Portuguese consumers show appetite for 'quad' and 'quintuple' play

As the quad-play debate takes grip across Europe, latest figures from Portugal show that a growing number of consumers there are signing up for bundles of three, four, or even five telecoms services combined within a single plan.

According to new data provided by Portuguese telecoms regulator Anacom, the number of subscribers to bundled offers reached 2.8 million in the third quarter of 2014. This represents a year-on-year increase of 3.1 per cent, and a 10.5 per cent rise compared with the second quarter of this year.

Revenues from bundled plans reached about €847 million ($1 billion) in the third quarter, up by 11.4 per cent from the previous year. The average monthly revenue per subscriber was €34.41 (+2.2 per cent year on year). Anacom noted that NOS--formed when mobile operator Optimus merged with fixed-line provider Zon--was the leading provider of bundled services in terms of revenue in the third quarter, accounting for around 43 per cent of the overall figure. Around 12 companies now offer some form of multi-service plans in Portugal.

Such positive developments could encourage operators in markets where quad-play is still a relatively untested phenomenon. In the UK, for example, BT and TalkTalk plan to add mobile services to their triple-play plans, while the country's mobile operators are also considering their quad-play options. BT is also in talks with the owners of EE and O2 on the possible acquisition of a UK mobile network.

For its part, Portugal has already gone well beyond quad-play bundles of four services: while triple-play packages of fixed voice, broadband and TV services remain the most popular segment with 50.1 per cent of subscribers to bundled services, new so-called "quintuple-play" plans that bundle together five services are now in second place, accounting for 28.2 per cent of subscribers.

Both MEO--the brand used by Portugal Telecom--and NOS offer bundles incorporating fixed voice, fixed broadband, TV, mobile data for smartphones, and mobile broadband for tablets and laptops.

The five services under NOS Cinco are 150 TV channels; 100-Mbps fixed broadband; 5 GB of "4G" mobile broadband services ; unlimited fixed voice calls; and two SIM cards including 500 MB of data per card--all yours for a grand total of €79.99 per month under a promotional period, after which the price rises to €99.99.

MEO's M50, meanwhile, includes 190 TV channels; 100-Mbps fixed broadband; fixed voice calls; 5 GB of mobile broadband traffic; and a SIM card with 500 MB of data for use with a smartphone. The monthly fee, again, is €79.99.

Vodafone Portugal provides a bolt-on triple-play plan for its mobile Red plans, but is unable to boast the same level of convergence as its two rivals in terms of its service bundles. However, the company in July signed a fibre network-sharing deal with Portugal Telecom/MEO, and more could be ahead from this operator in future.

For more:
- see this Anacom announcement

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