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Latin American Telecommunications Infrastructure

1. Argentina
1.1 National telecom network
1.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
1.1.2 Public payphones
1.2 International infrastructure
1.2.1 Submarine cable networks
1.2.2 Satellite networks
1.3 Infrastructure developments
1.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
1.3.2 IP and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
2. Belize
2.1 National telecom networks
2.1.1 Rural communications
2.2 Infrastructure developments
2.2.1 IP and VoIP
2.3 International infrastructure
2.3.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
2.3.2 Submarine cable networks
3. Bolivia
3.1 National telecom networks
3.1.1 Public payphones
3.2 International infrastructure
3.2.1 Submarine cable networks
3.2.2 Satellite
3.3 Infrastructure developments
3.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
3.3.2 IP and VoIP
4. Brazil
4.1 National telecom networks
4.1.1 Public payphones
4.1.2 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
4.1.3 Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) networks
4.2 International infrastructure
4.2.1 Submarine cable networks
4.2.2 Satellite networks
4.3 Infrastructure developments
4.3.1 IP and VoIP
5. Caribbean Countries
5.1 Fixed-line teledensity
5.2 Submarine cable systems
6. Chile
6.1 National telecom networks
6.2 International infrastructure
6.2.1 Submarine cable networks
6.2.2 Satellite networks
6.3 Infrastructure developments
6.3.1 IP and VoIP
6.3.2 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
7. Colombia
7.1 National telecom network
7.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
7.2 International infrastructure
7.2.1 Submarine cable networks
7.2.2 Satellite networks
7.3 Infrastructure developments
7.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
7.3.2 VoIP
8. Costa Rica
8.1 National telecom network
8.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
8.1.2 Public payphones
8.2 International infrastructure
8.2.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
8.2.2 Submarine cable networks
8.3 Infrastructure developments
8.3.1 Nationwide broadband network
8.3.2 IP and VoIP
9. Cuba
9.1 National telecom network
9.2 International infrastructure
9.2.1 Submarine cable networks
9.2.2 Satellite networks
10. Dominican Republic
10.1 National telecom network
10.2 International infrastructure
10.2.1 Submarine cable networks
10.2.2 Satellite networks
10.3 Infrastructure developments
10.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
10.3.2 IP and VoIP
11. Ecuador
11.1 National telecom network
11.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
11.1.2 Public payphones
11.2 International infrastructure
11.2.1 Submarine cable networks
11.2.2 Satellite networks
11.3 Infrastructure developments
11.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
11.3.2 IP and VoIP
12. El Salvador
12.1 National telecom networks
12.2 International infrastructure
12.2.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
12.2.2 Submarine cable networks
12.3 Infrastructure developments
12.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
12.3.2 IP and VoIP
13. Guatemala
13.1 National telecom networks
13.1.1 Public payphones
13.2 International infrastructure
13.2.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
13.2.2 Submarine cable networks
13.2.3 Satellite networks
13.3 Infrastructure developments
13.3.1 IP and VoIP
14. Guyana
14.1 National telecom network
14.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
14.2 International
14.2.1 Submarine cable networks
14.2.2 Satellite networks
15. Haiti
15.1 National telecom network
15.2 International infrastructure
16. Honduras
16.1 National telecom networks
16.1.1 Public telephones
16.2 International infrastructure
16.2.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
16.2.2 Submarine cable networks
16.2.3 Satellite networks
16.3 Infrastructure developments
16.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
16.3.2 IP and VoIP
17. Jamaica
17.1 National telecom network
17.2 International infrastructure
17.2.1 Submarine cable networks
17.3 Infrastructure developments
17.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
17.3.2 IP and VoIP
18. Mexico
18.1 National telecom networks
18.2 International infrastructure
18.2.1 Terrestrial networks
18.2.2 Submarine cable networks
18.2.3 Satellite networks
18.3 Infrastructure developments
18.3.1 VoIP
18.3.2 Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
18.3.3 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
19. Nicaragua
19.1 National telecom networks
19.1.1 Public telephones
19.2 International infrastructure
19.2.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
19.2.2 Submarine cable networks
19.2.3 Satellite networks
19.3 Infrastructure developments
19.3.1 IP and VoIP
20. Panama
20.1 National telecom network
20.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
20.2 International infrastructure
20.2.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
20.2.2 Submarine cable networks
20.2.3 Satellite networks
20.3 Infrastructure developments
20.3.1 IP and VoIP
20.3.2 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
21. Paraguay
21.1 National telecom network
21.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
21.1.2 Public payphones
21.2 International infrastructure
21.3 Infrastructure developments
21.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
21.3.2 IP and VoIP
22. Peru
22.1 National telecom network
22.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
22.1.2 Public payphones
22.1.3 Rural telephony and FITEL
22.1.4 Copper cable theft
22.2 International infrastructure
22.2.1 Submarine cable networks
22.2.2 Satellite networks
22.3 Infrastructure developments
22.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
22.3.2 IP and VoIP
23. Puerto Rico
23.1 National telecom networks
23.2 International infrastructure
23.2.1 Submarine cable networks
23.2.2 Satellite networks
23.3 IP networks and VoIP
24. Suriname
24.1 National telecom network
24.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
24.2 International infrastructure
24.2.1 Submarine cable networks
24.2.2 Satellite networks
24.3 Infrastructure developments
24.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
24.3.2 Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
>25. Uruguay
25.1 National telecom network
25.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
25.1.2 Public payphones
25.2 International infrastructure
25.2.1 Submarine cable networks
25.2.2 Satellite networks
26. Venezuela
26.1 National telecom network
26.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
26.1.2 Public payphones
26.2 International infrastructure
26.2.1 Submarine cable networks
26.2.2 Satellite networks
26.3 Infrastructure developments
26.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
26.3.2 IP and VoIP
27. Glossary of Abbreviations
Table 1 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Argentina - 1996 - 2008
Table 2 - Public phones in Argentina - 1996 - 2008
Table 3 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Belize - 1998 - 2008
Table 4 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Bolivia - 1996 - 2008
Table 5 - Public payphones in service in Bolivia - 1997 - 2008
Table 6 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Brazil - 1998 - 2008
Table 7 - Public payphones in Brazil - 1998 - 2008
Table 8 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Caribbean countries - 2007
Table 9 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Chile - 2000 - 2008
Table 10 - Public phones in Chile - 2000 - 2008
Table 11 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Colombia - 1996 - 2008
Table 12 - Teledensity by department in Colombia - 2007 - 2008
Table 13 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Costa Rica - 1998 - 2008
Table 14 - Public payphones in Costa Rica - 1998 - 2008
Table 15 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Cuba - 1996 - 2008
Table 16 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Dominican Republic - 1997 - 2008
Table 17 - Public phones in Dominican Republic - 1997 - 2008
Table 18 - WLL lines in service in Dominican Republic - 1999 - 2008
Table 19 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Ecuador - 1996 - 2009
Table 20 - Public telephones: fixed and wireless in Ecuador - 2003 - 2008
Table 21 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in El Salvador - 1996 - 2008
Table 22 - Public payphones in El Salvador - 1998 - 2008
Table 23 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Guatemala - 1996 - 2008
Table 31 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Nicaragua - 1996 - 2007
Table 32 - Public phones in Nicaragua - 1998 - 2007
Table 33 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Panama - 1998 - 2008
Table 34 - Public telephones in Panama - 1998 - 2008
Table 35 - Fixed lines in serviceange and teledensity in Paraguay - 2000 - 2008
Table 36 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Peru - 1997 - 2008
Table 37 - Fibre optic cable length in Peru - 2002 - 2008
Table 38 - Public telephones in Peru - 1997 - 2008
Table 39 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Puerto Rico - 2000 - 2009
Table 40 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Suriname - 1997 - 2008
Table 41 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Uruguay - 1997 - 2008
Table 42 - Public payphones in Uruguay - 1997 - 2008
Table 43 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Venezuela - 1997 - 2008
Table 44 - Public payphones in Venezuela - 1997 - 2008
Exhibit 1 - Major submarine cable networks landing in Argentina
Exhibit 2 - VoIP - an overview
Exhibit 3 - Major submarine cable networks links in Belize
Exhibit 4 - Major submarine cable network link to Bolivia
Exhibit 5 - Major submarine cable networks landing in Brazil
Exhibit 6 - Geostationary satellites operating in Brazil - 2008
Exhibit 7 - Major submarine cable networks serving the Caribbean region
Exhibit 8 - Major submarine cable networks landing in Chile
Exhibit 9 - Major submarine cable networks landing in Colombia
Exhibit 10 - Major submarine cable networks connecting Costa Rica
Exhibit 11 - Proposed submarine cable networks connecting Cuba and Venezuela
Exhibit 12 - Major submarine cable networks serving the Dominican Republic
Exhibit 13 - Major submarine cable network landing in Ecuador
Exhibit 14 - Major submarine cable networks connecting Guatemala
Exhibit 15 - Major submarine cable networks connecting Guatemala
Exhibit 16 - Major submarine cable networks serving Jamaica
Exhibit 17 - Major submarine cable networks landing in Mexico
Exhibit 18 - Major submarine cable networks connecting Nicaragua
Exhibit 19 - Major submarine cable networks serving Panama
Exhibit 20 - FITEL Rural Projects Program in Peru
Exhibit 21 - Major submarine cable networks landing in Peru
Exhibit 22 - Major submarine cable networks serving Puerto Rico
Exhibit 23 - Major submarine cable network link to Suriname
Exhibit 24 - Major submarine cable network landing in Uruguay

This report covers telecommunications infrastructure developments in Latin America and the Caribbean. The countries covered in this report include: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela, and the small Caribbean island nations.


In the Latin American and the Caribbean region, telecom infrastructure varies from nonexistent to rudimentary, and from adequate to well advanced. Despite a low 18% teledensity (in most OECD countries teledensity ranges between 40% and 65%), fixed-line growth in most countries has stagnated since 2001, with consumers favouring mobile phones over fixed-lines.  

The highest teledensity rates in Latin America can be found in Costa Rica (32.5%) and Uruguay (28.7%), where interestingly the incumbent operator is state-owned, while the lowest rates are found in Haiti (1.4%) and Nicaragua (4.6%). Venezuela recorded the fastest growing fixed-line market in 2008, following the renationalisation of its incumbent CANTV.

  VoIP has become popular throughout the region, although the situation in each country is different. Some governments only allow licensed fixed-line voice operators to provide VoIP. Others require operators to be registered or to hold a specific concession. And others regard VoIP as a VAS that doesn’t require regulating and is covered by a regime of free competition. The only countries where VoIP is still a monopoly are Paraguay and Cuba. Besides making voice communications accessible to poorer people, VoIP has been instrumental for the success of telecentres and cybercafés, which have in turn been a key element for Internet growth in Latin America.  

Top 10 Latin American countries for fixed lines in service - 2004; 2008 Year | 2004 | 2008 | Annual change | 2007/08 | Teledensity | 2008 | Fixed lines in service (million) | Brazil | 39.60 | 40.45 | +3.0% | 21.0% | Mexico | 18.07 | 20.54 | +4.0% | 19.2% | Argentina | 8.76 | 9.89 | +4.9% | 24.9% | Colombia | 7.42 | 7.91 | -0.9% | 16.5% | Venezuela | 3.35 | 5.90 | +16.0% | 21.2% | Chile | 3.26 | 3.45 | +1.3% | 20.5% | Peru | 2.05 | 2.81 | +5.2% | 9.7% | Ecuador | 1.59 | 1.89 | +4.6% | 13.7% | Costa Rica | 1.34 | 1.48 | +2.9% | 32.5% | Guatemala | 1.13 | 1.44 | +1.6% | 10.5% | | (Source: BuddeComm based on industry data with BuddeComm estimates)  

Key highlights:Argentina

Compared with the rest of Latin America, Argentina’s telecom infrastructure is relatively modern. Fixed-line teledensity is higher than neighbouring Brazil and Chile - in fact, it is one of the highest in Latin America. Nevertheless, like other Latin American countries, Argentina suffers from a marked discrepancy between urban and rural areas. While teledensity is about 39% in Buenos Aires, in a couple of regions this figure is lower than 8%. VoIP is well developed in Argentina. Since deregulation in 2000, a large number of companies have started to offer VoIP services, bringing intense competition into the market by offering alternative long-distance telephony at significantly lower prices.  

Brazil

Brazil’s fixed-line teledensity is slightly higher than average for Latin America. The country has an extensive microwave radio relay system and a domestic satellite system with 64 earth stations. In fact, satellite communications have retained a major role in Brazil. The Amazon jungles of the north make satellites the major communication facility, as it is almost impossible to lay fibre optic cable in the thick vegetation. Star One was the first operator to provide satellite services in Brazil, and remains the market leader. It operates four satellites, of which two, Star One C1 and C2, were launched in 2007 and 2008 respectively. The number of VoIP subscribers in Brazil more than doubled in 2008; VoIP services are provided by a large number of companies led by Net Serviços de Comunicação and GVT.  

Mexico

Mexico’s growth in fixed lines has been steadily declining for the past eight years, from 13% in 2000 to 4% in 2008. In 2007, in fact, the number of subscribers declined. Thus teledensity continues to hover at approximately 19%, with significant disparities between urban and rural areas. Satelites Mexicanos (SatMex) is the leading satellite operator in Latin America; its fleet offers regional and continental coverage in C and Ku Bands all the way from Canada to Argentina. As access to broadband expands, VoIP has gained huge popularity in Mexico, especially with small and medium sized businesses. However, VoIP providers have the same licensing requirements as any other voice carrier.  

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

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