Pre-paid mobile phones make up less than 52% of the total market

As at the end of 3rd quarter 2015, there were 16.7 million active SIM cards in Portugal, of which 12.8 million (76.5% of the total) saw actual use during the quarter. Excluding cards/modems and cards associated with machine-to-machine communications (M2M), the number of active mobile stations/user devices with actual use in 3rd quarter 2015 totalled about 11.7 million, a slight increase over the previous quarter (+0.3%) and a fall over the same period of 2014 (-1%).

There was further migration of subscribers from pre-paid plans to combined/hybrid plans and to post-paid plans, especially those associated with multiple-play offers which include fixed services and the mobile telephone service. As a result of this trend, at the end of September, the proportion of pre-paid subscribers fell to 51.7% (8.1 percentage points less than a year earlier). In March 2005, pre-paid customers represented 81% of the total, the highest ever.

Meanwhile, the mobile service penetration rate was reported at 161.4 per 100 inhabitants. Calculated considering only cards with actual use, the penetration rate was 123.5 per 100 inhabitants.

There were around 5.7 million actual users of services which are typical of mobile broadband (i.e. video telephony, data transmission, broadband, mobile TV, etc.), falling by 0.5% from the previous quarter but increasing by 17.3% over 3rd quarter 2014 to represent 44.1% of total SIM cards with actual use. The growth reported in the use of these services (in year-on-year terms) is associated with an increase in the number of mobile phone Internet users (+27.9%), particularly where the service is included in a bundled offer, and with growing penetration of smartphones.

MEO retained its position as leading provider, with 44.3% of active cards with actual use, followed by Vodafone with 33.5% and NOS with a share of 20.6%.

Users of the text messaging service (SMS) sent 10.6% fewer messages than during the same period of 2014. An average of 237 messages were sent by users of this service each month (267 in 3Q14), representing about 8 messages per day. SMS traffic has been significantly reduced with the appearance of alternative forms of communication.

The number of users of the international roaming service outside Portugal represents 7.9% of total SIM cards with actual use, excluding cards/modems and M2M equipment.

The volume of accumulated revenues from services to end-customers up to the end of 3Q15 totalled about 1.111 billion euros, falling 18.8% year-on-year.

Consult the statistical report: