Brazil: Telegram exponential growth despite WhatsApp monopoly

WhatsApp is the most used messaging app by Brazilians, but Telegram is already present in 35% of mobile users, report shows.

Telegram continues its meteoric rise in Brazil, with 35% of smartphone users having the app installed, according to the new survey Panorama Mobile Time / Opinion Box on mobile messaging. This is an increase of 16% in one year and 8% in just six months.

“Possibly, the restrictions imposed by WhatsApp on the forwarding of messages may be attracting users to Telegram, where there is greater flexibility.”, explained Fernando Paiva from Mobile Time

That was a big win for Telegram in a country where WhatApp is present in 99% of smartphones. 

WhatApp’s popularity was a combination of factors. Internet access is very expensive in Brazil. A broadband connection can cost up to 15 percent of a household’s income and mobile plans with unlimited data are rare.

Instead, mobile carriers attracted users by offering “zero rating” plans with free access to specific applications, usually Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter.

But having Telegram installed in the phone doesn’t show the frequency of use. The same report shows that 95% of smartphone users interact with WhatApp everyday, while only 30% use Telegram on a daily basis. 

Another difference is how smartphone users use WhatApp and Telegram. While WhatApp is the absolute favourite for messaging, smartphone users said they use Telegram to message groups/channels. 

Growth despite privacy concerns

Last year, four suspects were arrested in Brazil for hacking into over 1,000 Telegram accounts. That included some owned by Brazilian government officials, Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, and then Justice Minister Sergio Moro.

Brazilian media reported that the hackers used access to the accounts to send spam messages with malicious links to users’ contacts.

For the full Mobile Time on Messaging apps report click here

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