Information technology and telecommunications

​This is without doubt one of the fields that has had the fastest growth in the last ten or fifteen years in Estonia, and also was basically unaffected by the economic crisis.

​Estonians began using cell phones quite quickly. Now there are 1.6 million cell phones in use in a population of just 1.3 million. Various mobile services started spreading in Estonia rather early, for instance paying for parking and bus tickets, visiting museums, and m-banking (mobile banking). Nowadays many people can't imagine that some services (paid parking, for example) could be different. The popularity of cell phones has brought a decrease in the use of desk phones, and now only about 40% of families use one, although this decrease seems to have stopped. Since 2010, there’s not a single coin-operated pay phone in Estonia.

​About 71% of Estonian families have connections to the Internet and it is estimated that almost the entire population can access the web, because mobile Internet has spread quickly and the electric network company Elering also offers connections. 94% of families have broadband connection. Also, countrywide a wide-band connection is being established.

Naturally, young people use computers and the Internet (because the Internet is accessible to nearly everyone, they are almost the same) more actively: according to a research project, more than 98% of the population aged 16-25 were computer users; but 26% of the 65-74 age group also used computers and the Internet (the data is from 2001). The overall percentage of users was 77% in 2011. 94% of them used computers at home, almost 42% at work and over 17% at school.

​The Internet is most often used for reading e-mail and newspapers, and using bank services (89%). Also, information about private services and products (70%), and public services is sought (63%), various applications are downloaded and filled out online (41-47%), jobs are searched for (33%), travel services are used (32%), and phone calls through the Internet are made (50%). Although almost all Estonians fill out their tax returns electronically, and perform most bank deals on a net bank, they are quite reluctant to use Internet commerce: only 27% of the users have bought something through the Internet. Mostly, different tickets are bought (52%), but travel services (49%), books (27%) and clothes (44%) are also popular. Since joining the euro zone, purchases through the Internet have increased remarkably.

Almost all businesses use computers and do their accounting exclusively on computers. The hearings of the Estonian government are electronic: paper documents have been replaced by computer screens. More and more public services are offered through the Internet.​

This major increase in electronic procedures is partially due to all Estonian citizens having an ID-card that lets one safely use net services and a digital signature. In Estonia, it is possible to vote through the Internet and more than 140,000 voters (15.4% of eligible voters and 24.3% of actual voters) took advantage of this opportunity when the election of 2011 took place.

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