06/22/2009


Fall in Cellular Operator's ARPU

 

 

ARPU, Average Revenue Per User of cellular Brazil, fell again in the first quarter of 2009 (1Q09).

 

 

 

The fall was bigger in Tim and Oi (including BrT). Vivo's ARPU (R$ 27) and Claro's (R$ 23) are close the ARPU average of Telefonica in Latin America (R$ 28) and América Móvil (R$ 24), respectively.

 

Tim's ARPU (R$ 26) incorporates the Long Distance revenue (CSP 41) what isn't counted by the other operators. The stronger drop in Tim's ARPU is associated to the reduction in the company's post paid cellulars base. Prepaid stake at Tim grew along one year, from 79.2% in 1Q08 to 82.9% in 1Q09. This negative movement in Tim's ARPU probably contributed to the decision to clean the base of clients, which was carried out in 1Q09.

 

 

 

Oi has been part responsible for the growth of prepaid in the total of cellulars in Brazil, with promotions for the launch of its brand in São Paulo and in BrT's region.

 

One of the causes for ARPU drop in 1Q09 was the end of promotions, what led to a fall in MOU, minutes of use per cellular client. The promotions carried out during 2008 led, in some cases, to congestions in the networks of operators that weren't prepared to the traffic growth, since it was also observed in this period strong growth in mobile broadband.

 

Note: Doesn't include Oi, which doesn't release this indicator.

 

The ARPU fall in cellular operators is a world trend. Competition provokes the drop in voice ARPU. The growth of data revenue is a strategy created by operators around the world to counteract this tendency, as illustrated in the following for AT&T's case in the United States. This process is stronger to operators with bigger penetration of 3G cellulars in their base.

 

 

 

 

In Brazil, data revenue still represents about 11% of the cellular operators' gross revenue of service.

 

 

Gross Data Revenue as % of the Gross Revenue of Service

 

%
1Q08
2Q08
3Q08
4Q08
1Q09
Vivo
10.3%
11.3%
10.9%
10.9%
13.1%
Tim
8.4%
9.8%
9.7%
10.8%
11.2%
Oi/BrT
6.3%
6.0%
6.4%
6.8%
5.6%
Brazil
8.7%
9.5%
9.4%
9.9%
11.3%

 

 

Vivo, which holds Gross Data Revenue of R$ 688 million, amplified its leadership in revenue in comparison with Tim (R$ 54 million). SMS represents about 26% of Vivo's data revenue.

 

Claro doesn't release this information systematically - the company declared that data represents 11% of its ARPU in 1Q09, though.

 

 

You could ask:

  • Will ARPU keep falling in the next quarter?
  • Will growth in Data Revenue prevent this fall?
  • How can operators increase the traffic of prepaid clients? What about reducing the price of the minute?
  • Is the policy of aggressive prices in the corporative market the big villain in the drop of ARPU? Why, as consequence, it doesn't increase MOU?
  • What's the limit for the fall in ARPU?

To send us a commentary, click on: teleco@teleco.com.br

 

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