Number of telephone accesses continues to increase

The total number of main telephone accesses installed at customer request stood at around 4.18 million as at the end of the first quarter of 2010, corresponding to a penetration rate of approximately 39.3 accesses per 100 inhabitants. Compared to the previous quarter, there was a 1.1% increase in the number of accesses, with a year-on-year increase reported of 3.6%.

During the quarter, the number of installed public payphones was reported at 32.8 thousand, 1.3% fewer than in the previous quarter and 6.8% fewer than in the first quarter of 2009.

Most of the installed accesses continued to belong to companies of the Portugal Telecom Group (Grupo PT) operating in these markets with 63.1% of the total, one percentage point less than at the end of the previous quarter and 4.3 percentage points less than in the same quarter of 2009.

Meanwhile, there were around 3.418 million fixed telephone service customers using direct access, an increase of 1.8% on the previous quarter and an increase of 6.9% on the same quarter of 2009. This trend was significantly driven by packaged offers which combine fixed telephone and cable television and/or Internet as well as the offers from alternative providers based on GSM/UMTS technology. 

The number of indirect access customers using operator pre-selection fell by 4.2%, to 136 thousand, the lowest level since 2001. 

The number of active nomadic VoIP customers declined by 1.1% over the previous quarter to around 111.6 thousand active customers. Since the beginning of 2009, the number of nomadic VoIP customers has been in a downward trend. This decline can be put down to the migration by one operator of a significant set of its customers to other types of voice telephony solutions. 

Grupo PT's share of direct access customers has been falling since 2000. In this quarter, Grupo PT's share was reported at 56.7% with a decline of 0.9 percentage points over the previous quarter and 5.6 percentage points over the same quarter of 2009.

In the three months being reported, around 95% of new direct access customers subscribed to the services provided by the operators of Grupo ZON, which increased its share of customers by 1.4 percentage points compared to the previous quarter.

Total voice traffic originating on the fixed network during the quarter totalled around two billion minutes. In comparison to the previous quarter, and contrary to the trend seen in the number of accesses installed at customer request, the volume of minutes and the volume of calls declined by 1.9% and 1.5% respectively, while year-on-year an increase was reported in the volume of minutes of 2.3%.

In terms of traffic associated with the nomadic VoIP service, a significant decline was reported in year-on-year terms, in line with the size of the fall seen in the number of active customers.

Looking at indirect access, it can be seen that 7%, of all voice minutes originated through indirect access, 1.7 percentage point less than the figure reported in the previous quarter and 3.8 percentage points less than in the same quarter of 2009.

In terms of market share, Grupo PT was reported as having 61% of total voice traffic in the first quarter, compared to 61.6% in the previous quarter.