Although below the regional average, Colombia’s mobile penetration is quite high compared with the country’s relatively low economic indicators. While the market has slowed down, it still holds significant growth potential, particularly in the mobile broadband sector where penetration is still very low. The years 2010-2013 have brought significant changes to the Colombian mobile environment, with the launch of several MVNOs and the arrival of 4G/LTE technology, among others.
Colombia has five Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and six Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), with UNE being both an MNO and an MVNO.
Three MNOs dominate the mobile market: Claro (the trading name of Comcel), Movistar, and Tigo (the trading name of Colombia Móvil). The leader is Claro, but its market share has been shrinking since 2009. Local trunking service provider Avantel serves a small number of mostly corporate customers using digital iDEN technology. UNE operates a 4G/LTE network in six Colombian cities.
MVNOs Uff! Móvil, UNE, ETB, and Móvil Éxito offer mobile voice and internet services over Tigo’s network, while Metrotel and Virgin Mobile have entered into wholesale agreements with Movistar.
A highly successful 4G auction in June 2013 saw five winning bidders: Claro, Movistar, Tigo/ETB, Avantel, and DirecTV – the latter being a completely new market entrant.
Accompanied by key market statistics and analyses, this report provides an overview of Colombia’s mobile market and a brief profile of all mobile operators. It also contains scenario forecasts for the years 2015 and 2020.
Virgin Mobile launched MVNO services in April 2013 and Móvil Éxito did so in May 2013; 4G licence winners are required to launch services before mid-2014; Movistar plans to launch LTE services in Bogota, Medellin, Cali, and Barranquilla before end-2013; Colombian bank Banagrícola has bought a 70% stake in Uff! Móvil.
Companies covered in this report include:
Claro/Comcel, Movistar, Tigo, Avantel, DirecTV, UNE-EPM, Uff! Móvil, ETB, Metrotel, Emcali, Virgin Mobile, Móvil Éxito, Globalstar.