Pentor Research International was commissioned by the President of UKE to a run a questionnaire survey from 7 May to 21 July 2009 the purpose of which was to establish the level of demand satisfaction of consumers, including disabled consumers, for telephone services provided by means of public pay phones, taking account of their place of residence divided into particular types of communes.
The report was drafted in particular for the purposes of considering a request from Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. to amend the decision of the President of UKE establishing for Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. - as an undertaking designated to provide universal service in the whole national area - a minimum number of public phones that should be installed in its area of operation, i.e. in the whole national territory. Under the Telecommunications law, when defining the number, the President of UKE shall take account of, inter alia, justified needs of the inhabitants.
The survey was carried out on a representative sample composed of 2,000 respondents above 18 years old and the sample of 1025 disabled persons. Representative choice of the sample enables the results of the survey to be translated into the entire population of Poland.
The fundamental objectives of the survey were to:
- Establish the frequency of using public pay phones by consumers and disabled persons, split into particular types of communes (rural, mixed (urban-rural) and rural),
- To define the extent to which services provided by means of public pay phones to consumers and disabled persons, split into particular types of communes,
- To set out the reasons for not using public pay phones by consumers and disabled persons, split into particular types of communes,
- To define the level of public pay phones availability to consumers and disabled persons, split into particular types of communes.
A. The level of using different forms of electronic communications
- 95% of Poles have access to other electronic communications means than a public pay phone (a private or a company mobile phone, a fixed-line phone at home or at work, Internet, a phone at the neighbours’ or acquaintances’ place). 80% of Poles use private mobile phones (60% of disabled persons).
- 8% of the respondents and 20% of disabled persons used a public pay phone in the course of the last year,
- ten times as many people from amongst all Poles use mobile phones rather than public pay phones. As for disabled persons this proportion is only 3:1. This proves that the status of telephone boxes as a means to communicate with the world is more important in this group than among consumers in general.
B. The frequency of using telephone boxes and types of calls made
- The Poles use public pay phones 3.3 times a month on average while disabled persons 2.2 times a month (only people using public pay phones were taken into account in calculating the average values).
- Most frequently the Poles make local calls using telephone boxes. The further the distance of fixed-line calls (long-distance, international), the less and less often the respondents indicate them as calls made by means of public pay phones.
- Disabled persons more frequently than the average users make local calls and calls to emergency numbers from telephone boxes. They also receive calls in the telephone boxes more often. However, they make other types of calls using public pay phones less frequently.
C. Reasons for not using public pay phones
- The respondents who did not use public pay phones in the course of the last year, representative for all consumers, most frequently explained this fact by having their own phone (a bit more often for urban communes than for mixed and rural communes) as well as no by no need to make phone calls (slightly more frequently for mixed and rural communes than for urban communes).
- Disabled consumers who during the last year did not make any calls using public pay phones slightly less frequently than other consumers explained this fact by having their own phone (although even in this group this reason was prevailing), while slightly more frequently by no need to make phone calls.
D. The availability of public pay phones
- The availability of telephone boxes is not a problem for the great majority of consumers. Only 4% of Poles quote insufficient number of pay phones as the reason for not using them.
- However, the problem is greater for disabled persons with 8% of this group not using telephone boxes because there are too few of them in their place of residence. 57% of disabled persons declare that there is a public pay phone that they can use on their own in their place of residence.
E. Possible factors affecting more frequent usage of public pay phones in the future
- The great majority of Poles (circa 80%) are not inclined to use telephone boxes, even if prices for calls fell down, their availability increased and functionality improved.
- Disabled persons are inclined to use telephone boxes more frequently if all the above factors improved (depending on a factor, from 23% to 35% of disabled persons declare to use telephone boxes more frequently).
- The most important factor with potentially most impact on more frequent usage of public pay phones includes lower prices for calls (23% of all respondents and 35% of disabled users would then be able to make more phone calls using telephone boxes). Slightly less important factors with potential impact on more frequent usage of public pay phones include: the location of a telephone box closer to one’ home (17% and 27% as appropriate) and larger number of public pay phones and their better functioning (14% and 23%).
F. The type of a commune versus public pay phones usage
- Independently of the type of a commune the usage of public pay phones by the respondents in the course of the last year ranged at a similar level (from 7% to 9% of users depending on the type of a commune).
- The collected data indicates however that the availability of public pay phones in mixed and in rural communes is lower than in urban communes (according to 6% of inhabitants in mixed and rural communes that do not use public pay phones there are too few phones in their place of residence; for urban communes this opinion was shared by 1% of the inhabitants). In addition, the inhabitants of rural and mixed communes more frequently than the inhabitants of urban communes declare that they would use telephone boxes more often if their availability increased, prices fell down and the quality of service improved (however, it is important to note that the most important incentive would be the price).
- The type of a commune has a clear impact on the usage of public pay phones among disabled persons. The percentage of disabled persons using public pay phones is higher for urban communes than for other types of communes (urban communes - 26%; rural communes – 14%, mixed communes – 18%). This results from better availability of public pay phones which the disabled can use on their own in urban communes (67%) than in mixed communes (49%) and in rural communes (52%). Better availability of public pay phones in urban areas is proved by the fact that disabled persons residing in rural communes and not using public pay phones (12%) point to the lack of sufficient number of telephone boxes more often than consumers residing in urban (5%) and in mixed communes (7%). However, it is worth noting that a lower level of public pay phones usage by disabled persons residing in rural communes may also result from greater social isolation (or potentially from a sufficient network of personal direct contacts). This hypothesis seems to be supported by the fact that the impact of different factors encouraging more frequent usage of public pay phones is slightly greater in the case of disabled persons residing in urban communes than in other types of communes.
- The frequency of calls made using public pay phones by the respondents residing in urban areas is lower than in the case of respondents residing in rural areas (both for all consumers and for disabled consumers).
G. Disabilities versus public pay phones usage
- Disabilities, in addition to such factors as mature age, living off transfer sources, professional passivity, contribute to technological exclusion. Both for nationwide population and for the disabled group of users modern communication tools were most rarely seen among people above 60, the retired, pensioners and professionally passive.
- Disability may be however treated as a factor increasing technological isolation in the above groups susceptible to “technological exclusion”.
- Apart from technological isolation there is another factor in the form of poorer social networks among the disabled persons that has influence on public pay phones usage. In effect, there are more public pay phones users among disabled persons, but making fewer calls. At the same time no need to make any phone calls is observed more frequently among the disabled users.
The Report is available in Polish.