Conversation time on mobile networks increases in 1st quarter

The volume of conversation minutes originating on Portugal's mobile networks increased by 1.3% in the first quarter of 2014 and 11.6% year-on-year, due to increased takeup of offers which include unlimited calls. The reported increase exceeded the forecasts resulting from the estimated historical trend and seasonal effects.

Each mobile station with actual use (excluding cards/modems and machine-to-machine equipment) generated an average of 166 minutes per month. Of these, 118 were on-net minutes, 31 were off-net minutes, 8 were minutes associated with calls to the fixed network, 3 with calls to short/non-geographic numbers and 6 with calls to international networks.

Calls originating on the mobile network (excluding cards /cable modems and M2M equipment) had an average duration of 158 seconds - an increase of 7 seconds per call over the previous quarter.

In the first quarter, there were about 16.3 million active cards in Portugal, 2% less than reported in the previous quarter. Of these, 12.7 million (78% of the total) saw actual use during the quarter. Excluding cards/modems and cards associated with Machine-to-Machine equipment, this number drops to 11.6 million, 3.6% less than reported in the previous quarter. Of these, 46.7% are customers of MEO, 38.8% are customers of Vodafone and 12.7% customers of ZON Optimus (NOS).

During the 1st quarter, 4.57 million users used 3G services, 1.9% less than in the previous quarter; and 3.9 million used mobile internet, a quarterly increase of 0.2%.

During the quarter, there was notable migration of subscribers from pre-paid plans to combined/hybrid plans and, to a lesser extent, to post-paid plans. Meanwhile, the number of post-paid plans increased by 11.3% over the previous quarter and the number of combined/hybrid plans increased by 4.7%. This trend may be due to the increased penetration of multiple-play tariffs which include the mobile service in a bundle of services.

In the period being reported, 10.3% of residential mobile customers had a bundled offer, versus 0.6% a year earlier; this means, according to Marktest's Barómetro de Telecomunicações (Telecommunications Barometer) that the equivalent of 20% of households with bundles of services have an offer which includes the mobile service.

Smartphone penetration also continues to increase, reaching 41.8% at the end of March.

Users of the text messaging service sent about 6.1 billion text messages (7.4% less than in the previous quarter).

The number of messages sent to other networks, about 7% of the total, increased by 70.6% year-on-year and by 7.4% over the previous quarter, due to the spread of offers that allow customers to send free messages to all mobile networks.

Accumulated revenues from services to customers were reported at about 457 million euros up to March, representing a decline of 11.7% compared to the same period of 2013. According to data from Marktest's Barómetro de Telecomunicações (Telecommunications Barometer), the average value of the monthly charge for the mobile service, as at the end of 1st quarter 2014, was 14.10 euros.