94.0% of households have a fixed telephone
In 2021, the penetration rate of main telephone accesses in Portugal was reported at 51.4 accesses per 100 inhabitants. The penetration rate of main telephone accesses installed at the request of residential customers was reported at 94.0 per 100 private households (decreasing 0.3 percentage points from 2020)1.
The number of customers increased by 2.0%
There were around 4.3 million fixed telephone service customers using direct access in 2021, with an additional 85 thousand customers (+2.0%) compared to 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.
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 106 thousand accesses versus 2020. The growth recorded (+2.0%) was due to the increase in accesses supported over optical fibre and cable TV networks (+323 thousand accesses).
In 2021, accesses supported over next generation networks (FTTH, cable TV networks and mobile networks at a fixed location), represented 84.7% of telephone accesses and increased by 3.9 percentage points compared to 2020.
Meanwhile, there were 14.2 thousand installed public pay-telephones, with a reduction of 13.0 percent compared to 2020, the largest decline since 2012.
Traffic originating on the fixed network decreased by 9.4%
The volume of minutes originating on the fixed network decreased by 9.4% compared to 2020. This decrease contrasts with the increase reported in 2020 (+9.0%) when the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were being felt.
The pandemic caused a reversal in the downward trend that had been seen since 2013. The estimated effect of COVID-19 on average traffic per access was +21.8% in 2020 and +23.9% in 20212.
By type of call, the decrease occurred mainly in fixed-fixed traffic (-13.3%) and, to a lesser extent, in national traffic to short and non-geographic numbers (-25.7%) and outgoing international traffic (-21.6%). On the other hand, fixed-mobile traffic grew by 3.6%. In 2020, fixed-to-fixed traffic and fixed-mobile traffic had increased by 7.3% and 22.5% compared to 2019, respectively. The trend in these traffic flows in 2021 may be associated with the gradual lifting of COVID-19 movement restrictions.
At the end of 2021, MEO's share of direct access customers was reported at 41.8%, followed by Grupo NOS with 34.7%, Vodafone with 20.0% and NOWO with 2.9%. The shares of direct access customers reported by NOS, NOWO and MEO decreased by 0.7, 0.3 and 0.2 percentage points, respectively, while Vodafone's share increased by 0.9 percentage points The level of concentration has decreased slightly but remains high.
1 The values presented may not be compatible with those previously published due to the fact that the number of private households used in this report results from provisional data from the 2021 Census. This value is 2.1% higher than the value previously used (annual estimates for 2020).
2 Although traffic recorded in 2021 was lower than recorded in 2020, the effect of the pandemic was greater in 2021 since, previously, there was a marked downward trend in telephone traffic at a fixed location. Had the pandemic not occurred, it is estimated that average fixed voice traffic per access, would have decreased by 13.7% instead of the actual decrease of 12.3%.