Mobile Internet traffic increases 36% in 3rd quarter 2021

At the end of 3rd quarter 2021, the number of subscribers who actually used mobile services in Portugal increased by 430 thousand (+3.5%) compared to 3rd quarter 2020. This is the highest level of growth reported since data on this indicator was first collected (in 2010). The increase is explained by greater uptake of post-paid and hybrid plans (+5.6% in the last 12 months), representing 62.6% of total accesses with actual use. Prepaid plans (+0.1% in the last 12 months) reversed the downward trend in place since 2012. This development is associated with the gradual lifting of movement restrictions in place since the second half of March.

Mobile voice traffic in minutes increased by 4.4% compared to the same quarter of 2020. The average number of conversation minutes per mobile voice access during 3rd quarter 2021 was 239 minutes per month, 3 minutes more (+1.2%) than during the same period of 2020. The average duration of calls was 3 minutes 1 second per call, 2 seconds (+1.0%) less than in the same period of 2020.

The number of mobile accesses eligible to use the service totalled 18 million. Of these, 12.7 million (70.4% of the total) saw actual use. Excluding PC/tablet/pen/router accesses, the number of mobile accesses rose to 12.1 million.

In the period reported, the mobile service’s penetration rate rose to 175.5 per 100 inhabitants. The penetration rate of mobile accesses sold in bundles with fixed services was reported at 48.6 per 100 inhabitants.

The number of actual users of the mobile Internet access service was reported at 8.9 million, 9% more than in the same period of 2020. This corresponds to a penetration rate of around 86.6 per 100 inhabitants, 7.1 percentage points more than in 3rd quarter 2020. The increase in the number of users results from increases in the number of Internet users using mobile phones (+8.7%) and PC/tablet/pen/router (+13.3%). The growth in PC/tablet/pen/router users is the largest year-on-year increase on record and may be associated with the Escola Digital (Digital School) Programme, launched in September 2020. This programme involved the dis-tribution of an Internet hotspot to students with a SIM card for connection to the mobile net-work. Growth may also be related to the gradual lifting of movement restrictions and with the holiday period.

Mobile broadband Internet access traffic (MBB) increased by 36% compared to 3rd quarter 2020. This growth is explained by the increase in the number of users and, above all, by increased intensity of use. Average monthly traffic per active mobile Internet user increased 23.7% compared to the same period of 2020. Each active mobile broadband user consumed an average of 6.6 GB per month. Average monthly traffic generated per PC/tablet/pen/router access was 31.5 GB (+3.6%).

In this quarter, there were around 1.3 million active mobile accesses associated with Machine-to-Machine (M2M) use, an increase of 7% compared to 3rd quarter 2020.

All types of roaming traffic reported increases compared to the same period of the previous year. In particular, Internet traffic saw a high rate of growth, with an increase of 69% in the case of roaming in and an increase of 92.4% in the case of roaming out. Coverage of roaming in minutes by roaming out minutes was over 100% (143.8%), as is usually the case in the 3rd quarter of each year. In the case of Internet access, roaming in traffic was 5 times higher than roaming out traffic.

MEO was the provider with the highest share of active mobile accesses with actual use (40.3%), followed by Vodafone (29.8%), NOS (29.8%) and NOWO (1.8%).

In the case of mobile broadband Internet access, MEO's share of subscribers was 37.3%, followed by NOS with 30.3%, and Vodafone with 29.3%. NOS reported the highest share of mobile broadband Internet traffic (41.4%), followed by Vodafone (30.5%) and MEO (27.6%).

Consult the statistical report: