Buoyed by the news that 3G subscriptions grew by 99% last year, the government recently looked ahead to 4G,raising 2.93 billion reals ($1.4 billion) in an auction of wireless airways to mobile operators. The winning bids need to
have infrastructure in place by April for the host cities of next year’s Confederations Cup, and the end of next year forthe cities involved with the 2014 World Cup. Also a good base for e-commerce is the sheer number of mobile phone owners. Penetration stands at well over100% (around 253 million subscriptions), and looks set to reach around 145% by the end of the year. However,distribution isn’t even, with people owning multiple phones a common occurrence. Just like across the world, it’s theyoung who lead ownership and use.It’s not all positive though. Telecoms companies run municipal monopolies, as shown by the fact of the entire areacovered by mobile internet; only 12.6% of municipalities havetwo or more competing market operators. Price is also an issue,as currently Brazil has one of the highest phone rates in theworld. And although they are set to fall, this won’t be until 2014or even later. These high costs are why nearly 80% of mobileowners opt to use a pre-paid plan.Some interesting research by Opera showed 62% of the
respondents said they would be willing to spend up to R$10
on a monthly basis for mobile broadband, 55% would like touse their mobile devices for shopping. If mobile operators take this on board and don’t price themselves out, theintroduction of 4G could be the moment that mobile internet takes off.
Telecoms companies run municipal
monopolies; of the entire area
covered by mobile internet, only
12% of municipalities have two or more competing market operators.
Brazil is also massive on social media. With over 50 million Facebook users, it has the second highest number inthe world after the US. A critical difference however is Brazil is only at 27% penetration, meaning there’s still a hugemarket out there to sign up. According to Socialbakers, over seven million have joined in the last three months, anincrease of 15%. Brazil also wins silver for number of Twitter subscribers, overtaking Japan at the start of the yearwith a massive 33.3 million accounts, though the land of the rising sun remains more active on the micro-bloggingsite. Brazilians are also far better at engaging with content through the likes of comments than most other countries,and are more likely to follow user-generated content. Total populationOnline populationFacebook usersFacebook penetrationof total populationFacebook penetrationof online population
Sources: Socialbakers, Wikipedia, Nielsen,
Internet world stats [gures as of Aug 2012]
In March Forbes called e-commerce Brazil’s most promising sector. And it’s not hard to see why. According to Nielsen,
internet users reached 80 million by the end of last year, the fth highest in the world and achieving a 42% penetration.
Though this is a good base, current broadband connection is very low and many areas, especially rural ones, are
lacking proper coverage. This is an issue which the government and providers are addressing with new bre-optics and