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Colombia - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts


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Colombia rides the crest of change with new telecom players, brands, and technologies

The Colombian telecom market has been experiencing intensifying competition, increasing convergence, and the emergence of a rapidly growing broadband sector.The years 2011/2012 have brought significant changes to the country’stelecom environment, with major companies consolidating their fixed and mobile operations, the launch of several MVNOs, and the arrival of 4G/LTE technology, among others.

Although reasonably well developed in the main business centres, Colombia’s telecom infrastructure is quite poor in small urban centres and rural areas. Many remote municipalities – especially in the Amazonian region – lack any kind of telecom infrastructure.

Fixed-line teledensity is only 15%, yet the number of lines in service continues to decrease, with customers opting for alternative technologies and mobility in preference to traditional phones. Colombia has about 25 local telephony providers, operating municipally, regionally, or nationally. Many of these started as private companies, but later became public concerns owned by their respective municipalities. The trend is gradually changing, with more companies selling shares to private investors. Despite the large number of local operators, around 83% of the customer base is served by four major companies: Movistar (previously Telefónica Telecom), ETB, UNE-EPM, and Claro (previously Telmex).

Numerous companies have received access codes to provide long distance telephony. Competitive carriers have gained 31% of the international long distance market – Infracel, with a 26% share, has proved by far the most successful. In the Domestic Long Distance (DLD) market, however, competitive carriers have managed to eke out only a 4% share.

In the mobile market, Colombia’s penetration has only just reached the 100% milestone – well behind other Latin American countries such as Chile, Brazil, and Argentina where, on the other hand, GDP per capita is also much higher than in Colombia.

Three mobile network operators dominate the Colombian mobile market: Claro (previously Comcel), Movistar, and Tigo. The leader is Claro, with a 64% market share, but its subscriber base has been shrinking since the introduction of Mobile Number Portability.

By end-2012, there will be six MVNOs in Colombia. Uff! Móvil, UNE-EPM, ETB, and Emcali offer mobile voice and internet services over Tigo’s network, while Metrotel and Virgin Mobile have entered into wholesale agreements with Movistar.

UNE-EPM has launched a 4G/LTE network in Bogotá and Medellín – this is Latin Americas sixth commercial LTE offering. The government has scheduled an LTE spectrum auction for September 2012 and hopes to attract both existing and new players.

Though slightly below the regional average, Colombia’s fixed broadband penetration is higher than would be expected given the country’s low economic indicators. Helped along by a regulatory framework that encourages competition and by government efforts to reduce the ‘digital divide’, the fixed broadband market continues to register double-digit growth rates.

The Colombian government has launched several initiatives to increase fixed broadband penetration, including Computers for Schooling (which provides refurbished second-hand computers to schools), Compartel (which endeavours to provide every Colombian with access to telephone and internet services), Vive Digital (which aims to increase Colombia’s internet connections to 8.8 million by 2014), and the National Fibre Optic Project.

ADSL is the leading broadband technology, but cable broadband continues to grow both in subscriber numbers and in geographical coverage thanks to the popularity of triple play solutions. The market is divided between UNE-EPM (ADSL and cable modem services), Claro (cable modem), Movistar (ADSL), and ETB (ADSL).

The cable TV sector has undergone major consolidation and, as a result, two companies, Claro and UNE, together control 89% of the market.

Estimates for 2012 indicate sustained growth in the mobile broadband, fixed broadband, and satellite TV sectors. The number of fixed-lines will continue to contract. We expect the number of mobile subscribers to increase by 4% only, as many of the wealthier citizens already have two or more mobile phones, while a large percentage of the population cannot afford even one.

Key developments:

Mobile number portability, launched in mid-2011, has seen more than 300,000 subscribers port their phone number;
Telefónica’s fixed and mobile operators have merged and unified their operations under the Movistar brand;
AméricaMóvil is unifying – but not merging – the operations of Telmex and Comcel under the Claro brand name;
ETB no longer seeks privatisation, but plans to achieve economic recovery through mobile telephony, broadband, and cable TV.
the regulator has further lowered termination charges for fixed-to-mobile calls;
the National Television Authority (ANTV) has taken over from the previous television regulator, the National Television Commission (CNTV).
There are 1.3 million Colombians subscribed to mobile broadband, and the number is growing by 23% a year;
In the second half of 2012, Colombia will become the second Latin American country (after Chile) to enjoy Virgin Mobile’syouth-focused MVNO services
UNE-EPM is planning to expand its LTE network to Colombia’s major cities;
other LTE launches are expected to take place following the upcoming award of LTE licences;
With an investment of US$600 million, Colombia’s National Fibre Optic Project aims to deploy over 15,000km of fibre cable;
by 2014, fibre-optic cables should reach 1,078 or 96% of Colombia’s 1,123 municipalities.

Colombia’s fixed-line, broadband, and mobile statistics – 2010 - 2012
Sector | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 (e)
Fixed-lines in service
Total subscribers (million) | 7.19 | 7.13 | 7.00
Broadband
Total subscribers (million) | 2.65 | 3.33 | 3.90
Mobile telephony subscribers
Total subscribers (million) | 43.56 | 45.31 | 47.00
(Source: BuddeComm based on industry data)


1. Key Statistics
1.1 Country overview
1.1.1 Outlook
2. Telecommunications Market
2.1 Overview of Colombia’s telecom market
2.2 Market analysis –2012
3. Regulatory Environment
3.1 Background
3.2 Convergence Decree
3.3 The ICT Law of 2009
3.4 Developments
3.5 Regulatory authorities
3.5.1 CRC (previously CRT)
3.5.2 ANTV
3.6 Privatisation
3.7 Telecom sector liberalisation in Colombia
3.8 Universal service fund
3.9 Licensing
3.10 Foreign investment
3.11 Wholesale
3.12 Interconnect
3.13 Access
3.14 Number portability
3.15 Multicarrier system/carrier preselection
3.16 Per-minute billing
3.17 Subsidies
4. Fixed Network Operators
4.1 Overview of operators
4.1.1 Local operators
4.1.2 Long-distance operators
4.2 Movistar (previously Telefónica Telecom)
4.3 UNE-EPM Telecomunicaciones
4.3.1 Edatel
4.3.2 UNE EPM Bogotá
4.3.3 Telefónica de Pereira
4.4 ETB
4.4.1 Privatisation and merger plans
4.5 Claro (previously Telmex Colombia)
4.6 Emcali/Telecali
4.7 Telebucaramanga
5. Telecommunications Infrastructure
5.1 National telecom network
5.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
5.2 International infrastructure
5.2.1 Submarine cable networks
5.2.2 Satellite networks
5.3 Infrastructure developments
5.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
5.3.2 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
5.4 Wholesale
5.4.1 Overview
6. Broadband Market
6.1 Overview
6.1.1 Internet/broadband statistics
6.1.2 Major ISPs and broadband players
6.2 Governmentinitiatives
6.2.1 ICT access projects
6.2.2 Compartel
6.2.3 National ICT Plan
6.2.4 Vive Digital
6.2.5 National fibre-optic network
6.3 Cable modems
6.4 Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
6.5 WiMAX
6.5.1 Overview
6.5.2 WiMAX outlook
7. Digital Media / Digital Economy
7.1 Media convergence
7.1.1 Triple play models
7.2 Broadcasting
7.2.1 Market overview
7.2.2 Cable TV
7.2.3 Satellite TV
7.2.4 Broadband TV (IPTV)
7.2.5 Digital terrestrial TV
8. Mobile Communications
8.1 Overview of Colombia’s mobile market
8.1.1 Mobile statistics
8.1.2 Spectrum regulations and auctions
8.1.3 Mobile number portability
8.2 Mobile technologies
8.2.1 Overview
8.2.2 Third Generation (3G) mobile networks (UMTS)
8.2.3 Long Term Evolution (LTE)
8.3 Mobile Network operators
8.3.1 Claro/Comcel (América Móvil)
8.3.2 Movistar (Telefónica)
8.3.3 Tigo (Colombia Móvil – Millicom)
8.3.4 Avantel
8.3.5 UNE-EPM
8.4 Mobile Virtual Network Operators
8.4.1 Market analysis
8.4.2 Uff! Móvil
8.4.3 UNE-EPM
8.4.4 ETB
8.4.5 Metrotel
8.4.6 Emcali
8.4.7 Virgin Mobile
8.5 Mobile voice services
8.5.1 Prepaid
8.6 Mobile Messaging
8.6.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
8.6.2 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
8.7 Mobile broadband
8.8 Mobile satellite
9. Forecasts
9.1 Forecasts – fixed-line market 2015; 2020
9.1.1 Scenario 1 – higher fixed line growth
9.1.2 Scenario 2 – lower fixed line growth
9.2 Forecasts – fixed broadband market – 2015; 2020
9.2.1 Scenario 1 – higher broadband growth
9.2.2 Scenario 2 – lower broadband growth
9.3 Forecasts – mobile market –2015; 2020
9.3.1 Scenario 1 – higher mobile market growth
9.3.2 Scenario 2 – lower mobile market growth
10. Glossary of Abbreviations
List of Tabels, Charts and Exhibits
Table 1 – Country statistics Colombia – 2012
Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2012
Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2012
Table 4 – Broadband statistics – 2012
Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2012
Table 6 – Regulatory authorities
Table 7 – Evolution of GDP in Colombia – 2000-2013
Table 8 – Fixed and mobile market share – 1998 - 2012
Table 9 – Share of fixed lines in service (major operators) – 2000-2012
Table 10 – DLD traffic: market share by operator – 2000-2012
Table 11 – ILD outgoing traffic: market share by operator – 2000-2012
Table 12 – Movistar – lines in service – 2000-2012
Table 13 – UNE – lines in service – 2000 - 2012
Table 14 – ETB – lines in service – 2000-2012
Table 15 – Claro– lines in service – 2000-2012
Table 16 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1996-2012
Table 17 – Movistarwholesale accesses – 2007 - 2011
Table 18 – Internet users and user penetration rates– 1997-2012
Table 19 – Broadband subscribers and penetration rates – 2002-2012
Table 20 – Broadband technologies in Colombia – marketshare– 2003-2012
Table 21 – Major broadband operators – marketshare– 2008-2011
Table 22 – Cable modem subscribers and penetration rates – 2003-2012
Table 23 – ADSL subscribers and penetration rates – 2003-2012
Table 24 – Cable TV subscribers and penetration rates – 2000-2012
Table 25 – Major cable-TV providers – marketshare – 2005-2011
Table 26 – Satellite TV subscribers and penetration rates – 2000-2012
Table 27 – Satellite TV operators’ market share – 2004-2011
Table 28 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1997-2012
Table 29 – Market share ofmobile operators – 2001-2012
Table 30 – Evolution of mobile ARPU in Colombia – major operators – 2008 - 2011
Table 31 – 3G subscribers (mobile broadband and mobile phone access) – 2010 - 2012
Table 32 – Claro subscribers – 2001-2012
Table 33 – Movistar subscribers – 2001-2012
Table 34 – Tigo subscribers – 2003-2012
Table 35 – Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio – 2005-2012
Table 36 – Mobile broadband market share of operators – 2010 - 2012
Table 37 – Forecast fixed lines – higher growth scenario –2015; 2020
Table 38 – Forecast fixed lines – lower growth scenario –2015; 2020
Table 39 – Forecast broadband subscribers – higher growth scenario – 2015; 2020
Table 40 – Forecast broadband subscribers – lower growth scenario – 2015; 2020
Table 41 – Forecast mobile subscribers – higher growth scenario – 2015; 2020
Table 42 – Forecast mobile subscribers – lower growth scenario – 2015; 2020
Chart 1 – Fixed and mobile subscribers in Colombia – 1998 – 2012
Chart 2 – Fixed and mobile subscribers in Colombia by market share – 1998 - 2012
Chart 3 – Fixed lines in service - market share at a glance - 2003 – 2012
Chart 4 – Fixed lines in service – market evolution at a glance – 2003 - 2012
Chart 5 – Broadband subscribers – market evolution at a glance – 2003-2012
Chart 6 – Broadband market share at a glance – 2011
Chart 7 – Mobile subscribers – market evolution at a glance – 2003 – 2012
Chart 8 – Mobile market share at a glance – 2012
Exhibit 1 – Map of Colombia
Exhibit 2 – Movistar at a glance
Exhibit 3 – UNE-EPM Telecomunicaciones at a glance
Exhibit 4 – UNE subsidiaries
Exhibit 5 – ETB at a glance
Exhibit 6 – Claro at a glance
Exhibit 7 – Major ISPs, broadband players and services offered
Exhibit 8 – Claro at a glance
Exhibit 9 – Movistar at a glance
Exhibit 10 – Tigo at a glance

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