As per InfoCom’s Quarterly Line Loss monitoring covering the Baltic region incumbents (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), the adoption of alternative voice calling services such as voice over LTE (VoLTE) and voice over WiFi (VoWiFi) expanded even more in 2019, further contributing to fixed-to-mobile substitution and impacting fixed access line development, in general. For instance, Telia Lithuania reported that around 20% of its calls are already through VoLTE, as more than half of its 1.3m mobile customers already have access to the said service. It is even higher for its counterpart in Estonia with more than 30% of the mobile calls already via VoLTE. In addition, the Estonian incumbent registered more than 100 000 VoWiFi users on iPhones to supplement its VoLTE service.
InfoCom believes that the said development was mainly due to the continued uptake of 4G services as well as the increasing number of handsets supporting the said voice services – from only selected “flagship” models from device manufacturers (e.g. Apple, Huawei, Samsung, Xiaomi), to also covering mid-range devices. Thus, InfoCom expects the continued increase in the proportion of voice calls made through VoLTE/VoWiFi and eventually 5G in the coming quarters at the expense of traditional voice channels, especially from fixed lines.
As of 4Q19, fixed access lines of the Baltic incumbents declined by an average of 9% YoY in 2019, well above the Eastern European incumbents’ average of 6% during the same period.-CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS REPORT.