Haiti - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Executive summary

Haitian mobile market set to change with number portability and 1900MHz auction

BuddeComm’s report Haiti - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband profiles the fixed-line, mobile and broadband markets in one of the Caribbean’s largest yet poorest countries. The report contains overviews, analyses and statistics of market developments to May 2014.

Haiti’s economic and social indicators remain far lower than the average for Latin America and the Caribbean. The recent years of political and economic turmoil and natural disasters have stifled most sectors of the economy, including the telecoms sector which remains one of the least developed in the world.

In the internet market, poor fixed-line infrastructure has obliged most businesses to rely on satellite and wireless technologies. There remain significant barriers to broadband development, related to low international connectivity and the absence of an effective regulated wholesale broadband regime. The incumbent Natcom plans to invest in a national fiber optic network, though progress s anticipated to be slow and consequently most people and businesses will look to mobile broadband for connectivity.

In the mobile sector, the launch of services by Natcom in late 2011 introduced a competitive boost, though this has been set back to some degree by the Digicel Group’s acquisition of the number two player Voilà, and the integration of the latter’s mobile network in late 2012. With the collapse of the third operator HaiTel in mid-2013, this left Digicel with about 85% market share of subscribers. Nevertheless, the economies of scale together with Digicel’s interest in promoting 4G services as well as innovative mobile data services such as mobile banking should considerably improve internet connectivity in rural areas in coming years, and enable communities to make greater use of internet services where fixed-line infrastructure remains inadequate.

Market highlights:

  • Haiti’s fixed line teledensity remained amongst the lowest in the world, at around 1%. Though progress in network development is slow, growth potential is considerable.
  • The Vietnamese telco Viettel acquired a 60% share in Teleco, which was transformed into a new entity, Natcom. The deal may invigorate the company as it struggles to deal with Haiti’s pressing infrastructure problems.
  • Viettel’s bid included a commitment to build a 2,000km fibre optic cable to provide internet access in particular to remote areas. During 2011 Natcom began replacing and expanding the ruined fixed line network with the aim of providing national services including DSL broadband access.
  • The mobile market saw renewed competition following the entry of Natcom, which operates a GSM/3G mobile network. However, Digicel’s acquisition of Voilà in mid-2012 has further consolidated the market.
  • Digicel Jamaica’s extension to the existing Fibralink submarine cable, operational from mid-2012, has provided a much needed boost to capacity, particularly in the required backhaul for international mobile data.
  • HaiTel went into receivership in mid-2013, showcasing the difficult economic conditions for operators in the country. Its possessions were auctioned off by the tax office.
  • Digicel’s TchoTcho mobile payment platform secures two million subscribers;
  • The regulator has tendered for an MNP system, with a view for the facility to be available by mid-2014.

Henry Lancaster

May 2014

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

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Haiti’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the mobile, internet and broadband sectors. Subjects include:

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Facts, figures and statistics;
  • Industry and regulatory issues;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Major players;
  • Internet, broadband (DSL, wireless);
  • Mobile voice and data markets;

Key developments:

Digicel merges with Voila and closes down the latter's network; Natcom expands network infrastructure, aiming for 3,500kms of fibre; HaiTel slides into receivership, assets sold by tax office; slow fibre network development encouraging mobile data services growth; analyses of market developments to May 2014.

Companies covered in this report include:

Natcom, HaiTel, Digicel, Rectel, Comcel, Teleco.

This report is essential reading for those needing high level strategic information and objective analysis on the telecom sector in Haiti. It provides further information on:

  • Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
  • The impact of the country’s economic difficulties;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Mobile data market developments in coming years;
  • 3G developments, regulatory issues and technologies 4G;
  • Historical and current subscriber statistics.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
  • 4. Telecommunications market
    • 4.1 Overview of Haiti’s telecom market
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Regulatory authority
      • 5.1.1 Conseil National des Telecommunications (Conatel)
    • 5.2 Telecom sector liberalisation
    • 5.3 Privatisation
  • 6. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 6.1 National telecom network
      • 6.1.1 Natcom
    • 6.2 International infrastructure
  • 7. Broadband market
    • 7.1 Overview
    • 7.2 Internet statistics
  • 8. Digital media
    • 8.1 Overview
    • 8.2 Cable TV (CATV)
    • 8.3 Satellite TV
  • 9. Mobile communications
    • 9.1 Overview of Haiti’s mobile market
    • 9.2 Mobile statistics
    • 9.3 Major mobile operators
      • 9.3.1 Digicel
      • 9.3.2 Comcel (Voilà)
      • 9.3.3 Haiti Telecommunications International (HaiTel)
      • 9.3.4 Natcom
      • 9.3.5 Rectel (Teleco)
      • 9.3.6 Mobile commerce
  • 10. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Haiti – 2013 (e)
  • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2013 (e)
  • Table 3 – Internet provider statistics – 2013
  • Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2013 (e)
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2013 (e)
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 7 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2000 - 2004
  • Table 8 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 - 2014
  • Table 9 – Historic - Internet users and user penetration rate – 2000 - 2004
  • Table 10 – Internet users and user penetration rate – 2005 - 2014
  • Table 11 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2000 - 2004
  • Table 12 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 - 2014
  • Chart 1 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 - 2014
  • Chart 2 – Internet users and user penetration rate – 2005 - 2014
  • Chart 3 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 - 2014
  • Exhibit 1 – Mobile banking

Focus Report profile

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"Paul, May I congratulate you on a very successful and enjoyable afternoon with the Minister. In providing the roundtable discussions between government and industry, it highlighted the strong interest by stakeholders in Broadband and its implementation but it also presented us with other issues and opportunities that we need to address."

Dominic Schipano, CITT

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