Half of mobile base has internet-capable phones, but not everyone is browsing

Thursday, June 30, 2011

About 50% of mobile phones in use in Ecuador's market have internet capabilities, but not all users have activated the service, according to a report in local newspaper El Universo.

According to current market leader Claro, about 6mn of its 10.8mn subscribers already have internet and WAP-enabled devices.

Movistar - the second largest mobile operator in the country with 4.41mn subscribers - estimates that about 55% of its mobile base have internet and WAP-enabled phones, though only 33% of them use the service periodically.

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Not everyone contracts these services because some users have high-end phones only for their being fashionable and a novelty, not for their performance or capabilities, consultancy Imaginar director Hugo Carrión was quoted as saying by the paper.

Ecuador surpassed 15.5mn mobile telephony subscribers at end-May, according to local telecoms supervisor Supertel. The country's population is close to 14.3mn, meaning a 107% mobile penetration rate.

In this scenario, the mobile business must start looking for other income sources, such as connectivity services - internet access, social networks and games - the paper said.

Market projections have data services outpacing voice services in the next five years.