EconomyFinancialChange of plans: Mexicans spend less on postpaid telephony...

Change of plans: Mexicans spend less on postpaid telephony in the face of inflation and the 'home office'

The pandemic has made connectivity essential for consumers, allowing them to continue with their work, education and entertainment activities. However, in the mobile segment, users moderated their spending due to economic uncertainty, home office and inflation, which translates into bad news for segments such as postpaid plans.

Although both the prepaid and postpaid formats have been affected by the current environment, they have done so to different degrees. According to data from the National Survey on Availability and Use of Information Technologies in Households (ENDUTIH), in 2019 users who had a postpaid plan paid an average of 483.5 pesos per month, an index that by 2021 dropped to 420.2 pesos per month, which translates into a 13% decrease in spending in this modality.

Meanwhile, for prepaid lines, the trend was also downward , as consumers went from recharging an average of 152.2 pesos in 2019 to an average of 148.2 pesos in 2021, a drop of 2.6%.

For Ramiro Tovar, a telecommunications analyst, a scenario of high inflation and an upward trend increases the probability that, when skimping on expenses, connectivity services will be the first to decline, especially mobile telephony.

“In order to recover the levels of spending on mobile telephony that we previously had, it is necessary for inflation to subside and for income to increase. Both conditions seem distant because, at least in the next two years, above all, the real income lost with inflation has to be recovered; that is, a drop in household income measured in its original purchasing power”, considers Tovar.

Inflation has already begun to have an effect on mobile services. During the first three months of the year, the purchase of airtime decreased to 87 pesos from an average of 89 pesos that were paid in the last quarter of 2021, according to data from the consulting firm The Ciu.

For Michel Tafoya, general director of Observatel, the most worrying factor in inflation is the disconnection from telecommunications services , since people with fewer resources who started accessing fixed or mobile internet during the pandemic will probably now be forced to leave them. set aside to cover their primary needs.

“What was going to be gained in the pandemic in terms of connectivity will be lost due to the issue of inflation, and it can worsen as long as the situation (of inflation) continues or worsens, and more so because we do not have clear policies to counteract this kinds of problems to help users,” warns Tafoya.

Inflation reaches restricted TV

For the analysts consulted, the changes in consumption will not only be concentrated in mobile services, but also in restricted television, in which users are expected to seek to migrate to basic channel packages instead of premium formats to save a few pesos.

According to Inegi data, the restricted television service has had an inflation of 0.56% as of June this year compared to the same period last year. For Tovar, although the cable service is below general inflation, users will sign up for fewer packages in this segment. In fact, between 2020 and last year, the contracting of pay television packages fell 1.5%, according to ENDUTIH data.

“This type of entertainment service seems to me to be one of the most affected as it is not considered essential,” Tafoya concludes.

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