Caribbean - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses
Liberty Global providing competition to Digicel in bundled services offerings
The telecoms markets in most Caribbean countries have been progressively liberalised. The sector remains one of the region’s major growth sectors, particularly in the mobile telephony and data segments.
There are a large number of operators licensed to provide services within individual markets, though most of them are small and localised. Two regional operators compete in all market sectors: Digicel and Cable and Wireless Communications. The sector has undergone some considerable changes in recent years. Cable & Wireless acquired Columbus Communications in early 2015 and was itself acquired by Liberty Global in November 2015. The LIME brand was discontinued in May 2016 in favour of the Flow brand, which had been used by Columbus International for its fixed-line services.
As a result of these market changes, Liberty Global and Digicel now compete more effectively in the provision of bundled services, a segment to which both operators have focussed investment in recent years. Digicel has expanded its interest in the pay TV sector, launching Digicel Play in four markets thus far, though the scale of Liberty Global’s operations provide the operator with a stronger card regarding content for its pay TV and VoD offerings.
Investment in telecoms was for several years affected by the global financial crisis of 2008, which led to reduced revenue for operators, scaled-back government programs and a weakened tourist sector. Recovery in the US and in some European economies has bolstered the prospects of a number of Caribbean countries heavily dependent on tourism, though some markets, particularly those dependent on agriculture and other primary industries, remain suppressed and restricted by their small scale. The decline in the price of oil and gas has been particularly debilitating for Trinidad & Tobago, which is the region’s largest exporter of these commodities.
In turn, these economic limitations have led to constraints on customer discretionary spend for telecom services.
Jamaican regulator accepts application for a new mobile licence; Digicel expands Digicel Play to four markets; Dominican Republic’s government delays adopting full digital terrestrial TV until 2021; Caribbean Research and Education Network (CaribNET) network delivers connectivity to international research stations; KeyTech reports strong revenue growth in H1 2016; Digicel prepares for LTE launch in Jamaica; CWC sold to Liberty Global; ECTEL planning to implement MNP across all member states by the end of 2016; CWC reduces ownership of BTC to 49%; Legislative amendments extend jurisdiction of the Barbadian telecom regulator to include mobile services.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Cable & Wireless, LIME, Flow, Liberty Global, Digicel Group, Orange Caraïbes, United Telecommunications Services (UTS), KeyTech.