This annual report offers a wealth of information on the trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, Internet, broadband and converging media including VoIP. Subjects include:
- Key statistics, country statistics and market statistics;
- Government policies and regulatory issues;
- Major players (fixed-line, mobile, broadband);
- Telecom infrastructure (national and international, fixed and wireless);
- Mobile communications;
- Internet and broadband markets;
- VoIP, WiFi and WiMAX developments.
BuddeComm’s annual publication, Caribbean - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband profiles the fixed-line, mobile and broadband markets from the small island nations.
Despite being relatively small markets by global standards, telecommunications has become one of the Caribbean’s major growth industries. In particular, the region’s mobile sector has been witnessing significant expansion in recent years. To date this growth has largely been driven by Jamaican-based mobile provider Digicel which entered the small Caribbean islands’ market in the mid-2000s and rapidly established itself as the market leader through competitive prices and extensive advertising campaigns.
In contrast to the mobile market, the fixed-line segment remains stagnant. While in a handful of countries Cable & Wireless (recently rebranded LIME) still holds a monopoly in the fixed-line sector, a number of countries now have other operators offering fixed-line services at competitive prices. Investment in infrastructure is increasingly trending towards wireless broadband access and associated IP services such as VoIP. In particular, the allocation of spectrum in the 700MHz band should position wireless broadband as the preferred access technology over fixed networks.
This report contains overviews, analyses and detailed statistics of the Caribbean countries’ fixed-line, mobile and broadband markets including developments in emerging technologies such wireless broadband and VoIP.
- The effects of the global economic downturn were felt deeply in many of the Caribbean island countries, particularly in those where tourism and offshore finance underpin the economy. The impact may encourage some governments to promote growth in other sectors including telecommunications. For instance, Antigua & Barbuda plans to fully liberalise its telecom market between 2010-2012.
- Digicel entered 2010 with approximately 7.5 million subscribers across its 24 markets in the Caribbean. Its strength in the Caribbean region will continue to be underpinned by its growth globally. By early 2010 Digicel enjoys a subscriber base across the Caribbean, Central American and Pacific markets of over 10 million, representing a compound annual growth rate of 40% over the previous two years.
- In mid-2009 C&W/LIME launched its new HSPA technology-based 3G mobile network in Jamaica. It is expected that LIME’s investment in a 3G network will roll out across the company’s other Caribbean markets during 2010.
- LIME claimed to have maintained its mobile market share in the region and grown its mobile and broadband customer base. However, for the six months to September 2009 LIME’s revenue fell by 10%, due in large part to the recessionary environment in the region. It can also be partly explained by the ongoing decline in its fixed line and international markets as well as by the high costs ($300 million) of LIME’s regional transformation strategy.
- The acrimonious relationship between Digicel and C&W in the Caribbean continued to heighten, with disputes ranging from interconnection to defamation. By early 2010, it is understood that Digicel had eight unresolved cases against LIME while LIME had three against Digicel.
- The Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority, representing the seven OECS states, recently concluded a consultation process on the allocation of spectrum in the 700MHz band. The forthcoming allocation is anticipated to be a significant driver of wireless broadband services over the next five years.
- Sectoral growth during 2010/11 will continue to be fuelled by declining tariffs in the mobile and long-distance sector, by increased deployment of broadband networks and more generally by economic recovery.
- Given the undeveloped fixed line market, it is predicted that the mobile market will continue to enjoy solid subscriber and revenue growth rates during 2010/11. However, the world economic downturn is expected to continue to deter major investments during 2010. These constraints should start to be alleviated from 2011 as global growth, and thus regional growth, starts to accelerate.
Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration rate in select Caribbean countries - 2009
Country | Subscribers | Annual change | Penetration |
Anguilla | 21,890 | -4% | 148% |
Antigua & Barbuda | 116,120 | +2% | 135% |
Aruba | 125,000 | +7% | 119% |
Bahamas | 375,900 | +11% | 98% |
Barbados | 273,250 | -1% | 99% |
| (Source: BuddeComm based on Global Mobile)
Note: Figures are as at 30 September. Annual change is year-over-year.
For those seeking high level strategic information and objective analysis on this region, this report is essential reading and gives further information on:
- The emerging trends and convergence in the Caribbean voice, broadband and digital TV sectors.
- How the region is faring in terms of broadband development.
- The growth of mobile voice and data and the deployment of 3G and 4G technologies in the region.
Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.