Mobile service sees a drop in active cards in the 1st quarter

As at the end of March there were 16.455 million active SIM cards in Portugal, 1.7% fewer than at the end of 2014. Among these active cards, 12.8 million (77.7% of the total) saw actual use during the first quarter.

In terms of market share, MEO remains the leading provider with 47.5% of active mobile cards, followed by Vodafone with 31.8%. Meanwhile, NOS, with a share of 18.9%, was the only provider to report an increase in the number of cards, growing its market share by 0.5 percentage points.

The use of prepaid tariff plans is falling. At the end of March, 54.3% of mobile cards were associated with prepaid plans, 10.8 percentage points less than a year earlier. This can be explained by the increased penetration of multiple-play tariffs that include the mobile service.

There were around five million actual users of services which are typical of mobile broadband (i.e. video telephony, broadband data transmission, mobile TV, etc.), increasing 12.6% versus the same quarter of 2014 and representing 38.8% of the total of mobile stations with actual use. The increased use of these services is associated with increased mobile phone Internet access, which grew by 25.3% on the back of an expansion in bundled offers and growing smartphone penetration.

Residential use of the mobile phone Internet access service was reported at 45.5%, while smartphone penetration reached 55.7% at the end of March, with five million residents in Portugal using these devices according to Marktest's Barómetro de Telecomunicações (Telecommunications Barometer).

During the period being reported, the volume of conversation minutes originating on mobile networks fell by 1.9% versus 4th quarter 2014, but increased by 9.5% on year-on-year terms. The growth seen in year-on-year terms is due mainly to the growth in off-net traffic following the introduction of offers with included calls and the discontinuation of tariff differentiation between on-net and off-net calls, particularly in bundled offers that include the mobile service.

Users of the text messaging service (SMS) sent 12.3% fewer messages versus 1st quarter 2014, given the emergence of alternative forms of communication.

The volume of customer revenues (excluding revenues from mobile services included in fixed service bundles) totalled around 369 million euros as at the end of March, 19.6% less than as at the end of March 2014. Average monthly revenue per subscriber was 9.6 euros.