Belize - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

BTL revenue fall in FY2015 enervates company reform

One the smaller countries in Central America, Belize in many respects has closer affinities with English speaking countries of the Caribbean than with its immediate neighbours.

Belize's telecoms services sector remains poorly developed by regional standards. Both fixed-line teledensity and mobile penetration are lower than in neighbouring countries. For many years there was insufficient competition in the market, which resulted in underinvestment. However, competition from a growing number of ISPs, as well as the presence of OTT players which offer free messaging services, has encouraged the incumbent telco Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) to adopt a reforming strategy. Under the moniker of New BTL', the company is aiming to transform itself at all levels into an effectively competitive operator more commercially minded and focussed on cheaper pricing and customer retention.

The Belizean telecom market was officially liberalised in 2003, yet BTL continues to hold a monopoly in fixed-line services and is the dominant provider of mobile and broadband services. In 2009, the state renationalised BTL after a change of government brought to light a questionable Accommodation Agreement between the previous administration and the company. Although the rationale for the nationalisation was to improve conditions for consumers, BTL's prices remained high. The government has undertaken some measures to improve competition, notably by obliging BTL in mid-2013 to open its networks to VoIP services. In mid-2015 the government came to an agreement regarding an outstanding $22.5 million loan signed off in 2007 by a former BTL management team which the company subsequently considered unlawful. BTL will be obliged to repay the government from its own funds.

Key developments:

SpeedNet the first to launch LTE services, with DigiCell to follow later in 2016;
The number of fixed-line connections continues to fall as customers adopt mobile services for basic telecoms;
Mobile sector accounting for over 90% of all phone subscriptions;
BTL reported 1% fall in telecom revenue for fiscal 2015, prompting new strategy to deal with competition.

Market penetration rates in Belize's telecoms sector 2015 (e)
Penetration of telecoms services: | Penetration
Fixed-line telephony | 6.9%
Fixed broadband | 4.6%
Mobile SIM (population) | 173%
(Source: BuddeComm)

1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
3. Country overview
4. Telecommunications market
5. Regulatory environment
5.1 Public Utilities Commission (PUC)
5.2 Telecom sector liberalisation
5.3 Renationalisation of BTL
6. Fixed network operators
6.1 Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL)
7. Telecommunications infrastructure
7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
7.2 International infrastructure
7.2.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
7.2.2 Submarine cable networks
8. Fixed-line broadband market
8.1 Broadband statistics
9. Mobile communications
9.1 Overview of Belize's mobile market
9.2 Mobile statistics
9.3 Major mobile operators
9.3.1 BTL (DigiCell)
9.3.2 SpeedNet (Smart)
9.4 Mobile data services
9.4.1 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
9.5 Mobile broadband
9.6 Mobile infrastructure
9.6.1 LTE
9.7 Mobile content and applications
9.7.1 Mobile banking
10. Digital media
10.1 Communications: VoIP
11. Related reports
Table 1 Country statistics Belize 2015 (e)
Table 2 Telephone network statistics 2015 (e)
Table 3 Internet user statistics 2015 (e)
Table 4 Broadband statistics 2015 (e)
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2015 (e)
Table 6 National telecommunications authority
Table 7 Evolution of GDP in Belize 2000 - 2015
Table 8 Telecom revenue by sector 2007 - 2014
Table 9 Telecom revenue 2000 - 2015
Table 10 BTL financial data 2010 - 2015
Table 11 Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity 1998 - 2009
Table 12 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2010 - 2016
Table 13 International bandwidth 2005 - 2014
Table SEQ Chart 3 historic - Internet users and user penetration 2000 - 2009
Table SEQ Chart 4 Internet users and user penetration 2010 - 2016
Table 14 Cable and DSL broadband subscribers 2005 - 2015
Table 15 Fixed internet subscribers and penetration 2000 - 2015
Table 16 Fixed internet subscribers and penetration 2005 2015
Table 17 Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration 2005 - 2015
Table 18 Wireless broadband subscribers 2010 - 2015
Table 19 Mobile subscribers and penetration 2000 - 2016
Table 20 Mobile market share by major operator 2005 - 2011
Table 21 Active mobile broadband subscribers 2012 - 2016
Chart 1 BTL financial data 2010 2015
Chart 2 Fixed lines and teledensity 2005 - 2016
Chart 5 Internet users and user penetration 2000 - 2016
Chart 6 Mobile subscribers and penetration 2003 - 2016
Exhibit 1 Major submarine cable networks links in Belize

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