Uruguay - Telecoms, IP Networks and Digital Media - Insights and Statistics
Uruguay's pay TV operators contest new media law
Uruguay's GDP per capita was one of the highest performing in the region during 2010 and 2011. It has since slowed to a more moderate 3.5%, a level expected to continue into 2015. The country is among the more politically stable in Latin America, is relatively free from corruption and is not prone to the natural disasters which affect other countries in the region, particularly in the Caribbean. The government has been supportive of business, and has pursued prudent macroeconomic policies which have been sympathetic to investment. Transparent regulations, growing domestic consumption, high living standards, and a cheap labour force are expected to continue drawing international capital.
Bar a few Caribbean islands, Uruguay enjoys the highest broadband penetration in Latin America, the second highest fixed-line teledensity after Costa Rica, and the second highest mobile penetration after Panama. With high literacy rates and widespread computer availability, Uruguay is one of the world's leading software exporters and South America's outsourcing hub. In terms of computer penetration, Uruguay tops all other countries in the region by a considerable margin.
Uruguay is one of the very few Latin American countries where the local fixed-line market is neither privatised nor liberalised. Antel, the state-owned incumbent, has a monopoly in the provision of local telephony and fixed broadband services. Other segments of the telecom market have been opened to competition, including international long-distance telephony, mobile telephony, and fixed-wireless broadband.
Uruguay is also one of the few countries in the world where broadband access via cable modem does not exist. Although cable networks are well equipped technologically, and digital cable TV is widely available, telecom law prohibits data transmission over pay TV networks. There are ongoing discussions over the need to change regulations and permit cable TV providers to offer broadband. Cable broadband would help strengthen the pay TV market, make triple-play solutions more widely available, and give customers the freedom to choose their internet provider.
A new media law was passed in December 2014, aimed at curbing media concentration and providing greater certainty to licence holders. However, media companies have objected to some restrictive provisions, such as those which limit pay TV operators from having more than 25% share of subscribers nationally, or from providing telecom services on their networks.
Antel's Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) program is by far the most ambitious broadband effort in Latin America. Together with the FttP network, the opening of a new submarine cable system (Bicentenario) in early 2012 has helped boost Uruguay's internet download speed. International bandwidth tripled as a result of the cable landing.
Three players compete in the Uruguayan mobile market: Antel, Telefónica's Movistar, and América Móvil's Claro. Antel is the mobile market leader, followed by Movistar.
All three mobile operators offer mobile broadband through 3G and LTE networks. Mobile broadband is the fastest growing telecom sector by far. Operators have achieved nationwide UMTS coverage, attracting a growing number of subscribers outside of Montevideo. An estimated 30% of the population have opted for mobile broadband, and the number of subscribers is soaring. Antel was also one of the first companies in the region to launch commercial LTE services. The LTE network supplements FttP broadband in areas where the latter is not available. It is intended that the entire population will have access to either LTE, FttP, or both technologies.
Penetration of telecom services - 2014
Market penetration | 2014 (e)
Fixed-line telephony | 32%
Fixed-broadband | 20%
Mobile telephony | 160%
Administrative court rules against Claro providing fixed-line broadband services;
Antel connects over half a million premises to Internet Vera fibre network;
New media law criticised for restriction on ban on pay TV operators offering telecom services; Claro again prepares to launch DTH services after its licence was twice revoked;
The government auctioned blocks of spectrum in the 900MHz, 1900MHz, and 1700-2100MHz frequency bands, raising $64 million.
The government in mid-2013 cancelled Claro's licence to provide satellite pay-TV services.
Antel's LTE network continues to be expanded across the country, complementing the FttP service.
A service dubbed Universal Hogares aims to connect every Uruguayan home to the internet. The service is available to all those who already have a fixed telephone line, or those who acquire one, and offers basic ADSL access with no monthly fees.
The Bicentenario submarine cable linking Argentina and Uruguay was inaugurated and made operational in early 2012 with an initial capacity of 50Gb/s. The system's total design capacity is 3.84Tb/s.
Alcatel-Lucent was contracted by Claro Uruguay to build an LTE network, with expansion to a number of cities planned during 2014. The commercial launch of LTE services enables it to compete with Antel's service.
By July 2014 Antel's FttP network connected 350,000 premises. A total of 800,000 premises will be passed on completion in 2015, offering data at 120Mb/s.
Antel has signed an LTE connectivity agreement with network operators, allowing roaming between LTE networks globally.
Clarovideo PPV platform launches for Claro mobile phone subscribers;
Net Insight selected to build a national DTT network by November 2015;
Movistar launches commercial LTE services in Montevideo;
Report includes the regulator's market data to June 2014, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Antel, Claro Uruguay, Movistar Uruguay, Dedicado.
This report provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in Uruguay's telecommunications market. This report covers trends and developments in the fixed-line, mobile, internet, broadband, and pay-TV markets.
Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
Facts, figures and statistics;
Industry and regulatory issues;
Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, ARPU, MoU;
Internet, VoIP, IPTV;
Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
Broadband (FttP, DSL, cable, wireless);
Convergence and Digital Media;
3G subscriber and mobile ARPU forecasts;
Broadband market forecasts for selective years to 2020.
Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
Market liberalisation and industry issues;
Telecoms operators privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;
Mobile technologies (GSM; 3G, HSPA, LTE).