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Friday's papers: Finland's all-you-can-eat mobile data, fake cops, and talkative MPs

It's Friday the 13th and it's business as usual in Finland's press, where papers talk about the Finns' rabid internet use on mobile phones, an exercise assessing how an energy crisis would affect the food chain, a scam that is targeting old people, and a ranking of MP speaking times on the parliament floor.

eläkeläinen käyttää kännykkää
The average Finn streams ten times more internet content than the OECD average. Image: AOP

Helsingin Sanomat ends the working week with a story on Finland's chart-topping internet use on mobile phones. A new study shows that Finns use the internet on their phones far more than any of the 35 high-income countries in the OECD.

At the end of last year Finns were consuming an average of 11 gigabytes (GB) of mobile data per month. This is equal to 40 hours of video calls or 11 hours of movie or TV show streaming.

Only Latvia comes close to this, at 8.2 GB. Sweden comes in at 4.4 GB, while the OECD average is a measly 1.8 GB. HS reports that a separate study from Tefficient found the average use in Finland to be a full 3 GB smaller than the OECD study, but even so, Finland leaves the others in the dust.

The paper surmises that Finland's rabid mobile internet use can be attributed to the unlimited bandwidths sold here as part of mobile phone subscriptions. In Finland, teleoperators market their packages according to bandwidth speed, where in other countries the deals often have varying data limits.

"We've got a completely different pricing model and price level compared to the rest of Europe. Another factor is our high-quality networks. In many other European countries, the networks just can't handle that kind of capacity, even if you have an unlimited connection," DNA's consumer business head Pekka Väisänen tells HS.

Elisa director Jan Virkki agrees with his competitor, and says that this can be seen in the small number of Wi-Fi cafes in Finland. He says there's no need for them because "Finns carry their own fast connection around in their pocket."

Finns use the internet on their mobile phones ten times more than the OECD average because of the unlimited access, the report says. Once unlimited options entered the Latvian market, it argues, mobile data use in the Baltic country jumped by more than a third.

Unlimited data use also puts pressure on telecoms, because heavy traffic increases their overall costs. Four years ago, Telia-Sonera's then-CEO Johan Dennelind said he wanted to put an end to "all you can eat" pricing in Finland. Elisa and DNA quickly addressed the ensuing public backlash and denied that they had any such plans. DNA now predicts that mobile data use will grow to ten times its current size in Finland over the next five years.

Energy crisis would lead to bread shortage first

The tabloid Iltalehti has an article about a recent food security exercise in Tuusula that tested how quickly a loss of Russia's natural gas would affect Finland's food supply. IL says grains and breads would be the first to run short, as many bakeries run on natural gas, and the drop in petrol and diesel would stymie agricultural yields.

A surprising result of the two-day simulation was how much of a role consumers would have in securing a varied food supply. Aili Kähkönen of the Finnish Food Industry Association tells the tabloid that a shortage of fuel and electricity could either find people switching to canned food or insisting on products that requires an unbroken cold chain. Their behaviour would have far-reaching effect, as prices would skyrocket and supplies would dwindle. 

Fake police swindling bank codes from the elderly

The online publication Verkkouutiset carries news this Friday of a police warning on Twitter. Law enforcement around the country tells the public to be on the lookout for a man posing as a police officer that is scamming people into releasing their ID numbers and bank codes. The police say that older people in particular should be warned.  

Police in Oulu say the "fake police officer phenomenon" has advanced to the point that it can be considered a serious problem in Finland. "Beware of fraudsters preying on the elderly, pretending to be police on the phone and asking for bank codes. A real police officer would never do this!" the tweet reads.

Who talks and who doesn't?

And the tabloid Ilta-Sanomat leads us into the weekend with its regular assessment of MP speaking times in the Finnish Parliament. Which Members of Parliament use the floor the most, and which are the most reluctant to speak?

Turns out that if there's a debate on the parliamentary floor, Pia Viitanen and Eero Heinäluoma of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Timo Heinonen and Ben Zyskowicz of the National Coalition Party (NCP) are the likeliest to have something to say and address their fellow decision-makers. Centre Party members Juha Sipilä, the prime minister, and Hannu Hoskonen are not far behind. Of the 17 ministers in Finland's government, Sipilä has clocked the most speaking time.

IS examined parliamentary archives from the spring 2015 election until this week Wednesday to compile its ranking. First-place winner Pia Viitanen spoke over 600 times on the parliamentary floor during this time. "It's no surprise. I like to address the body and I enjoy debates. We are often of a different opinion, but that doesn't meet that we would be quarrelling," Viitanen says, referring to her party's role as the opposition leader.

The ranking finds that the MP who has stayed the quietest is the Finns Party's Tom Packalén, who has spoken on the parliamentary floor just 10 times since he was elected in 2011. He is joined at the bottom of the list by three MPs from the conservative NCP: think-tank chair Elina Lepomäki, economist Juhana Vartiainen and business mogul Harry "Hjallis" Harkimo: unexpected names because they are quite vocal in other public forums.  

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