DigitalizationOnline services for telephone and messaging services widely used in Germany

Today, the German Federal Network Agency published its report on the private use of OTT communication services in Germany. The results show that the vast majority of 83 percent of German consumers regularly use so-called OTT communication services. These services  for Internet telephony and messaging are provided online and thus ‘over-the-top‘ (OTT) in contrast to traditional telephone and messaging services.

For this report, the German Federal Network Agency in cooperation with the opinion research institute INFO GmbH conducted a representative consumer survey with a total of 2,210 people in Germany in late 2019.

These are further details:

  • 83 percent of respondents said that they use OTT communication services on a regular basis. The user share among the age group of 16 to 29-year-olds even amounted to 98 percent.
  • In Germany, services such as WhatsApp (96 percent), Facebook Messenger (42 percent), Instagram (30 percent), Skype (18 percent) and Snapchat (12 percent) are the most commonly used.
  • Roughly two thirds of respondents (65 percent) said that they use at least two different OTT services simultaneously – this is known as ‘multihoming‘.
  • Consumers use OTT services regularly to send text and visual messages (95 percent) or for Internet telephony (48 percent).
  • 81 percent of users stated that they send text messages on a daily basis and 61 percent said that they communicate more than before as a result of the spread of OTT communication.
  • Despite the availability of Internet telephony, OTT users continue to make telephone calls more frequently and more intensively via their mobile phones (75 percent) and landline (59 percent). Only 22 percent regularly use the internet telephony of their OTT service.
  • Another 74 percent of all OTT users said they could not imagine to completely refrain from using traditional mobile telephony.

Jochen Homann, President of the German Federal Network Agency, commented: "Services like Skype, WhatsApp and Threema have spread rapidly in recent years and are now being used by large parts of the population. However, traditional telecommunications services still play an important role for consumers. Our survey shows that the three most popular services – WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram – all belong to the Facebook company."

Source: German Federal Network Agency

More information and the report