The mobile Internet access service reached 7.2 million actual users at the end of the first half of 2018, a 6.9% rise vis-à-vis the same period in the previous year, which corresponds to a penetration of around of 70 per 100 inhabitants. The growth in the use of these services is associated with the increase in mobile phone Internet users (up 7.5% year-on-year), the growing penetration of smartphones (77% of all mobile phone owners), and the development of mobile applications.
In the half-year period under review, mobile voice traffic reached the highest level recorded so far, up 7.3% over the first half of 2017 in terms of minutes. The number of talk minutes per mobile station averaged 200 per month, 11 minutes more than in the same period in the previous year.
The development in voice traffic is mainly due to the growth of off-net traffic, which grew by 12.2% in minutes, year-on-year, due to the introduction of bundled offerings where there is no on-net/off-net tariff differentiation.
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In the first half of the year, mobile penetration reached 168 per 100 inhabitants. If mobile accesses with actual use (excluding M2M) alone are considered, the penetration rate in Portugal is 119.1.
Regarding the number of mobile accesses enabled to use the service, this reached 17.3 million (0.9% more than in the first half of 2017), of which 12.3 million (70.9% of the total) have actually been used (not including machine-to-machine – M2M). If the number of accesses assigned to PC/tablet/pen/router is also excluded the number of mobile accesses was 11.7 million. The number of mobile phone owners with more than one active card reached about 7.1% in the first half of 2018.
This development is explained by the progress in the post-paid and hybrid plans (+4.7% in the last year), which continued to grow, while prepaid plans were down (-4.2% in the last year), now accounting for 44.8% of the total.
MEO continues to be the provider with the highest share (42.7%) of active mobile accesses with actual use (0.8 percentage points less than the same period last year). Vodafone saw its share fall by 0.7 percentage points to 30.3% and NOS increased by 1.3 points to 24.7%.