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Of the six major economies in Latin America, Peru has the least developed mobile market. As a result, advertisers have resisted moving much of their digital budgets toward mobile. But that will continue to change over the next few years, as the number of smartphone users continues to increase, giving advertisers more reason to boost mobile investment, as explored in a new eMarketer report, “Mobile Peru 2016: Updated Forecasts and Key Growth Trends” (eMarketer PRO customers only).
Total mobile connections in Peru reached 34.2 million in 2015, up 7.4% from a year earlier, according to local telecom regulator Organismo Supervisor de Inversión Privada en Telecomunicaciones (OSIPTEL). In March 2016, mobile connections had risen to 35.2 million.
Mobile connection penetration exceeded 100% of Peru’s population in December 2010 and has stood above that threshold since, reaching 117.1% in March 2016, according to OSIPTEL records.
The metropolitan area of Lima (the nation’s capital) and Callao accounted for 38.2% of mobile connections in March 2016, according to OSIPTEL. Combined with the Arequipa (5.5%), La Libertad (5.7%) and Piura (4.8%) departments—a political demarcation akin to states in the US—these coastal areas contain 54.3% of mobile connections and just over half (50.9%) of the population in the country.
Peru is divided into three distinct natural regions: costa, sierra and selva (coast, highlands and jungle), each with distinct characteristics that affect human settlement as well as their economic and technological development. Because of their harsher landscape, mobile development in both the highlands and jungle is behind that of the coast. For example, Cusco (in the highlands) had just a 4% share of mobile connections nationwide in March 2016, and was home to 4.2% of the population in late 2015. And the Amazonas (in the jungle), home to 1.4% of the population, accounted for 0.9% of mobile connections, according to Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática (INEI) and OSIPTEL estimates.
Of the four major mobile carriers in Peru, Spanish Telefónica’s Movistar has remained on top by a wide margin. According to OSIPTEL, Movistar provided 50.2% of mobile connections—some 17.7 million—in March 2016. As is usually the case across Latin America, Peru is a battleground between Telefónica and América Móvil. The latter serves the country under the Claro brand with a 34.3% market share.
eMarketer estimates that mobile phone owners in Peru will total 20.0 million in 2016, a 3.0% year-over-year increase. The mobile phone user expansion will therefore be three times that of population growth this year (1.1%), and will remain above it for the remainder of the decade. Mobile phone user penetration will rise slightly, from 65.1% this year to 68.1% in 2020, when 21.7 million individuals will regularly use a mobile phone.
Peru ranks fifth in Latin America both by total mobile phone users and penetration. Peru’s position in both rankings will remain the same through 2020, despite the country registering the highest mobile phone user growth rates during the forecast period.
OSIPTEL estimates that there were 15.4 million mobile phone internet users in Peru during Q4 2015, up from 12.5 million a year prior. The steadier postpaid method of subscriptions was nevertheless in the minority—just over one-fifth of the total, or 3.5 million.
As of late 2015, Telefónica’s Movistar leads the mobile internet market in Peru with 7.8 million users, translating to a 51% market share. Claro trails with a 36% slice, according to OSIPTEL.
Mobile internet access via other mobile devices is largely under Claro’s control, with a 41% market share, followed by Entel’s 20%. Movistar serves only 19% of this secondary market, which includes tablets, dongles and modem cards.
eMarketer PRO customers can view the full report here.
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