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Bolivia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband


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"One of the poorest and least developed Latin American nations, Bolivia has South America’s lowest mobile penetration and second lowest fixed-line teledensity. Mobile telephony suffers from poor quality of service and inadequate network capacity. In May 2008, the government renationalised the incumbent operator Entel. Telecom Italia, previous part owner of Entel, has yet to reach a peaceful settlement with the Bolivian government and is resorting to legal confrontation. Besides Entel, Millicom’s Tigo and Trilogy’s Viva provide mobile service, while several local cooperatives and private companies provide fixed-line telephony. This report provides an overview of the country’s telecom sector accompanied by relevant statistics and analyses. "


Executive Summary

Bolivia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

One of the poorest and least developed Latin American nations, Bolivia has South America’s lowest mobile penetration and second lowest fixed-line teledensity. Mobile telephony suffers from poor quality of service and inadequate network capacity.

In May 2008, the government renationalised the incumbent operator Entel. Telecom Italia, previous part owner of Entel, has yet to reach a peaceful settlement with the Bolivian government and is resorting to legal confrontation.

The fixed-line market is open to competition, with several cooperatives and private companies offering local and long-distance telephony services. Some operators have adopted VoIP, some use fixed-wireless technologies, and some rent fibre optic capacity. Three companies provide mobile telephony; the mobile market leader is Entel, followed by Millicom’s Tigo.

While ADSL, cable modem, and WiMAX technologies are all available in Bolivia, the broadband market is still embryonic. Even so, the number of operators offering broadband to residential and business customers has increased significantly, and this has led to some reduction in the price of Internet access.

Key Highlights

  • Several operators have launched VoIP, though only licensed telephone companies are allowed to offer it, as it is considered a voice service rather than a value added service. For more information, see Bolivia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband
  • Three operators offer WiMAX services in Bolivia. Considering the country’s low fixed-line teledensity, WiMAX could be the answer to the growing demand for broadband. For more information, see Bolivia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband
  • Tigo has launched 3G mobile services based on WCDMA technology. For more information, see Bolivia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband
  • Since renationalisation, Entel has been expanding its mobile network to areas with no previous coverage. It plans to invest US$120 million during 2009-2010 to provide mobile telephony in remote areas. For more information, see Bolivia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband
  • Bolivia is one of the only countries in Latin America that has active Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). For more information, see Bolivia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadba
One of the poorest and least developed Latin American nations, Bolivia has South America’s lowest mobile penetration and second lowest fixed-line teledensity. Mobile telephony suffers from poor quality of service and inadequate network capacity.

In May 2008, the government renationalised the incumbent operator Entel. Telecom Italia, previous part owner of Entel, has yet to reach a peaceful settlement with the Bolivian government and is resorting to legal confrontation.

The fixed-line market is open to competition, with several cooperatives and private companies offering local and long-distance telephony services. Some operators have adopted VoIP, some use fixed-wireless technologies, and some rent fibre optic capacity. Three companies provide mobile telephony; the mobile market leader is Entel, followed by Millicom’s Tigo.

While ADSL, cable modem, and WiMAX technologies are all available in Bolivia, the broadband market is still embryonic. Even so, the number of operators offering broadband to residential and business customers has increased significantly, and this has led to some reduction in the price of Internet access.

Key hightlights
  • Several operators have launched VoIP, though only licensed telephone companies are allowed to offer it, as it is considered a voice service rather than a value added service.
  • Three operators offer WiMAX services in Bolivia. Considering the country’s low fixed-line teledensity, WiMAX could be the answer to the growing demand for broadband.
  • Tigo has launched 3G mobile services based on WCDMA technology.
  • Since renationalisation, Entel has been expanding its mobile network to areas with no previous coverage. It plans to invest US$120 million during 2009-2010 to provide mobile telephony in remote areas.
  • Bolivia is one of the only countries in Latin America that has active Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs.

1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
2. KEY STATISTICS
3. COUNTRY OVERVIEW
4. TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
4.1 Overview of Bolivia’s telecom market
5. REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
5.1 Background
5.2 Regulatory authority
5.2.1 Superintendency of Telecommunications (Sittel)
5.3 Privatisation of Entel
5.4 Renationalisation of Entel
5.5 Telecom sector liberalisation in Bolivia
5.6 Foreign investment
5.7 Per-second billing
6. TELECOM NETWORK OPERATORS IN BOLIVIA
6.1 Overview of operators
6.2 Entel
6.3 Cooperatives
6.3.1 Cotel
6.3.2 Cotas and Teledata
6.3.3 Cotes
6.3.4 Comteco and BoliviaTel
7. TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
7.1 National telecom networks
7.1.1 Public payphones
7.2 International infrastructure
7.2.1 Submarine cable networks
7.2.2 Satellite
7.3 Infrastructure developments
7.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
7.3.2 IP and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
8. INTERNET MARKET
8.1 Overview
8.1.1 Internet statistics
9. BROADBAND MARKET
9.1 Overview
9.2 WiMAX
10. CONVERGENCE
10.1 Overview of media convergence
10.2 Pay TV
11. MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
11.1 Overview of Bolivia’s mobile market
11.1.1 Mobile statistics
11.2 Mobile technologies and mobile data services
11.2.1 Third generation (3G) mobile
11.3 Regulatory issues
11.4 Mobile operators
11.4.1 Entel Movil
11.4.2 Tigo (Telecel)
11.4.3 Viva (NuevaTel)
11.4.4 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
11.5 Mobile voice services
11.5.1 Prepaid
11.5.2 Satellite mobile
12. RELATED REPORTS
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1 - Country statistics - 2008
Table 2 - Telephone network statistics - 2008
Table 3 - Internet user statistics - 2008
Table 4 - Broadband statistics - 2008
Table 5 - Mobile statistics - 2008
Table 6 - National telecommunications authority
Table 7 - Fixed-line / mobile market share - 1996 - 2008
Table 8 - Entel - ADSL subscribers - 2003 - 2007
Table 9 - Entel - fixed lines in service - 2000 - 2007
Table 10 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1996 - 2008
Table 11 - Public payphones in service − 1998 - 2008
Table 12 - Internet users and user penetration rate − 1997 - 2008
Table 13 - Dial-up subscribers - 1997 - 2008
Table 14 - Broadband subscribers and penetration rates - 2002 - 2008
Table 15 - Mobile subscribers by operator and technology - 2008
Table 16 - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate − 1997 - 2008
Table 17 - Mobile market share by operator − 2003 - 2008
LIST OF EXHIBITS
Exhibit 1 - Entel Bolivia at a glance
Exhibit 2 - Major submarine cable network link to Bolivia

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