Pre-paid plans make up less than 50% of Portuguese mobile market for first time

In the 1st quarter of 2016, for the first time, the number of customers in Portugal with prepaid mobile phones (8.3 million) made up less than 50% of the total market (49.7%). This trend is being driven by migration from pre-paid plans to plans associated with bundles of services which comprise fixed and mobile telephone services.

Meanwhile, 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 2.3% from the previous quarter but increasing by 6% over 1st quarter 2015 to represent 44.6% of total SIM cards with actual use. The increased use of these services, in year-on-year terms (+13.2% compared to 1Q15), is associated with the increased number of mobile phone Internet users especially where included in bundled offers and the increasing penetration of smartphone users.

MEO remains the main provider, with 44.5% of active SIM cards with actual use, rising from 44.2% in the previous quarter, followed by Vodafone with 32.4% (versus 33.4% in the previous quarter). NOS, with a share of 21.7%, was the provider that saw the greatest increase to its share from the first quarter (+0.8 percentage points).

In April 2016, commercial offers were launched by two new virtual mobile operators (MVNO) - Cabovisão and Onitelecom.

Penetration of the mobile service at the end of March amounted to 161.6 per 100 inhabitants. Total SIM cards with actual use made up 123.2 per 100 inhabitants.

At the end of 1st quarter 2016, there were 16.8 million active SIM cards in Portugal, of which 12.8 million (76.2% of the total) saw actual use during the quarter. Excluding tablets/PCs and SIM associated with machine-to-machine communications (M2M), there were 11.5 million mobile stations/devices with actual use (a decline of 1.6 percent over the previous quarter and a decline of 0.7 percent over 1Q15).

Voice traffic fell 1.6% from the previous quarter and rose 4.8% year-on-year. The annual growth is due to increased off-net traffic (surpassing 26.1%), due to the introduction of the offers with included calls and the elimination of tariff differentiation between on-net and off-net calls, particularly in bundled offers that comprise the mobile service.

Users of the text messaging service sent 9.2 percent fewer messages than in the same quarter of 2015, due to the emergence of alternative forms of Internet-based communication. (Mobile phone Internet apps).

Roaming out traffic increased over 1Q15, with a notable increase in the volume of Internet traffic (increasing by 122.6%). This increase may be associated, among other factors, with the entry into force of the new caps on retail charges for roaming within the European Union and European Economic Area.

Roaming in traffic decreased from the previous quarter as is usual at this time of year. Compared to the same quarter of 2015, there were increases reported in all types of traffic, particularly in Internet traffic (+156.1%).

Accumulated revenues derived from services provided to end customers during the quarter totalled about 342 million euros, declining by 7.2% percent over the same period of the previous year. Average monthly revenue per mobile subscriber average was 8.9 euros.

Consult the statistical report: