2009 Latin American Telecommunications Infrastructure

Publication Overview

This report covers telecommunications infrastructure developments in Latin America and the Caribbean. 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.

 

Researchers:- Lucia Bibolini and Lawrence Baker

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

Next publication date:- August 2010

Executive Summary

In the Latin American and the Caribbean region, telecom infrastructure varies from nonexistent to rudimentary, and from adequate to well advanced. Despite a low 18% teledensity (in most OECD countries teledensity ranges between 40% and 65%), fixed-line growth in most countries has stagnated since 2001, with consumers favouring mobile phones over fixed-lines.

 

The highest teledensity rates in Latin America can be found in Costa Rica (32.5%) and Uruguay (28.7%), where interestingly the incumbent operator is state-owned, while the lowest rates are found in Haiti (1.4%) and Nicaragua (4.6%). Venezuela recorded the fastest growing fixed-line market in 2008, following the renationalisation of its incumbent CANTV.

 

VoIP has become popular throughout the region, although the situation in each country is different. Some governments only allow licensed fixed-line voice operators to provide VoIP. Others require operators to be registered or to hold a specific concession. And others regard VoIP as a VAS that doesn’t require regulating and is covered by a regime of free competition. The only countries where VoIP is still a monopoly are Paraguay and Cuba. Besides making voice communications accessible to poorer people, VoIP has been instrumental for the success of telecentres and cybercafés, which have in turn been a key element for Internet growth in Latin America.

 

Top 10 Latin American countries for fixed lines in service – 2004; 2008

Year

2004

2008

Annual change

2007/08

Teledensity

2008

Fixed lines in service (million)

Brazil

39.60

40.45

+3.0%

21.0%

Mexico

18.07

20.54

+4.0%

19.2%

Argentina

8.76

9.89

+4.9%

24.9%

Colombia

7.42

7.91

-0.9%

16.5%

Venezuela

3.35

5.90

+16.0%

21.2%

Chile

3.26

3.45

+1.3%

20.5%

Peru

2.05

2.81

+5.2%

9.7%

Ecuador

1.59

1.89

+4.6%

13.7%

Costa Rica

1.34

1.48

+2.9%

32.5%

Guatemala

1.13

1.44

+1.6%

10.5%

(Source: BuddeComm based on industry data with BuddeComm estimates)

 

Key highlights:

Argentina

Compared with the rest of Latin America, Argentina’s telecom infrastructure is relatively modern. Fixed-line teledensity is higher than neighbouring Brazil and Chile – in fact, it is one of the highest in Latin America. Nevertheless, like other Latin American countries, Argentina suffers from a marked discrepancy between urban and rural areas. While teledensity is about 39% in Buenos Aires, in a couple of regions this figure is lower than 8%. VoIP is well developed in Argentina. Since deregulation in 2000, a large number of companies have started to offer VoIP services, bringing intense competition into the market by offering alternative long-distance telephony at significantly lower prices.

 

Brazil

Brazil’s fixed-line teledensity is slightly higher than average for Latin America. The country has an extensive microwave radio relay system and a domestic satellite system with 64 earth stations. In fact, satellite communications have retained a major role in Brazil. The Amazon jungles of the north make satellites the major communication facility, as it is almost impossible to lay fibre optic cable in the thick vegetation. Star One was the first operator to provide satellite services in Brazil, and remains the market leader. It operates four satellites, of which two, Star One C1 and C2, were launched in 2007 and 2008 respectively. The number of VoIP subscribers in Brazil more than doubled in 2008; VoIP services are provided by a large number of companies led by Net Serviços de Comunicação and GVT.

 

Mexico

Mexico’s growth in fixed lines has been steadily declining for the past eight years, from 13% in 2000 to 4% in 2008. In 2007, in fact, the number of subscribers declined. Thus teledensity continues to hover at approximately 19%, with significant disparities between urban and rural areas. Satelites Mexicanos (SatMex) is the leading satellite operator in Latin America; its fleet offers regional and continental coverage in C and Ku Bands all the way from Canada to Argentina. As access to broadband expands, VoIP has gained huge popularity in Mexico, especially with small and medium sized businesses. However, VoIP providers have the same licensing requirements as any other voice carrier.

 

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

Table of Contents

  • 1. Argentina
    • 1.1 National telecom network
      • 1.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
      • 1.1.2 Public payphones
    • 1.2 International infrastructure
      • 1.2.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 1.2.2 Satellite networks
    • 1.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 1.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 1.3.2 IP and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
  • 2. Belize
    • 2.1 National telecom networks
      • 2.1.1 Rural communications
    • 2.2 Infrastructure developments
      • 2.2.1 IP and VoIP
    • 2.3 International infrastructure
      • 2.3.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
      • 2.3.2 Submarine cable networks
  • 3. Bolivia
    • 3.1 National telecom networks
      • 3.1.1 Public payphones
    • 3.2 International infrastructure
      • 3.2.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 3.2.2 Satellite
    • 3.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 3.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 3.3.2 IP and VoIP
  • 4. Brazil
    • 4.1 National telecom networks
      • 4.1.1 Public payphones
      • 4.1.2 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 4.1.3 Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) networks
    • 4.2 International infrastructure
      • 4.2.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 4.2.2 Satellite networks
    • 4.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 4.3.1 IP and VoIP
  • 5. Caribbean Countries
    • 5.1 Fixed-line teledensity
    • 5.2 Submarine cable systems
  • 6. Chile
    • 6.1 National telecom networks
    • 6.2 International infrastructure
      • 6.2.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 6.2.2 Satellite networks
    • 6.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 6.3.1 IP and VoIP
      • 6.3.2 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
  • 7. Colombia
    • 7.1 National telecom network
      • 7.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
    • 7.2 International infrastructure
      • 7.2.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 7.2.2 Satellite networks
    • 7.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 7.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 7.3.2 VoIP
  • 8. Costa Rica
    • 8.1 National telecom network
      • 8.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
      • 8.1.2 Public payphones
    • 8.2 International infrastructure
      • 8.2.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
      • 8.2.2 Submarine cable networks
    • 8.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 8.3.1 Nationwide broadband network
      • 8.3.2 IP and VoIP
  • 9. Cuba
    • 9.1 National telecom network
    • 9.2 International infrastructure
      • 9.2.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 9.2.2 Satellite networks
  • 10. Dominican Republic
    • 10.1 National telecom network
    • 10.2 International infrastructure
      • 10.2.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 10.2.2 Satellite networks
    • 10.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 10.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 10.3.2 IP and VoIP
  • 11. Ecuador
    • 11.1 National telecom network
      • 11.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
      • 11.1.2 Public payphones
    • 11.2 International infrastructure
      • 11.2.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 11.2.2 Satellite networks
    • 11.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 11.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 11.3.2 IP and VoIP
  • 12. El Salvador
    • 12.1 National telecom networks
    • 12.2 International infrastructure
      • 12.2.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
      • 12.2.2 Submarine cable networks
    • 12.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 12.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 12.3.2 IP and VoIP
  • 13. Guatemala
    • 13.1 National telecom networks
      • 13.1.1 Public payphones
    • 13.2 International infrastructure
      • 13.2.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
      • 13.2.2 Submarine cable networks
      • 13.2.3 Satellite networks
    • 13.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 13.3.1 IP and VoIP
  • 14. Guyana
    • 14.1 National telecom network
      • 14.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
    • 14.2 International
      • 14.2.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 14.2.2 Satellite networks
  • 15. Haiti
    • 15.1 National telecom network
    • 15.2 International infrastructure
  • 16. Honduras
    • 16.1 National telecom networks
      • 16.1.1 Public telephones
    • 16.2 International infrastructure
      • 16.2.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
      • 16.2.2 Submarine cable networks
      • 16.2.3 Satellite networks
    • 16.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 16.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 16.3.2 IP and VoIP
  • 17. Jamaica
    • 17.1 National telecom network
    • 17.2 International infrastructure
      • 17.2.1 Submarine cable networks
    • 17.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 17.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 17.3.2 IP and VoIP
  • 18. Mexico
    • 18.1 National telecom networks
    • 18.2 International infrastructure
      • 18.2.1 Terrestrial networks
      • 18.2.2 Submarine cable networks
      • 18.2.3 Satellite networks
    • 18.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 18.3.1 VoIP
      • 18.3.2 Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
      • 18.3.3 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
  • 19. Nicaragua
    • 19.1 National telecom networks
      • 19.1.1 Public telephones
    • 19.2 International infrastructure
      • 19.2.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
      • 19.2.2 Submarine cable networks
      • 19.2.3 Satellite networks
    • 19.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 19.3.1 IP and VoIP
  • 20. Panama
    • 20.1 National telecom network
      • 20.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
    • 20.2 International infrastructure
      • 20.2.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
      • 20.2.2 Submarine cable networks
      • 20.2.3 Satellite networks
    • 20.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 20.3.1 IP and VoIP
      • 20.3.2 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
  • 21. Paraguay
    • 21.1 National telecom network
      • 21.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
      • 21.1.2 Public payphones
    • 21.2 International infrastructure
    • 21.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 21.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 21.3.2 IP and VoIP
  • 22. Peru
    • 22.1 National telecom network
      • 22.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
      • 22.1.2 Public payphones
      • 22.1.3 Rural telephony and FITEL
      • 22.1.4 Copper cable theft
    • 22.2 International infrastructure
      • 22.2.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 22.2.2 Satellite networks
    • 22.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 22.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 22.3.2 IP and VoIP
  • 23. Puerto Rico
    • 23.1 National telecom networks
    • 23.2 International infrastructure
      • 23.2.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 23.2.2 Satellite networks
    • 23.3 IP networks and VoIP
  • 24. Suriname
    • 24.1 National telecom network
      • 24.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
    • 24.2 International infrastructure
      • 24.2.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 24.2.2 Satellite networks
    • 24.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 24.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 24.3.2 Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
  • 25. Uruguay
    • 25.1 National telecom network
      • 25.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
      • 25.1.2 Public payphones
    • 25.2 International infrastructure
      • 25.2.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 25.2.2 Satellite networks
  • 26. Venezuela
    • 26.1 National telecom network
      • 26.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
      • 26.1.2 Public payphones
    • 26.2 International infrastructure
      • 26.2.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 26.2.2 Satellite networks
    • 26.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 26.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 26.3.2 IP and VoIP
  • 27. Glossary of Abbreviations
  • Table 1 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Argentina – 1996 - 2008
  • Table 2 – Public phones in Argentina – 1996 - 2008
  • Table 3 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Belize - 1998 - 2008
  • Table 4 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Bolivia – 1996 - 2008
  • Table 5 – Public payphones in service in Bolivia - 1997 - 2008
  • Table 6 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Brazil – 1998 - 2008
  • Table 7 – Public payphones in Brazil – 1998 - 2008
  • Table 8 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Caribbean countries - 2007
  • Table 9 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Chile – 2000 - 2008
  • Table 10 – Public phones in Chile – 2000 - 2008
  • Table 11 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Colombia – 1996 - 2008
  • Table 12 – Teledensity by department in Colombia – 2007 - 2008
  • Table 13 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Costa Rica – 1998 - 2008
  • Table 14 – Public payphones in Costa Rica – 1998 - 2008
  • Table 15 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Cuba – 1996 - 2008
  • Table 16 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Dominican Republic - 1997 - 2008
  • Table 17 – Public phones in Dominican Republic - 1997 - 2008
  • Table 18 – WLL lines in service in Dominican Republic – 1999 - 2008
  • Table 19 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Ecuador - 1996 - 2009
  • Table 20 – Public telephones: fixed and wireless in Ecuador – 2003 - 2008
  • Table 21 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in El Salvador – 1996 - 2008
  • Table 22 – Public payphones in El Salvador – 1998 - 2008
  • Table 23 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Guatemala – 1996 - 2008
  • Table 24 – Public and community phones in Guatemala – 2003 - 2008
  • Table 25 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Guyana - 1997 - 2008
  • Table 26 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Haiti – 1998 - 2007
  • Table 27 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Honduras - 1997 - 2008
  • Table 28 – Public telephones in Honduras - 1997 - 2008
  • Table 29 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Jamaica - 1996 - 2008
  • Table 30 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Mexico – 1996 - 2008
  • Table 31 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Nicaragua - 1996 - 2007
  • Table 32 – Public phones in Nicaragua – 1998 - 2007
  • Table 33 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Panama - 1998 - 2008
  • Table 34 – Public telephones in Panama - 1998 - 2008
  • Table 35 – Fixed lines in serviceange and teledensity in Paraguay - 2000 - 2008
  • Table 36 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Peru - 1997 - 2008
  • Table 37 – Fibre optic cable length in Peru - 2002 - 2008
  • Table 38 – Public telephones in Peru – 1997 - 2008
  • Table 39 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Puerto Rico - 2000 - 2009
  • Table 40 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Suriname – 1997 - 2008
  • Table 41 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Uruguay – 1997 - 2008
  • Table 42 – Public payphones in Uruguay – 1997 - 2008
  • Table 43 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Venezuela - 1997 - 2008
  • Table 44 – Public payphones in Venezuela – 1997 - 2008
  • Exhibit 1 – Major submarine cable networks landing in Argentina
  • Exhibit 2 – VoIP – an overview
  • Exhibit 3 – Major submarine cable networks links in Belize
  • Exhibit 4 – Major submarine cable network link to Bolivia
  • Exhibit 5 – Major submarine cable networks landing in Brazil
  • Exhibit 6 – Geostationary satellites operating in Brazil – 2008
  • Exhibit 7 – Major submarine cable networks serving the Caribbean region
  • Exhibit 8 – Major submarine cable networks landing in Chile
  • Exhibit 9 – Major submarine cable networks landing in Colombia
  • Exhibit 10 – Major submarine cable networks connecting Costa Rica
  • Exhibit 11 – Proposed submarine cable networks connecting Cuba and Venezuela
  • Exhibit 12 – Major submarine cable networks serving the Dominican Republic
  • Exhibit 13 – Major submarine cable network landing in Ecuador
  • Exhibit 14 – Major submarine cable networks connecting Guatemala
  • Exhibit 15 – Major submarine cable networks connecting Guatemala
  • Exhibit 16 – Major submarine cable networks serving Jamaica
  • Exhibit 17 – Major submarine cable networks landing in Mexico
  • Exhibit 18 – Major submarine cable networks connecting Nicaragua
  • Exhibit 19 – Major submarine cable networks serving Panama
  • Exhibit 20 – FITEL Rural Projects Program in Peru
  • Exhibit 21 – Major submarine cable networks landing in Peru
  • Exhibit 22 – Major submarine cable networks serving Puerto Rico
  • Exhibit 23 – Major submarine cable network link to Suriname
  • Exhibit 24 – Major submarine cable network landing in Uruguay
  • Exhibit 25 – Major submarine cable networks landing in Venezuela

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Number of pages 123

Status Archived

Last updated 15 Jul 2009
Update History

Analyst: Stephen McNamara

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