Number of broadband clients using fibre grows 78% in the quarter

At the end of the first quarter of 2010, there were 2.17 million mobile broadband Internet users in Portugal reported with actual use; of these 1.2 million accessed the Internet using cards/modem. Meanwhile, there were 1.97 million customers with fixed access, of which 1.936 million used broadband.

The number of users reported as actually using mobile broadband internet during the period being reported declined by 4.5% compared to the previous quarter, but rose 55.7% compared to the first quarter of 2009.

The number of customers with fixed Internet access increased by 3.7% compared to the previous quarter and by 13.4% compared to the first quarter of 2009.

The majority of fixed Internet access service customers - 1.94 million - use broadband, 72 thousand or 3.8% more than in the previous quarter, while year-on-year, the number of broadband customers rose by 14.1%.  The customers of these services represent around 98.4% of all customers.

ADSL remains the principal broadband Internet access technology, now representing 55% of the total, while Cable modem is used by 40.7% of fixed broadband customers. During the quarter being reported, cable modem attracted around 53% of subscribers to the service in net terms and access to the Internet using FTTH/B attracted around 33% of these customers.

Offers based on leased lines, FWA and optical fibre (FTTH/B), representing 4% of all customers, has grown sharply, in excess of 45%.  This can be put down, above all, to offers based on optical fibre (FTTH/B), which at the end of March was reported as having around 54 thousand customers, 78% more than reported for the previous quarter.  Around 95% of these customers were residential.

As far as market share of fixed broadband access is concerned, Grupo Portugal Telecom’s share of customers stood at 44.9%, 0.4 percentage points higher than in the previous quarter.

Grupo ZON’s share of customers stood at 32.6%, 0.4 percentage points more than in December.

Among the operators reporting the greatest absolute gain in customers, note is made of Grupo PT and Grupo ZON, with gains of 38 thousand and 30 thousand customers respectively. It is noted that Cabovisão again increased its number of customers following a period in which it saw consecutive declines.

In terms of customers accessing mobile broadband with cards/modems, the share of TMN was reported at 55.4%%, followed by Vodafone with 23.7% and Optimus with 18.3%. ZON has a share of 2.5%.

Broadband Internet access traffic grew by around 14% between January and March. This movement is explained in most part by the trend reported for fixed broadband traffic (+13.7%) which represents 95.2% of the total. The growth rate of fixed traffic outpaced the growth seen in the number of customers.

Internet access traffic from mobile connections (in Gb) grew by 22.6% in the period, an identical rate of growth as reported in the previous quarter.  It is noted that 97% of total mobile broadband traffic comprises connections made using cards/modem.

In terms of average traffic per fixed broadband customer, each customer generated an average of 22.4Gb of traffic per month, 2 Gb more than in 4Q09 and 31% above the level reported in the first quarter of 2009.

Meanwhile, the average traffic generated by mobile broadband customers with actual use (1.0 Gb per customer per month) is significantly lower than the average reported for fixed broadband traffic, while increasing by around 28% over the previous quarter.

The average traffic generated by mobile broadband customers using cards/modem, with actual use (1.82 Gb per customer per month) is also significantly lower than the average reported for fixed broadband traffic.

The difference in the traffic generated by fixed and mobile broadband customers is due to the traffic limits imposed by the mobile broadband offers, which are far lower than those of fixed broadband, due to the prices charged with respect to each technology and to the different user profiles associated with two type of broadband Internet access.

In the first quarter of 2010, the individualised revenues of the fixed Internet access service (accumulated for the year) totalled around 100 million euros. This revenue is derived from stand-alone and multiple play offers with a separable Internet component. These revenues show a decline of 8% compared to the same quarter of 2009, resulting from the increase in offers of Internet access as part of service bundles.

Revenue which cannot be separated, derived from bundles of services which include the Internet access service, reached around 46.6 million euros in the 1st quarter of 2010.

Meanwhile revenue derived from the mobile Internet access service reached 91.9 million euros, 5.5% more than the value reported for the same period of the previous year.

At the end of March, the penetration rate of broadband Internet access stood at 18.2 per 100 inhabitants for fixed access and at 19.5 per 100 inhabitants for mobile access with actual use.