The Bolivia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband report includes all BuddeComm research data and analysis on this country. Covering trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet, broadband, infrastructure and regulation.
One of the poorest and least developed Latin American nations, Bolivia has one of the lowest rates of mobile penetration and fixed-line teledensity in Latin America.
The government of Bolivia is facing protracted legal action from Telecom Italia, which refused the government’s offer of US$100 million for the renationalisation of a 50% stake in the country’s incumbent long-distance operator Entel. The Italian telco is claiming US$1 billion compensation. The Bolivian authorities, in turn, have found the Italian telco guilty of tax evasion.
Besides long-distance services, Entel is Bolivia’s leading mobile company, with a 40% share of the market. It also offers local telephony and ADSL broadband.
Bolivia has a multicarrier system where consumers can choose their long-distance carrier for each call by dialling the carrier’s prefix. Several cooperatives and private companies offer local and long-distance telephony. A number of operators have adopted VoIP, while others use fixed-wireless technologies, and some rent fibre optic capacity.
Mobile subscribers have outnumbered fixed lines in service since 2000. Of the total estimated number of telephones in Bolivia at end-2009, 10% were fixed and 90% were mobile. Besides Entel, Millicom’s Tigo and Trilogy’s Viva provide GSM services.
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.
Since renationalisation, Entel has been expanding its mobile network under a project known as ‘Territory with Total Coverage’, aimed at providing telecom services to all Colombians, including those living in small rural villages.
In February 2010, Oruro became the first Bolvian department with full mobile telephony coverage.
Bolivia plans to launch its own satellite, to be named Tupac Katari, primarily to provide telecom services in isolated rural areas.
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.