Mobile internet growth beginning to slow
A stellar 54.6% expansion in mobile broadband uptake in Venezuela brought total subscriptions in the country up to 0.9 million in 2010, according to telecom regulator Comisión Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (CONATEL). Since then, growth rates have slowed down, with 15.2% uptake in 2012, bringing mobile broadband subscriptions up to 1.4 million subscribers. That’s compared to 30.5 million mobile connections in the country last year, indicating that despite fast mobile broadband uptake, most still not do not access the web on their phone.
Despite the downward trend seen in mobile broadband growth in recent years, the category continued to outpace fixed broadband and overall internet user growth, which registered improvements of 12.4% and 6.2%, respectively, last year. There were 2 million fixed broadband subscriptions and 12.6 million internet users in Venezuela in 2012, according to CONATEL.
Given the mature state of the mobile market, which reaches 102.5% of the population, according to CONATEL, it’s likely that feature phone users are switching to devices with mobile broadband capabilities faster than internet users are leaving their desktops for a mobile device. Overall, mobile connections in Venezuela increased by an average 2.8% in the last three years in Venezuela.
Thus, Venezuela seems to be following a pattern observed across the region, where fixed broadband subscriptions never became ubiquitous and now are being bypassed by consumers who favor mobile broadband connections.
eMarketer estimates that fixed broadband subscription growth in Latin America will register a 9.9% increase this year and will gradually slow down as the markets in the region mature, reaching its lowest growth rate (4.8%) by 2017.
Mobile phone internet user growth, on the other hand, is expected to rise by 35% in 2013, and maintain double-digit growth rates through the forecast period. The region will lead the world in mobile internet user growth.
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