By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Data released yesterday (July 2nd) by the National Telecommunications Agency (ANATEL) shows that Brazil closed the month of May with 235.5 million cell lines. The total was 6.7 million lower than that recorded in May last year, according the national government news agency.
This marks several years of nominal declines following a major growth period booming in 2009, when Brazil’s domestic mobile phone market reached 154.5 million users making the country the fifth biggest mobile consumer in the world behind China, America, India and Russia at the time.
Of the total 235.5 million lines registered in May 2018, 144.15 million were prepaid, representing 61 percent. In the period of one year, the fall in this type of access was highest, reaching 17.7 million.
Meanwhile, in the same period postpaid contracts grew by eleven million. That is, although the balance of the last twelve months was negative, the proportion of postpaid accesses increased in the country.
In general, this postpaid category is related to larger packets of voice and data, and monthly cost. Also statistics measure chips, not the number of people with multiple lines.
ANATEL data shows that 4G technology has established itself in the country. This mode was the most popular among connections, reaching almost half of these (49 percent). After four years of the implementation of this technology, 3G is still representative, being used in 31.7 percent, while 2G is present in twelve percent of the lines nation wide.
For ANATEL the decline in the number of mobile phone lines in recent years is due to 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,” the regulator stated in 2016.
Agencia Brasil also released a report showing Telefónica’s Vivo operator is the market leader with 31.9 percent of the lines. Next came Claro (25 percent), TIM (24.25 percent) and Oi (16.5 percent). While Claro consolidates offering internet access and pay TV through NET, Oi continues to seek solutions to its financial crisis.
In state-by-state analysis, São Paulo has 65.5 million lines. The state is followed by Minas Gerais (22.4 million), Rio de Janeiro (20.5 million). According to ANATEL, in the last twelve months, the increase in the cellular telephone base was higher in the northern states, such as Roraima (+ 4.5 percent) and Amazonas (3.65 percent).