Lower-income Brazilians rely on mobiles to get Internet access

Full connectivity is still a luxury item, says study.

Mobile is the main Internet access channel in Brazil - but full connectivity is still something only the wealthy can afford, according to a study on connectivity trends for individuals in the country.

According to the study TIC Domicílios 2017, carried out by the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee, 49 percent of households in Brazil solely relied on a mobile phone to get access to the Internet. Of the households surveyed, 19 percent did not own a PC.

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The prevalence of mobile connections is more noticeable in lower income classes, according to the research.

While 98 percent of Brazilians on higher incomes access the web via PCs and mobile phones, only 7 percent of those at the bottom of the income pyramid can get web access through both channels.

Difficulty of paying for Internet services was pointed out as the main barriers to full connectivity, cited by 27 percent of respondents.

According to the study, the relationship of users with the Internet is also entirely linked to socioeconomic factors: wealthier Brazilians use mobile devices to carry out more convenient tasks (such as using Internet banking) while other activities that require larger screens and a keyboard are done on a PC.

Conversely, those who don't have access to a computer and will only use mobile phones end up being impacted by a limited range of services they can access - and therefore, the skills they can develop, the study says.

The inequality in Internet access in Brazil is illustrated by the overall statistics of the study: while 99 percent of Brazilians on higher incomes can get Internet access, only 30 percent of those on lower incomes have the means to go online.

The TIC Domicílios study is one of the main indicators of the use of information and communication technologies among the Brazilian population. It is carried out since 2005, with information from the Demographic Census and the National Household Sample Survey, both carried out by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).

The interviews were carried out in person, in households in urban and rural areas and covered over 23,000 Brazilian households between November 2017 and May 2018.