Honduras - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

New IXP to improve internet connectivity in Honduras

Among the poorest countries in Central America, Honduras has long been plagued by an unstable political framework which has rendered telecom reform difficult. Reform is critical if the country is to address some of the least impressive market statistics in the region.

The country has been on the cusp of bankruptcy for several years, and though a group of banks had written off $3.5 billion of debt in 2007 accumulated debt since then has reached $5 billion. The economic plight has contributed to crises within the government, with no consensus on how to formulate a budget for 2013.

These practical difficulties have had real effects on the country’s telecom market. Fixed-line teledensity at only 7% is significantly lower than the Latin American and Caribbean average. Poor fixed-line infrastructure has been exacerbated by low investment and difficulties in local terrain which have made investment in rural areas unattractive or uneconomical. As a consequence, the internet has been slow to develop in Honduras: DSL and cable modem technologies are available but relatively expensive, while higher speed services are largely restricted to the major urban centres. Nevertheless, the demand for broadband is steadily increasing and there are has been some investment in network upgrades to fibre-based infrastructure, though this is restricted to the main cities. Poor fixed-line connectivity has also inhibited the take-up of VoIP, which would otherwise be a preferred communications medium to expensive domestic calls.

On the positive side, these factors have encouraged consumer take-up of mobile services, a sector where there is lively competition supported by international investment and know-how. As a result, mobile penetration is about 20% above the regional average. Revenue from the mobile sector looks promising in coming years as operators invest in their networks, expanding their reach and upgrading their capabilities to accommodate mobile broadband services. Mobile data as a proportion of overall mobile revenue has increased steadily, though low-end SMS services will continue to account for the bulk of data revenue for some years.

Political developments during the last few years have not facilitated the much-needed reform of legislation governing the telecoms sector. Partly this is due to political stalemate and ineffective legislators, but underlying the difficulties are the close ties between executives at the incumbent Hondutel and key members of the government. Charges of bribery and corruption are rife, and though the framework for reforming the Telecommunications Act remains before the Honduran Congress, there is little prospect of effective change in the short term which would bring about a properly competitive and fair market for some services.

Estimated market penetration rates by service – 2015

Market
Penetration rate
Mobile
93.2%
Internet (users)
27.0%
Fixed
5.6%

(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Key developments:

  • Tigo Money mobile cash transfer service signs up more than one million users;
  • Claro and Tigo both launch LTE services;
  • Tigo launches satellite service;
  • Hondutel management shake-up fails to stem losses, though the company reported its first a net profit in June 2014 in 41 consecutive months;
  • Spectrum auction encourages mobile broadband services take-up;
  • Tigo rebrands broadband and pay-TV business as ‘Tigo Star’;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data to Q4 2015, telcos’ operational data updates, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report include:

Hondutel, Comunitel, MultiData, Millicom, Digicel, América Móvil.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Telecommunications market
    • 3.1 Country overview
    • 3.2 Overview of the Honduran telecom market
  • 4. Regulatory environment
    • 4.1 Regulatory authority
      • 4.1.1 Comisión Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Conatel)
    • 4.2 Privatisation
    • 4.3 DR-CAFTA
    • 4.4 Foreign investment
    • 4.5 Telecom sector liberalisation in Honduras
    • 4.6 ‘Telephony For All’ program
  • 5. Fixed network operators in Honduras
    • 5.1 Hondutel
    • 5.2 Tele+ (Comunitel)
    • 5.3 MultiData
  • 6. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 6.1 National telecom network
    • 6.2 Internet Exchange Point (IXP)
      • 6.2.1 Fixed-line statistics
    • 6.3 International infrastructure
      • 6.3.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
      • 6.3.2 Submarine cable networks
      • 6.3.3 Satellite networks
    • 6.4 Infrastructure developments
      • 6.4.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 6.4.2 IP and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
      • 6.4.3 Fibre broadband
  • 7. Broadband market
    • 7.1 Overview
    • 7.2 Statistics
      • 7.2.1 Broadband subscribers
    • 7.3 Major ISPs and broadband players
    • 7.4 Community Telecentres
  • 8. Digital Media
    • 8.1 Media convergence
    • 8.2 Cable TV
    • 8.3 Satellite-based digital pay TV developments
    • 8.4 Digital terrestrial TV
  • 9. Mobile communications
    • 9.1 Overview of the Honduran mobile market
    • 9.2 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
    • 9.3 Mobile statistics
      • 9.3.1 Mobile voice
      • 9.3.2 Mobile data
      • 9.3.3 Mobile broadband
    • 9.4 Mobile infrastructure
      • 9.4.1 Third generation (3G) mobile
      • 9.4.2 Fourth generation (4G) mobile
      • 9.4.3 LTE
    • 9.5 Major mobile operators
      • 9.5.1 Tigo/Celtel (Millicom)
      • 9.5.2 Claro/Sercom (América Móvil)
      • 9.5.3 Hondutel
      • 9.5.4 Digicel
    • 9.6 Mobile applications
      • 9.6.1 M-money
  • 10. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Honduras – 2015 (e)
  • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2015
  • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2015
  • Table 4 – Mobile statistics – 2015
  • Table 5 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 6 – Evolution of GDP in Honduras – 2000 - 2015
  • Table 7 – Tax revenue from telecom services – 2014 – 2015
  • Table 8 – Fixed line terminating traffic – 2001 – 2015
  • Table 9 – Fixed line originating traffic – 2014 – 2015
  • Table 10 – Historic - Market share of fixed lines in service – 2003 - 2010
  • Table 11 – Number of operators: fixed, mobile, data, ISP and CATV markets – 2005 - 2010
  • Table 12 – Hondutel revenue – 2011 – 2014
  • Table 13 – Hondutel net profit – 2005 – 2015
  • Table 14 – Hondutel – fixed lines in service – 1997 - 2011
  • Table 15 – Telecom sector revenue – 2011- 2014
  • Table 16 – Fixed lines in service by operator – 1996 - 2012
  • Table 17 – Historic - Fixed lines in service – 1996 - 2009
  • Table 18 – Fixed lines in service by operator – 2005 - 2015
  • Table 19 – International bandwidth – 2000 - 2014
  • Table 20 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate – 1997 - 2009
  • Table 21 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 22 – Internet subscribers and penetration rate – 2002 - 2016
  • Table 23 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 24 – Cybercafé and CCI points – 2002 - 2012
  • Table 25 – Pay TV subscribers and penetration rates – 2003 - 2012
  • Table 26 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1997 – 2009
  • Table 27 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 – 2016
  • Table 28 – Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio – 1997 - 2015
  • Table 29 –Mobile voice traffic – 2014 - 2015
  • Table 30 –Mobile messaging traffic – 2014 - 2015
  • Table 31 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2010 - 2015
  • Table 32 – Tigo – mobile subscribers – 2000 - 2015
  • Table 33 – Historic - Claro – mobile subscribers – 2003 - 2008
  • Table 34 – Tigo Money users – 2014 - 2015
  • Chart 1 – Market share of fixed lines in service – 2003 – 2012
  • Chart 2 – Fixed lines in service by operator – 2005 – 2016
  • Chart 3 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2000 – 2016
  • Chart 4 – Internet subscribers and penetration rate – 2003 – 2016
  • Chart 5 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 – 2016
  • Exhibit 1 – Major submarine cable networks connecting Honduras
  • Exhibit 2 – Spectrum band allocations for LTE - 2013
  • Exhibit 3 – Spectrum auction awards – October 2013

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