BUSINESS

Greek telecom services are EU’s costliest

VANGELIS MANDRAVELIS

TAGS: Economy

Greeks pay among the highest charges for telecom services in the European Union, according to data presented by Eurostat on Tuesday. The EU statistical service revealed that Greece was one of the top two most expensive countries in the 28-member bloc as regards telecommunication charges in two of the indexes examined.

The figures showed that Greece ranks top in the EU regarding spending on telecom services as a ratio of gross domestic product, and second in terms of annual consumer expenditure. Eurostat illustrated that Greeks spend some 5.7 billion euros a year on telecom services, which corresponds to 3.2 percent of GDP and 4.4 percent of Greeks’ total annual spending. Only the Bulgarians spend more on telecom services regarding their overall annual consumer expenditure (4.6 percent).

The data Eurostat used for Greece concern 2017; it was the only country that did not have updated figures for 2018. Since 2009, when Eurostat began providing data on this front, Greece has always been among the top two member-states in terms of annual telecom spending.

In absolute figures, telecom expenditure in Greece has shrunk due to the crisis, from 7.3 billion euros in 2010 to 5.7 billion in 2017 – i.e. almost 25 percent. However, as a ratio of GDP it has almost always remained above 3 percent and at the top of the EU chart, while as a share of total annual spending it has ranged between 4 and 4.6 percent, placing Greece in second place among the EU-28. Last year, average spending on telecom services in the bloc came to 1.3 percent of GDP, and accounted for 2.3 percent of total spending.

The latest Eurostat figures come at a time when the debate over telecom charges in Greece has grown. The government has expressed its intention to change this situation, as Greek consumers have to spend much more in proportional terms than their fellow EU citizens in other countries. These indexes also hurt the country when it comes to various competitiveness assessments, readiness for the adoption of new technologies etc.

That picture would have been quite different had Greek consumers used high-speed and top-performance connections. However, data show that Greece mostly uses low-speed infrastructure, mainly in landline telephony.

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