Postpaid cell phones surpass prepaid ones in Brazil


According to a report released by Anatel, data related to the national telephone market reveal that, in September 2020, the number of postpaid lines in the cell phone segment exceeded that of prepaid lines in Brazil. In total, 50.3% of the more than 228 million registrations use the payment method after use – something attributed to the popularization of offers that include special WhatsApp packages and calls to any operator.

In this category, the so-called control plans are also considered, a middle ground of investment between the two mentioned. In any case, such solutions usually offer benefits to consumers, such as extended data franchises, discounts on devices and the like. In addition, the possibility of adding dependent lines and expanding the contract for family plans tends to attract customers.

Despite an expected turnaround, the novelty is surprising when one considers that, in February 2005, 80.3% of mobile lines were prepaid, which peaked in 2010, a year in which 82.6% fit into the category . As of 2012, there was an increase in the postpaid segment – which has now established itself as the most used.

Behavior change

Characterized as an important movement for the democratization of access to telephony, prepaid plans were very popular until the spread of smartphones, which, with different applications, including messaging applications – which require enhanced data packages -, demanded the expansion of solutions. Therefore, seeking to encourage the adoption of a more advantageous billing model, operators began, in 2017, to launch increasingly attractive postpaid plans, which, apparently, paid off.

Regarding competition between companies, Vivo is the isolated leader, with 38.3% of contracts. Claro (29.3%), Tim (18.9%) and Oi (11.1%) come soon after – with the last two still having more prepaid lines. In the case of Claro, its market presence was intensified after the acquisition of Nextel – as the acquired company contained, in its portfolio, 3.3 million lines, 98.3% postpaid.


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