72.5 mln mobile subscribers in Central and Eastern Europe

According to an IDC study of 11 countries in the Central and Eastern European region (Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia), the total number of subscriptions surged by 24.8% to more than 72.5 mln and penetration levels rose 13 points across the region, reaching just over two-thirds at the end of the year. By the end of 2009, IDC expects the average penetration level to surpass 94% in the 11 countries studied. Total network traffic will grow along with the market. Nevertheless, as new customers are primarily coming from groups with lower purchasing power, average spending per user has already started leveling off. This will be partially offset by an increase in the use of data, which will grow faster than voice usage. As a result, IDC expects voice (including subscription fees) to drop from 85.5% of mobile services spending at the end of 2004 to just over 74% by the end of 2009.