Portugal has 14.923 million subscribers to mobile telephone service

At the end of the 1st quarter of 2009 there were 14.923 million Mobile Telephone Service subscribers in Portugal, 0.1% more than in the previous quarter and 9.1% more than in the same quarter of the previous year.

Post-paid cards now represents 27% of the total number of subscribers. This trend is associated with the sign up of subscribers to UMTS based data services which, typically, involve the payment of a monthly charge.

The proportion represented by prepaid card subscribers stands at 73% of the total number of subscribers, falling 0.9% over the quarter.

At the end of March, the penetration rate of the land mobile service rose to 140.6 per 100 inhabitants.

Graph: Service penetration rate in EU27

Interpretation of the figures given for MTS subscribers and penetration rate should take account of the fact that there are users who have more than one card for accessing the service – according to ICP-ANACOM’s most recent survey on the consumption of electronic communications, around 10% of MTS customers had more than one active card.  Additionally, there are SIM cards used exclusively for Internet access and data services; there are active cards used in machines, equipment and vehicles (e.g. automatic payment terminals using the mobile network, alarm, security, telemetric and telematic equipment, etc); as well as cards for corporate use.

In the first quarter of 2009, the number of users with access to UMTS services exceeded 4.8 million.  The number of active users reached 1.6 million, up 23.3% on the previous quarter and up 70.5% year-on-year.

The potential users of UMTS/HSPA services represent 32.4% of the total number of MTS subscribers, while active users make up 10.6% of all mobile subscribers.

UMTS penetration at the end of March was 45.5 per 100 inhabitants, and according to available information regarding December 2008, the penetration rate reported at that time for Portugal (40.7 per 100 inhabitants) was above the EU average (21.4  per 100 inhabitants), with Portugal occupying third place in these rankings.

Graph: UMTS penetration in EU27

Between January and March, subscribers of the mobile service made over 1.94 million calls, 0.5% less than in the previous quarter – the first quarter of the year normally coincides with a drop in traffic compared to the previous quarter.  Year-on-year, the number of call increased 10.4%.

Over the same period, the number of calls received on the mobile network was around 1.95 billion, a decrease of 0.1% over the previous quarter and increase of 10.1% year-on-year. Mobile-fixed traffic declined 12.8% over the previous quarter, accelerating the downward trend seen over recent years.

The number of conversation minutes originating on mobile networks totalled 4.1 billion minutes, an increase of 1.5% over the previous quarter and an increase of 18.1% over the same quarter of 2008. 

The number of minutes terminated on mobile networks totalled over 4.1 billion minutes, a 2.5% increase over the previous quarter. 

6 billion text messages were sent during the quarter, around 2.5% more than in the previous quarter.

The average number of messages sent per subscriber reached 135 per month, during the period.

Meanwhile, 1.3 million video-calls were made during the quarter, an increase of 1.1% over the previous quarter and a year-on-year increase of 50.3%..  The conversation time associated with these calls also rose (by around 4.9% over the previous quarter).

During the quarter being reported, roaming in traffic fell, compared to the previous quarter, by 21.4% in the case of calls, 18.4% in the case of minutes and 24.9% in the case of messages, impacted by seasonal effects.

Roaming out traffic also fell over the quarter in terms of calls, minutes and messages: -2.5%, -3.8% and -5.3%, respectively. These declines go beyond the normal seasonal effects mentioned above.