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Guatemala - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Guatemala - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Movistar preps for mid-2014 LTE launch in Guatemala

Growth in Guatemala's telecom sector has been affected by the continuing global economic downturn, which has reduced spending power in both the residential and corporate markets. The fixed-line market shrank for the first time in 2009, a trend which has been maintained since. The broadband market has continued to grow but at a slower rate while the mobile telephony market has shown remarkably strong growth in recent years, largely stimulated by consumers finding an alternative to fixed-line communications. Indeed, poor infrastructure has led to the country having one of the lowest fixed-line teledensities in the region. As a result, broadband availability is limited. This has been exacerbated by very low GDP per capita, which has stymied consumer take-up of services where available, as also the popular use of computers. The outlook for the remainder of 2014 is characteristic of former years, with the fixed-line market likely to stagnate while the fixed broadband and mobile sectors develop steadily.

The anticipated growth in GDP per capita will provide more disposable household revenue and so stimulate demand for telecom and ICT services. This would be more marked should the country free itself from its legacy of violence, poverty, and corruption, factors which continue to inhibit prospective investors.

Among the poorer countries in Latin America, Guatemala's telecom infrastructure has suffered from years of underinvestment from state and provincial governments. Network upgrades, in both the fixed-line and mobile sector, have largely been undertaken by the private sector. A number of key players, including Telefónica and América Móvil, are regional and global powerhouses which can tap into expertise and financial resources to bolster their Guatemalan businesses. Given the commercial impetus of these operators, insufficient government financial investment has resulted in many regional areas remaining with poor or non-existent services. Nevertheless, the country benefits from one of the most open regulatory frameworks, with all telecom sectors having been open to competition since 1996.

América Móvil controls about 70% of the fixed lines in service through its subsidiary Claro. Mobile telephony has been the most developed telecom market in Guatemala for several quarters and is likely to remain so for the next few years given the poor condition of fixed-line services. The intense competition amongst operators has helped to improve services and lower prices. Mobile penetration is on a par with the regional average, while the strong growth in the mobile subscriber base is a further indication that consumers are leaning to mobile telephony as an alternative to fixed-line services.

Key highlights:

Telephony services range from the modern network in the city of Guatemala to non-existent infrastructure in many rural areas. As a result, teledensity remains low. Without regulator stimuli these commercially unviable areas are likely to continue depending on mobile telephony services in coming years.

International mobile money remittance services are expanding, with Tigo launching services with Western Union.

The wireless market has showed strong growth in recent years, with the number of subscribers increasing by some 550% between 2004 and 2011.

Due to the deficiencies of the fixed-line infrastructure, WiMAX and mobile broadband have become important alternatives to meet Guatemala's growing broadband demand.

Digicel, which has an operating license in the 900MHz band, has yet to launch mobile services in Guatemala, though in 2012 it signed an agreement with Claro to integrate their networks in both Guatemala and El Salvador.

A mobile wallet service from Movilway may pave the way for wider consumer use of the m-payment platform in coming years.

In 2013 Telefónica signed an agreement with CMI, divesting a 40% stake in its Guatemalan subsidiary.

Congress passed legislation in late 2012 extending existing license concessions for a further 20 years. Without charging for the extension, the State thereby lost out on significant revenue.

In mid-2013 the government chose the ISDB-T standard for DTTV, with a view to ending analogue broadcasts by the end of 2015.

Telefónica expected to launch commercial LTE services in Guatemala by mid-2014, providing customers with data at up to 50Mb/s;

América Móvil's AMX-1 cable is lit, providing connectivity between Guatemala and several countries including the US and Brazil;

Tigo Guatemala secures US$800 million ten-year bond to refinance debt and invest in network upgrades.Guatemala key telecom parameters 2010; 2013

Penetration of telecoms services: | 2010 | 2013 (e)
Fixed broadband | 2.5% | 10.5%
Mobile | 88.3% | 103.5%
Fixed-line | 10.6% | 13.2%
(Source: BuddeComm)


Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

This report covers trends and developments in the telecommunications, mobile, internet and broadband market in Guatemala, including VoIP developments.

Subjects include:

Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
Facts, figures and statistics;
Industry and regulatory issues;
Infrastructure development;
Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers;
VoIP;
Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
Internet and broadband markets (DSL, cable modem, wireless);
Mobile market (including 3G and mobile broadband).


1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Country overview
3.2 Overview of Guatemala's telecom market
3.3 Market analysis
4. Regulatory environment
4.1 Background
4.2 Regulatory authority
4.2.1 Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (SIT)
4.3 Telecom sector liberalisation in Guatemala
4.4 Privatisation of Guatel/Telgua
4.5 DR-CAFTA
4.6 Interconnection
4.7 Foreign investments
5. Fixed network operators in Guatemala
5.1 Overview of operators
5.2 Claro/Telgua (América Móvil)
5.3 Movistar (Telefónica)
6. Telecommunications infrastructure
6.1 National telecom network
6.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
6.1.2 Public payphones
6.2 International infrastructure
6.2.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
6.2.2 Submarine cable networks
6.2.3 Satellite networks
6.3 Infrastructure developments
6.3.1 IP and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
7. Wholesale
8. Broadband market
8.1 Overview
8.1.1 Broadband statistics
9. Broadcasting
9.1 Cable TV
9.2 Satellite-based digital pay TV developments
9.3 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
10. Mobile communications
10.1 Overview of Guatemala's mobile market
10.1.1 Mobile statistics
10.2 Mobile technologies
10.2.1 Overview
10.2.2 Third generation (3G) mobile
10.2.3 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
10.3 Major mobile operators
10.3.1 Tigo (Millicom)
10.3.2 Claro (América Móvil)
10.3.3 Movistar (Telefónica)
10.3.4 RED (Intelfon)
10.4 Mobile voice services
10.4.1 Prepaid
10.5 Mobile broadband
10.6 Mobile satellite
10.7 Mobile TV
10.8 Mobile services
10.8.1 M-payment
11. Related reports
Table 1 Country statistics Guatemala 2013 (e)
Table 2 Telephone network statistics 2013
Table 3 Internet user statistics 2014 (e)
Table 4 Broadband statistics 2014 (e)
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2014 (e)
Table 6 National telecommunications authority
Table 7 Evolution of GDP in Guatemala 2000 - 2012
Table 8 Fixed lines by operator 2009 - 2013
Table 9 Historical - Fixed lines in service and teledensity 1996 - 2004
Table 10 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2005 - 2014
Table 11 Historical - Internet users and penetration rate 1997 - 2004
Table 12 Internet users and penetration rate 2005 - 2014
Table 13 Broadband subscribers and penetration rates 2005 - 2014
Table 14 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 1997 - 2004
Table 15 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2005 - 2014
Table 16 Mobile subscribers by operator (regulator data) 2003 - 2013
Table 17 Market share by mobile operator 2000 - 2013
Table 18 Tigo mobile subscribers 2000 - 2013
Table 19 Claro mobile subscribers (historic) 2000 - 2013
Table 20 Movistar Central American revenue 2010 - 2013
Table 21 Movistar mobile subscribers 2000 - 2013
Table 22 Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio 2002 - 2013
Chart 1 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2005 2014
Chart 2 Broadband subscribers and penetration rates 2005 2014
Chart 3 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2003 2014
Chart 4 Mobile subscribers by operator (regulator data) 2003 2013
Chart 5 Market share by mobile operator 2000 2013
Chart 6 Tigo mobile subscribers 2000 2013
Exhibit 1 Major submarine cable networks connecting Guatemala
Exhibit 2 BellSouth Guatemala history

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