Brazil’s telecoms regulator Anatel reports that the country was home to a total of 261.78 million mobile connections at the end of 2012, up 8.07% (or 19.5 million new lines), from the 242.20 million reported at the end of 2011. Cellular penetration increased to 132.78 mobile lines per 100 of population over the same period, it added. Of the total, 80.53% of lines (210.82 million) were pre-paid, down from 81.8% a year earlier, while GSM continued to be the most popular access platform, accounting for 74.8% of connections, compared to 82.4% in 2011.
In terms of mobile market share, Anatel said that Vivo (owned by Spain’s Telefonica) controlled 29.08% of the segment at end-2012, ahead of TIM Brasil (26.87%), America Movil-backed Telecom Americas (Claro) with 24.95%, Oi SA in fourth with 18.81%, CTBC or Agar Telecom (0.18%), regional operator Sercomtel (0.03%) and fledgling MVNO Porto Seguro (with 8,300 accesses). For the first time NII Holdings’ Nextel Brasil unit was also ranked, having launched 3G data plans without fanfare at the end of the fourth quarter.
Alongside Anatel’s mobile market update, Brazil’s Telebrasil association released its estimate of the broadband market, reporting a total of 86 million high speed internet accesses (fixed and mobile) at end-December, up 45% year-on-year – with the strongest growth coming from mobile broadband (up 60% y-o-y). The association said that around 27 million new mobile connections were activated last year, lifting the total to 52.5 million 3G cellular accesses and 13.5 million via data terminals (including modems and M2M connections).
Finally, Brazil’s incumbent cellcos continued to roll out their 3G coverage last year, collectively reaching 3,285 municipalities, or 88% of the population, at the year’s end, up 24% (or 635 new municipalities) compared to end-2011. The deployments helped boost the total cities covered figure beyond the government’s own target dramatically; the state had set a goal of 928 cities covered with 3G networks by April 2013.