Brazil closed out the first quarter of this year with a total of 24.4 million mobile broadband accesses, up 18% from 20.6 million at 31 December 2010, according to details of a study published by Chinese equipment maker Huawei. The vendor says the number of mobile broadband connections via 3G handsets reached 22.9 million at 31 March, broken down as 18.1 million 3G handsets and 4.8 million modems, with a further 1.5 million accessing the web via non-3G terminals. Telecom Americas (Claro) led the way with 7.7 million 3G (handset) subscribers, ahead of Vivo Particpacoes with 5.3 million, TIM Brasil (4.5 million) and Telemar Norte Leste (Oi) with 600,000. In terms of data terminals, Vivo claimed 2.6 million mobile broadband accesses, followed by TIM (1.8 million), Claro (1.5 million) and Oi (400,000). Although 2G (GSM) handsets still account for the overwhelming majority of mobile phones in the country (86.8% at end-March 2011), 3G handset-based subscriptions have grown to account for 7.5% of total mobile connections, compared to 1.4% in 2008, Huawei said.
In the fixed broadband market, Huawei says the number of connections topped 14.5 million by the end of the first quarter, up 700,000 since the start of the year. Oi is the market leader in the fixed broadband segment, with 4.4 million connections, followed by cable operator Net Servicos with 3.5 million, Telefonica Brazil (incl. Telesp) with 3.3 million and Global Village Telecom (1.1 million). The fixed penetration rate reached 7.1 lines per 100 inhabitants at the same date. Only 0.1% of connections use FTTH technology, it added.