Broadband dominates Portugal Internet access

/ Updated on 09.03.2011

As at the end of the fourth quarter, there were around 2.6 million users in Portugal who actually used mobile broadband Internet, of which 1.3 million had access using cards and modem, and around 2.1 million customers with fixed internet access, of which approximately 2.08 million were broadband.

The number of users reported as actually using mobile broadband internet during the period being reported increased by 4.7% compared to the previous quarter, and increased by 18.9% compared to the fourth quarter of 2009.

The number of customers with fixed Internet access increased by 2.5% compared to the previous quarter and by 10.9% compared to the fourth quarter of 2009, with the majority of customers (98.6%) using broadband: the customers of these services represent around 98.6% of all customers. As such, the number of fixed broadband customers rose by 2.6% in comparison to the previous quarter and by 11.3% year-on-year. Meanwhile, the number of dial-up customers continues to decline.

With regard to fixed broadband access technologies, ADSL remains the principal technology, now representing 51.5% of the total. For the third consecutive quarter, ADSL has seen near zero growth. Cable modem is used by 41.1% of fixed broadband customers, accounting for half of new subscriptions to the service (in net terms). The "others" category - which includes optical fibre - represents just 7.4% of the total, while likewise accounting for around half of new subscriptions in the quarter being reported, as a result of very high rates of growth (20.2%).

Meanwhile, it was reported that there around 130 thousand customers with Internet access based on optical fibre (FTTH/B), which represents an increase of 26.2% over the previous quarter. Around 96% of this total is comprised of residential customers. Internet access based on optical fibre (FTTH/B), which grew to 6.3% of total customers, attracted around 51% of new subscriptions, in net terms.

As far as market share of fixed broadband access is concerned, Grupo PT's share of customers stood at 46.8%, 0.6 percent points more than in the previous quarter. Grupo ZON's share of customers rose to 33%, rising 0.3 percent points over the previous quarter.

In terms of customers accessing mobile broadband with cards/modems, the share of TMN was reported at 45.8%, followed by Optimus and Vodafone with 27.9 and 21.9%, respectively.

Broadband Internet access traffic grew by around 23.7% during the quarter being reported. This movement is explained in most part by the trend reported for fixed broadband traffic (+24%) which represents around 95.2% of the total. Mobile access (in GB) grew by 13.9% over the same period, a higher rate of growth than reported in the previous quarter. It is noted that 98% of total mobile broadband traffic comprises connections made using cards/modem.

Grupo PT and Grupo ZON are reported with the largest shares of traffic (45.1% and 35.4%, respectively). Grupo PT made the largest contribution to the increase in traffic over the quarter, with a marginal share of 50%, followed by Grupo ZON with 37%.

In terms of average traffic per fixed broadband customer, each customer generated an average of 26.8 GB of traffic per month, the highest level reported to date and 33% more than the corresponding value of the fourth quarter of 2009.

In 2010, the individualised revenues of the fixed Internet access service (accumulated for the year) totalled around 391 million euros. This revenue is derived from stand-alone and multiple play offers with a separable Internet component. These revenues show a decline of 7.8% compared to full year 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 215 million euros in 2010, representing year-on-year growth of 54.4%. Meanwhile revenue derived from the mobile Internet access service, reached 376.6 million euros, 19.6% more than the value reported for the same period of the previous year.

The penetration rate of broadband Internet access stood at 19.5 per 100 inhabitants for fixed access and at 24.2 per 100 inhabitants. In the case of fixed access, this figure increased 0.5 percent points over the previous quarter, being around 1.9 percent points higher than the figure recorded for the fourth quarter of 2009. It is noted that the penetration of fixed Internet offers supported over FTTH/B is reported at 1.22 per 100 inhabitants.