Mobile market in Spain continues to shrink

After a brief resurgence in May, the number of mobile connections in Spain has began falling once again, as cash-strapped individuals dump their mobiles.
Written by Steve Evans, Contributor

People across recession-hit Spain are continuing to dump their mobiles lines to save cash, new figures have shown.

According to figures from Spanish telecoms regulator CMT published this week, more than 150,000 mobile lines were lost in June this year, wiping out previous gains seen in May.

In total, CMT recorded a total of 51.9 million mobile lines at the end of June, down 4.9 percent from 54.6 million a year ago. It now looks like that climb in May, which followed 10 consecutive monthly declines, was an aberration rather than a sign of recovery.

Movistar, Spain’s biggest mobile operator, lost 102,000 lines during the month, Vodafone lost 90,000, and Yoigo, which had been performing well over the preceding months, lost 121,900 lines. Orange was the only major mobile operator to gain subscribers during the month, increasing its numbers by 41,000. That figure, however, was made up of subscribers joining the brand following January’s acquisition of Simyo.

As the big companies continue to suffer it is the smaller virtual network operators (MVNOs) that are picking up the pieces. Led by operators such as Pepe Phone and Jazztel, as well as services from retailers such as Carrefour and Dia, MVNOs added 195,870 new lines during June.

MVNOs, who rent network capacity from larger rivals and offer much cheaper services, now account for 10 percent of the Spanish mobile market. That figure will undoubtedly increase as the recession continues to hit the country.

The four major mobile operators will hope the recent announcements about 4G services will help retain existing customers as well as attract new ones. 

CMT’s figures for June also revealed that the number of landlines in Spain continues to drop. A decrease of 27,374 for the month of June means there are now 18.94 million landlines in the country, representing a fall of 1.8 percent from June 2012 to June 2013.

However the broadband market continues to rise in Spain. Just under 28,000 broadband accounts were added during June, taking the total increase for the year to 283,000. There are now 11.85 million active broadband lines in Spain, up 4.8 percent from June last year.

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