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Colombia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 22 Apr 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 154

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Colombia’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the fixed-line, mobile and broadband sectors. Subjects include:

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Facts, figures and statistics;
  • Industry and regulatory issues;
  • Infrastructure developments;
  • Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, ARPU, MoU;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
  • Broadband (FttP, DSL, cable, wireless);
  • Mobile subscribers and ARPU;
  • Broadband market forecasts;
  • Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
  • Market liberalisation and industry issues;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Mobile technologies (GSM; 3G, HSPA, LTE, 5G).

Researcher:- Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- November 2018 (17th Edition)

Executive Summary

Colombian government aiming to sell its stake in a leading telco

Colombia’s telecom infrastructure is reasonably well developed in the main business centres, where service availability is relatively high by regional standards. However, infrastructure remains poor in small urban centres and rural areas. The government has sought to address this with a number of public programs, supported by effective regulatory instruments, and has facilitated the entry of operators to the mobile market in a bid to improve competition and extend the availability of mobile broadband services nationally.

Colombia has about 20 local telephony providers, operating municipally, regionally, or nationally. Many of these started as private companies, but later became public concerns owned by their respective municipalities. The number of lines in service continues to fall steadily, with customers abandoning traditional phones in preference for mobile connectivity. As in other Latin American countries, most of the existing fixed telephone lines are concentrated in the larger cities, leaving the rest of the population under-serviced.

Broadband penetration is relatively high for the region, though growth in the sector has been hampered by poor fixed-line infrastructure in many of the country’s 32 departments. The government has launched several initiatives to increase broadband take-up, including the National ICT Plan 2008-2019 and the Live Digital for the People 2014-2018 program. These efforts have had considerable success, leading to far higher growth in the number of broadband subscriptions among the lower socio-economic groups in recent years. DSL has a declining market share, and fibre-based broadband has developed strongly though most infrastructure as yet is concentrated in high-density urban areas.

Growth in the mobile market has slowed in recent years though it retains significant potential, particularly in the mobile broadband sector where penetration is still low and where strong demand exists in rural areas where fixed-line infrastructure is poor. Claro, Movistar and TigoUne dominate the mobile market though a number of MVNOs are also active.

This report provides an overview of Colombia’s telecom market and regulatory environment, together with profiles of the major fixed-line operators and a range of statistics and analyses. The report also covers the fixed and fixed-wireless broadband markets, together with statistics and subscriber forecasts. In addition the report assesses the mobile market, including profiles of the major operators as well as analyses on market developments and emerging technologies.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key Developments:

  • MVNO Uff! Movil ends services;
  • Claro Colombia trials 5G technology;
  • Regulator increases spectrum cap for MNOs to help improve network capacity;
  • TigoUne sells 1,200 mobile towers to ATC, launches an M2M service;
  • Movistar launches commercial VoLTE services;
  • Regulator amends fixed-to-mobile MTRs;
  • Claro extends LTE coverage to 425 municipalities;
  • Government investing COP200 billion in national Wi-Fi network;
  • COP1.2 trillion to be invested in National Fibre Optic Project;
  • ETB expands its fibre service;
  • Level 3 Communications announces plans for a new 400Gb/s spur to the SAC cable;
  • Azteca completes 20,500km terrestrial cable connecting 80% of the country;
  • Report update includes the regulator's market data to March 2018, telcos' operating and financial data to Q3 2018, recent market developments.
  • Assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Claro (Telmex Colombia/Comcel, Movistar, TigoUne (Tigo Colombia, UNE-EPM), Avantel, DirecTV, Uff! Móvil, Metrotel, Emcali, Virgin Mobile, Móvil Éxito, Globalstar, BT Colombia, Calipso, Caucatel, Colomsat, Synapsis, Telebucaramanga, Edatel, Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Santa Fe de Bogotá (ETB), Telefónica de Pereira.

Henry Lancaster
November 2018

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