Fixed telephone service - 1st half of 2021



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Executive Summary

95.1% of households have a fixed telephone

In the first half of 2021 (1H2021), the penetration rate of main telephone accesses in Portugal was reported at 51.0 accesses per 100 inhabitants. The penetration rate of accesses installed at the request of residential customers was reported at 95.1 per 100 private households.

Number of customers increased by 2.1%

In 1H2021, there were around 4.3 million fixed telephone service customers using direct access, with an additional 88 thousand customers (+2.1%) compared to the same period of 2020. The reported growth is consistent with the estimated historical trend and is associated with the growing penetration of bundled offers that include the fixed telephone service.

It should be noted that the only provider that has so far reported customers using call-by-call selection, has ceased to do so.

Next generation networks were responsible for the growth in the number of accesses

The number of main telephone accesses reached 5.3 million equivalent accesses, an additional 105 thousand accesses versus the same period of 2020. The growth recorded (+2.0%) was due to the increase in accesses supported over optical fibre and cable TV networks (+341 thousand accesses).

In 1H2021, accesses supported over next generation networks (FTTH, cable TV networks and mobile networks at a fixed location), represented 82.9% of telephone accesses and increased by 4.5 percentage points compared to the same period of 2020.

Meanwhile, there were 14.7 thousand installed public pay-telephones, with a reduction of 13 percent compared to the previous year, the largest decline since 2012.

Traffic originating on the fixed network decreased by 6.1%

In this quarter, the volume of minutes originating on the fixed network decreased by 6.1% compared to 1st half 2020. This decrease contrasts with the increase reported a year earlier (+8.8%).

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a reversal of the downward trend in traffic that had been observed since 2013. However, in 1H2021 traffic decreased again compared to 1H2020 when the effects of the pandemic began to be felt. Had the pandemic not occurred, it is estimated that average fixed voice traffic per access, would have decreased by 9.0% instead of the actual decrease of 13.6%. COVID-19 is estimated to have had a positive effect of 22.3% on average traffic per access in 2nd quarter of 20211.

By type of call, the decrease occurred mainly in fixed-fixed traffic (-10.7%). There was a notable increase in fixed-mobile traffic (16.1%) and in international traffic originating from public pay-telephones (12.6%). The trend in these traffic flows may be associated with the gradual lifting of COVID-19 movement restrictions.

Provider shares

At the end of 1H2021, MEO's share of direct access customers was 42.9%, followed by Grupo NOS with 34.9%, Vodafone with 19.5% and NOWO with 3.0%. NOS and NOWO and MEO reported shares of direct access customers that decreased by 0.9, 0.3 and 0.1 percentage points, respectively, while Vodafone's share increased by 1.1 percentage points The level of concentration has decreased slightly but remains high.

Notes
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1 The effect of COVID-19 cannot be calculated based on the difference between the variation that actually occurred and the estimate of the variation that would have occurred were it not for the pandemic. In fact, these values are calculated as variations in relation to the previous year, while estimates of the effect of COVID-19 are based on a comparison with the variation that would have occurred during the period of the pandemic if the pandemic had not taken place.