RIO DE JANEIRO: Smartphone and tablet adoption are rising rapidly in Brazil, yielding major opportunities for companies in various sectors, a report by the GSMA, the trade body, has argued.

There are now 260m mobile telephony connections in Brazil, and penetration has topped 130%. It makes up 40% of the Latin American market overall, and globally only falls behind China, India and the US.

"Unlike many large mature markets, penetration has continued to grow solidly in recent years," the study said. In demonstration of this, connections have leapt by 100m since 2008, when penetration stood at 79%.

The number of connections should surpass 350m in 2016, figures suggest, as penetration rates hit 173%. Within this, mobile broadband connections are pegged to increase from 41m in 2011 to 173m by 2014.

In reflection of this shift, while 8.4m smartphones were sold in Brazil last year, shoppers are set to buy 33m in 2017. Tablet purchases are also anticipated to reach 2.6m devices in 2012, expanding to 5.4m in 2013.

The average level of data traffic per user is thus forecast to surge from 12 megabytes a month in 2011 to 577 megabytes in 2020.

"Smartphone ownership in Brazil is growing fast," the study said. "The expected commercialisation of the '$100 handset' by the end of 2012 is likely to allow a growing number of Brazilian consumers to use mobile data on a daily basis."

Elsewhere, the analysis looked at the "consumer benefits" of price decreases, which have fallen from $0.31 to $0.20 per minute in the last four years, when total usage has grown from 169bn minutes to 337bn minutes a year.

Based on the gap between how long customers spend utilising mobile gadgets, the cost of this activity, and what they would be willing to pay, the study placed this amount at $15.1bn.

Looking forward, near field communications could quickly gain traction, as will mobile payments, with research having found 71% of shoppers would be willing to use a phone rather than a debit or credit card.

Similarly, there are nearly 30m smartphones allowing for mobile commerce transactions in circulation today, and an estimated 31% of people utilising such devices have acquired products or services via this route.

To determine the wider impact of the industry, the study tracked operator revenues, their investments, the benefits of mobile for businesses and consumers, and other factors, and reported that the mobile sector contributed $110.6bn to GDP in 2011, a 4.6% share.

Data sourced from GSMA; additional content by Warc staff