2009 Latin American Fixed Voice Market

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Last updated: 21 Jul 2009 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 150

Analyst: Stephen McNamara

Publication Overview

The countries covered in this report include: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela, and the small Caribbean island nations.


The report provides key information about the major fixed-line operators in Latin America and the Caribbean. Topics covered include:

·         brief company history and shareholder structure;

·         financial performance;

·         subscriber evolution;

·         market position.


Researchers:- Lucia Bibolini, Lawrence Baker

Current publication date:- July 2009 (8th Edition)

Next publication date:- August 2010

Executive Summary

Latin America’s largest fixed-line operator in terms of lines in service is Telmex, founded and controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. In terms of revenue, Brazil’s Telesp, owned by Telefónica, is in the lead. The second place, both in terms of fixed lines and revenue, is occupied by Brazilian Oi (Telemar).


The main international companies operating in Latin America are Telefónica and Telmex. Telefónica dominates the fixed-line market in several countries, while Telmex is the market leader only in Mexico but has operations throughout the region. Telmex’s sister company América Móvil also competes with Telefónica in most of Latin America’s mobile markets, and sometimes also in the fixed-line sector.


Top 10 fixed-line operators by lines in service - 2007 - 2008





Annual change

Fixed lines in service (million)

Telmex (Mexico only)










Telesp (Telefónica)





Brasil Telecom










TASA (Telefónica)





Telecom Argentina





TdP (Telefónica)





Colombia Telecom





CTC (Telefónica)





(Source: BuddeComm based on company data)


Key highlights:


Argentina has adopted a single licence for all telecom services (Licencia Única), including fixed and mobile telephony, Internet access, data communications, and value added services. Argentina’s long-distance market is highly competitive, but in the basic telephony sector, meaningful competition has yet to develop. Two regional incumbents, Telefónica de Argentina and Telecom Argentina, dominate the local fixed-line infrastructure. Telecom Argentina is under cross-holding scrutiny since rival operator Telefónica acquired a stake in its parent company, Telecom Italia.



The bulk of Brazil’s fixed-line network is divided between Telefónica’s Telesp and locally owned Oi, which is in the process of taking over the third incumbent, Brasil Telecom. América Móvil’s Embratel is the long-distance domestic and international telecom incumbent. The government authorised the merger of Oi and Brasil Telecom as a way of creating a strong national player able to compete with foreign-owned giants América Móvil and Telefónica, which would otherwise dominate the Brazilian fixed, mobile, and broadband markets.



With the opening of the telecom market, numerous new entrants were licensed to provide services in Mexico. Nevertheless, Telmex still dominates the fixed-line market with around 90% of lines, maintaining a stranglehold over the country’s last mile infrastructure. In fact, Mexico remains the last country in the OECD yet to unbundle its local loop. In mid-2008, Telmex spun off its international operations, keeping the lion’s share of the company’s debt and releasing its international operations from its domestic operations. Telmex reported a decline in revenues for the year ending December 2008 due to poor performance in voice services. It enjoyed robust growth, on the other hand, in its Internet segment, and in particular from data related services.


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


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