Europeans ditch fixed for mobile and VoIP

Europeans are increasingly shunning fixed phone lines for mobile phones and online calling, a European Union survey, quoted by an Associated Press report said.

The poll, carried out in November and December, found that 24% of European households have given up fixed landlines for mobile phones, a 2% increase, the report said.

The Czech Republic, Finland and Lithuania had the lowest number of landlines in use across the 27-nation bloc.

The survey, which questioned 26,730 people across the 27-nation bloc, found that 22% are now using their personal computers for phone calls or video chatting via programs such as Skype. That is a rise of 5% from the last poll taken two years ago.

The survey said the bloc's newer members, most of them in eastern Europe, were leading the trend in a shift to online calling.

Baltic state Lithuania posted the highest number of households using internet phone services, with 61%, followed by Latvia, the Czech Republic and Poland, where around half of households were using online calling programs.

Almost half of European households now have internet access, and 36% have high-speed broadband services, according to the poll, which gave a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.