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


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Tigo claiming national coverage with LTE infrastructureAlthough Bolivia has enjoyed strong economic growth in recent years, GDP remains among the lowest in South America. Many areas of the country outside the main cities are poor and undeveloped, and there is a sizeable proportion of the population which live in remote valleys and areas where telecom infrastructure has been chronically neglected. As a result, the penetration of telecom services is low.

The structure of Bolivia's fixed telecom market is different from most other countries. Local services are primarily provided by 15 telecom cooperatives. These are non-profit-making companies privately owned and controlled by their users. Since liberalisation, the cooperatives have also provided long-distance telephony, and several offer broadband and pay TV services. They have invested in network upgrades in a bid to improve services for customers, and to expand their footprints.

Bolivia has a multi-carrier system wherein consumers can choose a long-distance carrier for each call by dialling the carrier's prefix. A number of operators have adopted VoIP, while others use fixed-wireless technologies, and some rent fibre-optic capacity.

State-owned Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Entel) is the country's incumbent long-distance operator. It also offers local telephony, ADSL broadband access, and satellite pay TV services. Its subsidiary Entel Movil is Bolivia's largest mobile company.

Bolivia's fixed broadband services remain the slowest and the most expensive in Latin America, and are unavailable even in some of the major urban areas. Being a landlocked country, Bolivia has no direct access to submarine cable networks. It must therefore connect to the rest of the world either via satellite or through terrestrial links across neighbouring countries.

Since it was renationalised in 2007, Entel has focused on providing telecom services in rural areas under a project known as Territory with Total Coverage'. This project aims to increase telecom coverage through mobile rather than through fixed networks.

Bolivia has more than ten times as many mobile phones as fixed lines, and the trend towards fixed-mobile substitution continues. Besides Entel, another two companies offer mobile telephony: Tigo, wholly owned by Luxembourg-based Millicom International, and NuevaTel, trading as Viva and controlled by US firm Trilogy International.

All three mobile companies offer 3G services using UMTS technology. Due to the poor quality, high cost, and unavailability of ADSL, 3G has become an attractive alternative in Bolivia. The number of mobile broadband and smartphone accounts has escalated. Tigo's launch of an LTE service in mid-2014 heralds the emergence of a new era in mobile broadband.

The launch of a new satellite in December 2013 heralds improved telecom services across Bolivia following the satellite coming online in April 2014, with additional capacity expected to be sold to other countries in the regions. Entel launched a new satellite TV service in May 2014.

Key developments:

Tigo Bolivia claims national coverage with LTE;
MNP expected in 2016 following feasibility study;
Costas launches satellite TV service;
Tigo Bolivia capitalises on cable TV service with new bundled offering including mobile broadband based on its LTE network.
Under the Territory with Total Coverage' project, Entel has expanded its mobile network and installed more than 1,500 base stations, reaching 337 of Bolivia's 339 municipalities.
Entel reports a 21.7% increase in profits for 2014, year-on-year;
The state broadcasting network Bolivia TV has launched the country's first digital terrestrial TV (DTT) services, initially in La Paz.
Entel contracts Gilat Satellite to provide equipment for tele-centres.
Government pledges $300 million investment in Entel's infrastructure for 2014;
Entel Movil's 4G' service reaches all 339 municipalities;
Ministry of Health invests B$139 million in telehealth services, with Entel to provide satellite, fibre and radio access connectivity covering 339 municipalities;
Entel launches DTH platform through the Túpac Katari satellite.

Key telecom penetration by service 2014 (e)
Key indicators by service: | Penetration
Fixed-broadband | 1.6%
Fixed-line telephony | 8.0%
Mobile SIM | 101.6%
(Source: BuddeComm)

The Bolivian telecom market has significant long-term potential and a long way to go before it catches up with its neighbours. The report covers trends and developments in the fixed-line, mobile, Internet, broadband, and pay TV markets.

Subjects include:

Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
Facts, figures, and statistics;
Government policies and regulatory issues;
Major players (fixed, mobile, broadband, and pay TV);
Infrastructure developments;
Internet and broadband market (ADSL, cable modem, WiMAX);
Mobile market (including 3G and mobile broadband).


1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Country overview
3.2 Overview of Bolivia's telecom market
3.3 Total Coverage project
4. Regulatory environment
4.1 Background
4.2 Regulatory authority
4.2.1 ATT (previously Sittel)
4.3 Privatisation of Entel
4.4 Renationalisation of Entel
4.5 Telecom sector liberalisation in Bolivia
4.6 Per-second billing
4.7 Telecommunications Law of 2011
4.8 eHealth developments
5. Fixed network operators in Bolivia
5.1 Overview of operators
5.2 Entel
5.3 Cooperatives
5.3.1 Overview
5.3.2 Cotel
5.3.3 Cotas and Teledata
5.3.4 Comteco
6. Telecommunications infrastructure
6.1 National telecom network
6.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
6.2 International infrastructure
6.2.1 Overview
6.2.2 Satellite networks
6.3 Infrastructure developments
6.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
6.3.2 IP and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
7. Broadband access market
7.1 Overview
7.1.1 Internet/broadband statistics
7.1.2 Fixed broadband market
7.1.3 Government ICT plans
7.2 ADSL
7.3 WiMAX
7.4 Cable
7.5 Fibre
7.6 Mobile broadband
7.7 Satellite broadband
7.8 Media convergence
8. Broadcasting
9. Mobile communications
9.1 Overview of Bolivia's mobile market
9.1.1 Mobile statistics
9.1.2 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
9.1.3 Third Generation (3G) mobile networks (UMTS) and mobile broadband
9.1.4 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
9.1.5 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
9.2 Major mobile operators
9.2.1 Entel Movil
9.2.2 Tigo (Telecel)
9.2.3 Viva (NuevaTel)
10. Forecasts mobile market
11. Forecasts broadband market
11.1 Notes on scenario forecasts
12. Related reports
Table 1 Country statistics Bolivia 2014 (e)
Table 2 Telephone network statistics 2014 (e)
Table 3 Internet user statistics 2014 (e)
Table 4 Fixed broadband statistics 2014 (e)
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2014 (e)
Table 6 National telecommunications authority
Table 7 Evolution of GDP in Bolivia 2000 - 2014
Table 8 Historic - Fixed-line/mobile market share 1996 - 2004
Table 9 Fixed-line/mobile market share 2005 - 2014
Table 10 Entel revenue 2001 - 2014
Table 11 Entel - fixed lines in service and market share 2000 - 2013
Table 12 Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity 1996 - 2004
Table 13 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2005 - 2015
Table 14 International bandwidth 2000 - 2013
Table 15 Historic - Internet users and user penetration rate 1996 - 2004
Table 16 Internet users and user penetration rate 2005 - 2015
Table 17 Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration rates 2002 - 2015
Table 18 Broadband technologies in Bolivia market share 2002 - 2013
Table 19 Entel ADSL pricing Jan 2015
Table 20 ADSL subscribers 2002 - 2015
Table 21 Entel ADSL subscribers 2002 - 2013
Table 22 Cable broadband subscribers 2007 - 2015
Table 23 Fibre broadband subscribers 2012 - 2015
Table 24 Active mobile broadband subscribers 2007 - 2015
Table 25 Satellite broadband subscribers 2010 - 2015
Table 26 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 1996 - 2004
Table 27 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2005 - 2015
Table 28 Market share of mobile operators 2001 - 2013
Table 29 Entel mobile subscribers 2000 - 2013
Table 30 Entel 4G mobile subscribers 2012 - 2013
Table 31 Tigo mobile subscribers 2003 - 2015
Table 32 Forecast mobile subscribers and penetration - 2012 2013; 2015; 2017
Table 33 Forecast fixed broadband subscribers and penetration - 2012 2013; 2015; 2017
Chart 1 Entel - fixed lines in service and market share 2000 2013
Chart 2 Fixed lines in service market evolution at a glance 2003 - 2015
Chart 3 Internet users and user penetration rate 2005 2015
Chart 4 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2005 2015
Exhibit 1 Map of Bolivia
Exhibit 2 Entel Bolivia at a glance
Exhibit 3 List of cooperatives

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