bundling and flat rate offers by the operators as well as reductions of fixed and mobile termination rates by the regulators, in adherence to the set termination rates by the EU Commission.
This development can possibly be sustained in the next years as additional regulators in the region (e.g. Spain) proactively sent proposals in the EU Commission for cutting fixed termination rates. In line with this, InfoCom foresees marginal improvement in the volume of fixed telephony calls (e.g. slower drop in some countries such as Italy and the UK and growth in other countries such as Switzerland and Belgium) for all Western European countries, but with fixed-to-mobile and Internet substitution still posing an important threat to the segment’s development.