The number of mobile connections in Brazil continues to rise, with consumers moving to faster networks
Brazil closed July with 267.0 million mobile connections, up from 261.8 million in December 2012, according to data from the Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações (ANATEL). This translates to an average of about 1.3 connections per person, including 2G, 3G and 4G mobile phone lines, mobile broadband modems and slower machine-to-machine (M2M) service.
Importantly, postpaid plans took a growing share of total subscriptions, reaching 20.77% of mobile connections in July. As this trend continues through 2013, it will mark the fifth year in a row that postpaid growth has topped that of prepaid.
eMarketer estimates there will be 142.7 million mobile phone users in Brazil in 2013, or 71% of the country’s population. This will be a 2.3% rise over 2012, but a significant drop in growth compared to recent years, suggesting the market may be reaching saturation.
Where there is still room for growth is in the shift from older and slower 2G (GSM) networks to faster 3G (WCDMA) and 4G (LTE) standards. Between March and July 2013, there was a modest 6% drop in the number of active 2G connections, but a significant 20% bump in the number of 3G connections. Even more growth came from 4G subscriptions, which grew 1650% over the previous three months, however this was from a much smaller base.
With numbers showing positive growth for device usage on faster networks, the telecommunications industry is hopeful that the flux of consumers to 4G connections will unburden 3G networks, helping service become faster and more reliable in the medium and long term.
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