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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The number of active cell lines in Brazil fell by 5.38 percent in January, compared to the same month last year, according to the National Telecommunications Agency (ANATEL). Compared to December of 2016, the decrease was of 0.27 percent.

Brazilians are using their mobile devices less as telephones and more as Internet connections, photo courtesy of Agencia Brasil.

Due to the dismal economic situation, paid-TV subscriptions also fell during the same period by almost two percent.

For ANATEL the decline in the number of mobile phone lines is a consequence of the reduction of the interconnection tariff, the amount charged by companies for the connection between operators.

“With lower prices of calls from one company to another, consumers have canceled the chips from different providers,” says the regulator. The total of mobile lines registered in the country in January was of 243.42 million.

The largest decline in the number of lines was registered in the prepaid mode. In the past to be able to pay the lowest, or even no-fee charges in mobile phones (calls between the same company), Brazilians resorted to purchasing cell phones which had the capability of accepting up to four chips from different mobile operators. Contacts were often listed as ‘Maria-Vivo’ or ‘Luiz-Claro’ to denote the carrier.

The economic slowdown also contributed to the a decline in the number of pay-TV customers in country. Data from ANATEL released this week shows that pay-TV subscriptions fell by 1.91 percent between January of 2016 and January of 2017, with a reduction of 364,400 subscribers.

Currently, the country has 18.69 million pay-TV customers, with satellite technology being the medium with the largest number of subscribers, 10.6 million customers, followed by cable TV with 7.7 million.

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