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Brazil registered 29mn new mobile subscribers last year to close 2010 at 203mn, telecom regulator Anatel said in a statement.
The absolute rise in subscriptions was greater in 2010 than in any year aside from 2008, when the country saw 29.6mn new subscriptions. In comparison to 2009, mobile telephone connections grew 16.7% last year, as 3G terminals ballooned 138% to 20.6mn. Combined, traditional and 3G penetration increased 15.6% to 105 lines per 100 people.
In December 2010 alone, the telecom industry closed 5.41mn contracts, 2.74% more than in November and the highest total for the 12th month in the last 11 years.
Among operators, Vivo recorded the largest market share with 29.7%, or 60.3mn subscribers. Claro came in second with 51.6mn (a 25.4% share), followed by TIM with 51mn (25.1%) and Oi at 39.3mn (19.4%). CTBC's clientele measured 615,830, or 0.3% of Brazil's total.
Regionally, the southeast again led in connections with 93.1mn, including 50.6mn from Sao Paulo state, and boasted the second-highest density per 100 residents, at about 115. The northeast came next with 47.8mn, but had the lowest penetration at 87.5 per 100 heads. The south had 30.3mn subscriptions with a 108-per-100 concentration. The midwest had 17.7mn total with the highest density at 124-per-100, including 177-per-100 in the Distrito Federal surrounding capital Brasilia. The northern region measured last in overall links with 14.1mn, with penetration of 89 per 100.
Pre-paid plans continued to dominate the cellular landscape, with 82.3% of the total, or 167mn. Post-paid accounted for 35.8mn, a 17.7% share. The southeast and south also led in post-paid percentage, with some 21.8% of subscribers using this option in both regions.
GSM proved to be the mobile technology of choice, according to Anatel. About 178mn connections, or 87.8% of the total, used this standard. WCDMA accounted for 14.6mn, or 7.2%, and CDMA added an additional 4.18mn, or 2.1%.