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Mobile phones dominate in Finland; landlines survive for security, sentimental reasons

Finnish residents have long embraced the convenience and ease offered by mobile phone connections. However a small core of subscribers has stubbornly chosen to stay connected via traditional land lines. Half of them are corporate users.

Image: Matti Asikainen / Yle

The number of fixed telephones used in Finland has been in massive decline for over a decade, but operators are still providing new subscriptions for businesses and households.

The latest data from the Communications Regulatory Authority Ficora indicate that there are over 170 mobile phones per 100 members of the population. That means close to two mobile phones for every man, woman and child in the country.

Nowadays the majority of mobile handsets are smart phones. And well over 90% of the Finns are hooked up to the internet one way or another at least once a week – either using fixed-line or mobile connections.

According to Ficora the advent of mobile communications has seen a steady decline in the number of fixed telephone lines across the country.

In 2010, roughly 20 percent of subscribers had fixed telephone lines. That proportion fell to 14 percent in 2012, and now just 11 percent of subscribers have land lines – half of them in the corporate sector.

Security important for land line users

Otherwise the owners of land lines tend to represent the older generation, who retain the fixed handsets for sentimental reasons. In other cases, owners of traditional telephones say the devices offer uninterrupted service in the event that mobile signals fail. This could explain why corporate subscribers still opt for fixed-line connections.

In terms of internet connections, nearly 90 percent of households in Finland have online access and Ficora says that figure has remained more or less constant for the past four years.

Mobile internet meanwhile provides net access to just over 65 percent of people in Finland, and the number is growing steadily. Some 62 percent of people have fixed internet connection.  There has been a steady trend to move away from fixed-line services, making mobile internet more widespread than fixed–line access.