Mobile becomes the preferred web access channel in Brazil

Brazilians prefer to browse the web through their mobile phones but are not too excited about m-commerce, according to research

The number of Brazilians accessing the web through their mobile devices has surpassed those who use desktops to browse the internet for the first time, according to research.

A study by Opera Software released this week canvassed 5,000 users of its mobile browser and found that 92 percent of the respondents accessed the web via their mobile device more often in 2013 against 14 percent who used their home computer. In 2012, the rates were 23 percent and 64 percent, respectively.

The survey adds that this year, 84 percent of respondents accessed the internet via their mobile devices every day of the week.

According to the Opera research, despite the growth in mobile browsing, m-commerce figures are not as bullish. As 72 percent of those surveyed said they didn't buy anything online through their phones. Out of the 19 percent  who made purchases, more than half (54 percent) bought apps and ringtones.  

Chances are that the slow growth of m-commerce in Brazil is partly related to the lack of technical maturity of the platforms available. According to a recent study by Brazilian mobile testing specialists deviceLab, which tested 80% of the main e-commerce websites in Brazil, all websites came up with some kind of error when accessed through a mobile device that prevented the successful conclusion of the purchase.  

The Brazilian government is making some attempts at fostering the further development of m-commerce and has recently released a new provisional act including a framework for products and services last month. And the government also expects that the number of mobile phone lines able to make payments in Brazil will reach 130 million in two years' time.

More facts and figures about the mobile landscape in Brazil:

  • Currently, there are approximately 260 million mobile phone lines in operation across the country;
  • The main mobile operators in Brazil are Vivo (part of the Telefónica group), Claro (owned by Mexican group América Móvil), Oi (partly owned by Portugal Telecom) , and TIM Brasil (a subsidiary of Telecom Italia);
  • Last month, the four largest mobile operators in Brazil launched their 4G commercial offerings across the cities where the Confederations Cup will take place this year;
  • The monthly cost of 4G services to end consumers varies from R$34.90 ($17.35) for a 600MB data plan to R$98 ($48.76) for a 5GB option;
  • According to Anatel, the Brazilian telecoms regulator, 40 percent of Brazilian mobile phone users are unhappy with the 3G services they currently get;
  • In July 2012, an 11-day ban was imposed by the government on signing up new clients on three of the four main mobile operators due to poor provision of services;
  • Telecoms body Anatel is currently leading a $30bi ($17.5bi) action plan for the improvement of personal mobile services.



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