June 22, 2021

The battle of the operators accelerates in the start of 2021 with a new record of change of telephone company


The telecom war has no truce in Spain. Far from stabilizing the market for telephony operators, the year 2021 has begun with a new record of portability, as operations to change companies are known. Between January and March of this year, almost 2 million consumers (1.95 million) decided to change their telephone company, a figure never before achieved according to the statistics published monthly by the supervisory authority of the sector, the CNMC.


MásMóvil launches a takeover bid to buy 100% of Euskaltel for 2,000 million

MásMóvil launches a takeover bid to buy 100% of Euskaltel for 2,000 million

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The data represents an increase compared to that obtained during the first quarter of last year of 16%. Although those statistics were affected by the confinement that began during the month of March and by the decision of the Government to temporarily prohibit portability. Only in the month of March 2021, 710,000 people have changed companies for their mobile services, which is a reference on the evolution of the commercial battle in the sector. This is the fourth month with the highest data in the historical series carried out by the CNMC since 2015.

In this way, the strong war that operators have had for years also continues during this year, when small companies based on pressure on prices accelerated the change of operators. In the first quarter of the year, MásMóvil was the company that gained the most customers, with 45,000 new ones. The company is awaiting the result of the takeover bid that it has launched on the Basque company Euskaltel, with whose acquisition it would be closer to the records of the three major operators.

The first quarter of the year also confirmed the growing strength of small operators in Spain. According to CNMC records, the so-called virtual mobile operators have gained 174,800 customers (between cancellations and registrations), although the regulatory body does not disaggregate this data between companies. In the sector, the Romanian Digi is usually pointed out as the main winner in this segment, but also Virgin Telco, a subsidiary of Euskaltel for the domestic market.

Of the three large telecos, which continue to lose market share as has been the case for some time, none achieved a gain in customers during the first quarter of the year. Only Vodafone posted a positive customer balance in March. During the first three months of 2021, Movistar is the worst-off company, having lost almost 130,000 mobile phone customers. Orange followed with a loss of 66,600 customers, while Vodafone lost 23,818 mobile lines.

The three large companies closed the month of March adding just over 75.1% of the mobile telephony market, it is the lowest figure of the entire series, confirming the push of MásMóvil and the rest of the small operators in the sector.

Fiber optic connections to the home (FTTH) reached 11.8 million lines at the end of March this year, according to data on the telecommunications market published by the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) .

In one year, compared to March 2020, the increase of 1.4 million FTTH lines stands out compared to the loss of 0.7 million lines with DSL technology. 81.5% of the total lines are concentrated in the three main operators, Movistar, Orange (including Jazztel) and Vodafone (including Ono).

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