New survey rates expat destinations for their ease of digital life

Published:  23 May at 6 PM
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If you’re determined to relocate to Italy and are a social media fan, perhaps another choice of destination might be the best idea.

The results of a recent survey might come as a shock to would-be expats hoping to work or retire in this stunningly beautiful land, as expats in Italy are the least satisfied with their digital services of all foreigners living in Europe. It’s not just poor internet services, as paying for purchases using a credit or debit card is also almost impossible. The latest survey by InterNations involved the digital experiences of expatriates living in 68 world countries and included access to high speed internet, cashless purchases, getting a mobile phone number and other digital services.

Out of the 68 countries surveyed, Italy ranked 57th, placing it the worst in Europe with Germany following as the second worst. The really bad news for Italy is that it’s ranked lower than countries such as Vietnam, Kazakhstan and even the Dominican Republic. Overall, 75 per cent of expat respondents worldwide were relatively satisfied which their local internet access, but Italy’s digital services saw just 61 per cent satisfaction, with similar results for ease of paying by card rather than by cash.

Getting a mobile phone in the region was more successful, with 82 per cent saying it had been straightforward, and most respondents were happy with online governmental services as well as with access to social media. In general, some 69 per cent of Italian homes were connected to the internet, although the over-65 age group was represented by only 21 per cent and Italy’s poorer southern regions of Calabria and Sicily had the lowest rate of internet connectivity at just under 60 per cent.

Across the world, expats in Estonia, Norway and Finland were the most pleased with their digital services, whilst those in Myanmar, India China and Egypt were the least satisfied. Denmark took fourth place overall, winning second place for ease of cashless payments, and its governmental online services were approved by 90 per cent of respondents. Unfortunately, arranging a local mobile phone number caused problems. Winner as regards a cashless society was Sweden’s 95 per cent score, and foreign residents were also pleased with its internet services.

Spain, a popular expat destination for British retirees, received lack-lustre ratings on all fronts from overall digital life and unrestricted internet access to online government services, but scored well as a cashless society. France’s poor performance in ease of digital life seems to relate to its overall lack of computer literacy, and getting a mobile phone wasn’t easy. As regards Germany, it’s in the world’s bottom 10 for getting a mobile phone number as well as for paying without cash.
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