While mobile broadband connections increased 26.2% worldwide in 2011 compared to the previous year, Brazil grew 99.3%. The country ended 2011 with 41.1 million mobile broadband connections, hitting 47.2 million connections at the end of February. Boosted by the growth in smartphone sales, Brazil’s broadband connections are expected to reach 124 million by 2014, according to consultancy firm Teleco.
Although the numbers are large and show that carriers are expanding coverage, Brazil’s mobile broadband penetration of 21% is low compared to the 56.5% average among developed nations. But it is higher than the global average of 17%.
The GSM’s market share has dropped since 2008 when 3G deployment started, falling from 88.9% to 80.4%. “This change released voice capacity to carriers,” noted Teleco’s CEO Eduardo Tude during a presentation to journalists.
In partnership with Teleco, Huawei submitted a quarterly, detailed profile of the evolution of mobile broadband in Brazil.
The survey also showed that the share of revenue from data services increased to 41% in the last quarter of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010.
Tude cited the example of Vivo (owned by Spain’s Telefonica), whose data packages account for 48.4% of net revenues.
Voice services continue to grow in Brazil, increasing by 9.4% during the fourth quarter of 2011 compared to same period in 2010.
Tude also highlighted the increase in short message services, noting: “Carriers focused on offering SMS packages.” Indeed, according to the Acision’s latest “Mobile Value Added Service Monitor,” VAS accounts for 19.8% of carrier revenues in Brazil, of which SMS represents 37.1% and mobile broadband represents 54.3%. However, it is less compared with the 51% average across other Latin American countries.
Regarding coverage, Teleco’s survey showed 48.5% of municipalities and 84% of the general population are covered by 3G access. However, the four big carriers concentrate on providing services in large cities. In 2011, 41.5% of Brazilian residents lived in cities that had telecommunication services provided by four carriers, while 34.5% of municipalities and 18.9% of the population had only one provider.