Ildeu Borges, manager for broadband and data communications at Brasil Telecom (BrT), has told BNamericas that he expects 50,000 of BrT’s 1.2 million dial-up internet subscriber base to switch to the telco’s new ‘Internet All Hours’ broadband service. The number of dial-up users is likely to drop slightly or remain constant this year, as migration to broadband is being compensated by new dial-up users. BrT finished 2005 with one million broadband subscribers, and Borges said the company plans to have 1.4 million users by the end of 2006.
BrT’s only broadband rival in its region, Net Serviços, is targeting wealthier clients in a small number of cities according to Borges, in contrast to BrT’s 1,200 cities. However, despite the distinct lack of real competition, increasing BrT’s broadband subscriber base is not straightforward: “It is a difficult task … due to the social conditions of the country. Only 15% of the population are socioeconomic class A and B, the natural target for broadband,” said Borges, before adding: “Compared to some European countries such as Spain we have already reached a high level of penetration within this target market”.
In terms of operators in other regions, BrT estimates that the broadband service offered by São Paulo’s Telefónica will grow at approximately 20%, while Telemar will witness 40%-50% growth this year, having arrived later to the market.