Growth in Brazil’s mobile-phone market tailed off last month with the addition of just 436,000 new customers, compared with 959,860 in September, according to figures from regulatory authority Anatel.
The data will be taken as a sign of increasing market maturity – penetration hit 131.7% in October, according to Anatel’s data – with Brazil’s economy weakened by the global slump.
Between them, Brazilian mobile-phone operators now serve a total of 259.29 million connections, with prepaid customers accounting for about 81% of those.
Vivo (Sao Paolo, Brazil), owned by Spanish incumbent Telefonica (Madrid, Spain), remains the largest player, with a market share of 29.42%.
It is closely followed by TIM (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), controlled by Telecom Italia (Rome, Italy), with a 26.79% share, while Claro (Brasilia, Brazil), the local unit of America Movil (Mexico City, Mexico), serves 24.65% of customers.
Oi (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) comes in fourth place, with an 18.83% share. CTBC (Uberlandia, Brazil) and Sercomtel (Londrina, Brazil), two smaller companies, have less than 1% each, effectively making Brazil a four-player market.
Anatel’s data also shows that 3G technology now accounts for more than 20% of total connections.
Meanwhile, the CDMA standard, once used extensively across the country, supports just 604,640 connections.
Operators that originally used the technology have been migrating customers to the GSM family of standards, which promise greater economies of scale, and CDMA seems likely to be phased out entirely before much longer.