Portugal fixed voice traffic grows for first time since 2013

Fixed voice traffic in Portugal increased by 1.5 percent in the first quarter of 2020 year-on-year, to around 1.1 billion minutes. This is the first year-on-year increase since Q1 2013 and is due to the exceptional measures taken in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic, Anacom announced.
In the week when the state of emergency came into force (week from March 16 to 22), fixed voice traffic grew 61% compared to the week before the declaration of the pandemic (March 2 to 8).

For the aforementioned reason, the average duration of calls originating on the fixed network increased by approximately 17 seconds in the 1st quarter compared to the same period last year. The average duration of national fixed-to-fixed calls increased by 27 seconds.

Traffic in minutes had been dropping since the beginning of 2013, due to the increased penetration of quadruple / quintuple play packages (4P / 5P), which include mobile services with free calls to all networks and, still, the increasing use services over-the-top (OTT). It is recalled that in the 1st quarter of 2019 this type of traffic had decreased 15.9% compared to the 1st quarter of 2018.

Analyzing access to the fixed telephone service, at the end of March, there was a penetration rate of main telephone accesses of 49.7 accesses per 100 inhabitants. The penetration rate of accesses installed at the request of residential customers amounted to 90.4 per 100 classic households.

In the quarter under review, the number of customers of the fixed telephone service in the direct access modality was about 4.1 million, 85 thousand more than in the 1st quarter of 2019, representing a growth of 2.1%.

In technological terms, new generation networks continued to be responsible for the growth in the number of main telephone accesses, which reached 5.1 million equivalent accesses, 64 thousand more accesses than in the same quarter of the previous year. The growth recorded (1.3%) was mainly due to the increase in VoIP / VoB accesses (+334 thousand accesses), which include accesses supported on fiber optic networks and cable TV. In the quarter under review, accesses supported on alternative networks to the traditional network (analogue and ISDN accesses) represented 77.5% of the main telephone accesses.

With regard to market shares, MEO’s share of direct access customers reached 42.1% in the 1st quarter, followed by Grupo NOS with 35.9%, Vodafone with 18.3% and Grupo NOWO / Onitelecom with 3.4%. Vodafone was the only operator whose share increased, one percentage point.

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