THE Anatel released data on access to telephone services for the month of April 2020: operators disconnected around 700 thousand mobile lines and, for the first time in many years, the cellular base postpaid fell and the prepaid grown up. The signatures of fixed internet declined in the same period, mainly affecting local broadband providers.
Postpaid – which includes control plans in Anatel’s classification – was about to exceed prepaid, with a difference of 0.5% between categories. However, with the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and social isolation in practice, post and control users canceled their subscriptions or migrated to a pre-paid plan.
The operator that most hung up postpaid lines was Vivo, with around 280 thousand deactivations, followed by TIM, with 150 thousand lines less. Oi and Claro were the least affected, with 40 thousand and 20 thousand deactivations, respectively.
In prepaid, Oi was the operator that grew the most, with 40 thousand lines added, followed by Vivo with just over 20 thousand new lines. In April, TIM deactivated 217 thousand chips, while Claro lost 12 thousand category customers.
TIM loses leadership in prepaid
With all the disconnections, TIM lost the leadership in the prepaid segment to Vivo. In March, TIM had 31.15 million lines, against 31.02 million by Vivo. In April, Vivo appears in the first place with 31.02 million chips, while TIM fell to the second position with 30.94 million lines.
This may have happened for two reasons. Vivo is a leader in the postpaid segment; with the pandemic, post customers preferred to keep the line with the operator instead of canceling or making portability.
Another reason is that Vivo’s current prepaid portfolio may be more interesting than TIM’s: it is possible to have 6 GB of internet per month for R $ 30 in Vivo Turbo every two weeks, or 8 GB for R $ 40. At TIM, with the same R $ 40 it is possible to have 4 GB of internet and another 12 GB to use during the night.
Broadband subscriptions fall in April
Fixed broadband subscriptions also fell during the month of the pandemic in Brazil. In March, the service had 33.2 million accesses, while the month of April closed with 33 million fixed internet connections.
The company less impacted was Claro, which maintained its leadership and managed to grow around 20 thousand accesses between April and March. Vivo lost 70 thousand accesses, while Oi decreased by 20 thousand. Most affected were small service providers which together disconnected more than 210 thousand broadband modems.
The plans and values cited in the article refer to São Paulo (Area 11) and may vary by region.