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Nicaragua - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

The Nicaragua - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband report includes all BuddeComm research data and analysis on this country. Covering trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet, broadband, infrastructure and regulation.

Executive summary

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, but one of the least densely populated. It has the subregion’s lowest GDP per capita. About 62% of the population live below the poverty line.

Like its economic indicators, Nicaragua’s fixed-line teledensity and mobile penetration are also the lowest in Central America. The broadband market is still embryonic, with less than 1% penetration.

Most Internet users are concentrated in the largest cities because the rural and marginal areas lack access to the most basic telecom infrastructure. A number of Internet cafés provide public access to Internet and email services, but these are also restricted to the larger population centres.

América Móvil’s Claro has a clear leadership in all of Nicaragua’s telecom sectors, including fixed-line, mobile, broadband, and pay TV.

Telefónica’s Movistar is the only company competing with Claro in the fixed-line and mobile market. In the mobile sector, Movistar holds almost one third of the market, but in the fixed-line sector, it has only about 11% of the country’s fixed lines in service.

Due to a weak regulatory structure and bureaucratic delays, further liberalisation is slow to be implemented. The duopoly situation has dampened the competitive drive; therefore, there has been less effort than in neighbouring countries to improve quality and lower prices.

Some competition is expected in the fixed-line and broadband market from mid-2010, when a new company, Yota de Nicaragua, is due to launch WiMAX services.

The telecom market outlook for 2010 is uninspiring; the fixed-line market will probably continue to decline, while mobile market growth decelerates. The fastest growing sector in 2010 will undoubtedly be broadband, both fixed and mobile, as the country’s penetration levels are extremely low and demand is rising.

The longer-term prospect is more promising. GDP per capita should eventually increase, and with telecom indicators being so low, there is enormous growth potential for the future, provided the country can free itself from its legacy of violence and corruption. A priority for the government is to develop a universal service plan for economically depressed rural localities, and to bring Internet access to all state schools.

Key highlights:

  • Yota de Nicaragua, controlled by Russia’s WiMAX Holding Ltd, rolled out a WiMAX network in the fourth quarter of 2009, with initial coverage over the capital city of Managua. Yota intends to expand the WiMAX infrastructure gradually to other regions of Nicaragua.
  • VoIP is open to full competition and there are several companies offering services.
  • América Móvil unified all services in Nicaragua (including fixed line, mobile, Internet, and cable TV) under the Claro brand in May 2009, when the Enitel name was discontinued.
  • Claro has a near-monopoly over broadband in Nicaragua since acquiring cable TV company Estesa, which was the only company that offered any meaningful competition. Claro’s ADSL and cable modem services are both branded Turbonett Fijo. The cable modem service uses the Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) network inherited from Estesa.Nicaragua - key telecom parameters - 2008 - 2009
  • Category20082009 (e)
  • Fixed-line service
  • Total number of subscribers252,000249,000
  • Annual growth1.2%-1.2%
  • Teledensity4.4%4.3%
  • Internet
  • Internet users185,000198,000
  • Annual growth9%7%
  • Internet users penetration3.3%3.4%
  • Broadband
  • Total number of subscribers36,00044,000
  • Annual growth29%22%
  • Penetration rate0.6%0.8%
  • Mobile telephony subscribers
  • Total number of subscribers (million)2.933.10
  • Annual growth19%6%
  • Mobile penetration rate51.7%53.9%
  • (Source: BuddeComm)
Nicaragua has good long-term growth potential especially in mobile and broadband services. The report covers trends and developments in the fixed-line, mobile, Internet, broadband, and pay TV markets. Subjects include:
  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Facts, figures, and statistics;
  • Government policies and regulatory issues;
  • Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
  • Infrastructure development;
  • Internet and broadband market (DSL, cable modem, wireless);
  • Mobile market (including 3G and mobile broadband).

  • Executive summary
    • Table Nicaragua - key telecom parameters - 2008 - 2009
  • Key statistics
    • Table Country statistics Nicaragua - 2009
    • Table Telephone network statistics - 2009
    • Table Internet user statistics - 2009
    • Table Broadband statistics - 2009
    • Table Mobile statistics - 2009
    • Table National telecommunications authority
  • Telecommunications market
    • Country overview
      • Table Evolution of GDP in Nicaragua - 2000 - 2010
    • Overview of Nicaragua's telecom market
    • Market analysis - 2010
  • Regulatory environment
    • Background
    • Regulatory authority
      • Telcor
    • Privatisation of Enitel
    • Telecom sector liberalisation in Nicaragua
    • DR-CAFTA
  • Fixed network operators in Nicaragua
    • Table Fixed line market share by operator - 2004 - 2008
    • Claro (América Móvil)
    • Movistar (Telefónica)
    • Yota de Nicaragua
  • Telecommunications infrastructure
    • National telecom network
      • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1996 - 2010
      • Public payphones
        • Table Public phones - 1999 - 2009
    • International infrastructure
      • Interconnection with other Central American countries
        • Table Nicaragua - major submarine cable networks
      • Satellite networks
    • Infrastructure developments
      • IP and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
  • Wholesale
  • Broadband access market
    • Overview
      • Table Internet users and penetration rate - 1997 - 2010
      • Table Broadband subscribers and penetration rates - 2000 - 2010
  • Broadcasting
    • Pay TV
  • Mobile communications
    • Overview of Nicaragua's mobile market
      • Table Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1997 - 2010
      • Table Mobile market share by operator - 2002 - 2009
      • Table Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio - 2003 - 2009
    • Mobile technologies
      • Overview
      • Third generation (3G) mobile
    • Major mobile operators
      • Claro (América Móvil)
        • Table Claro - mobile subscribers - 2003 - 2009
      • Movistar (Telefónica)
        • Table Movistar - mobile subscribers - 2000 - 2009
    • Mobile broadband
    • Mobile satellite

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