This report provides an overview of the Caribbean’s telecom sector accompanied by relevant statistics and a brief profile of the major players.
The countries covered in this report include:
Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, (The former) Netherlands Antilles, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, United States Virgin Islands.
Researcher:- Lawrence Baker Current publication date:- March 2011 (10th Edition) Next publication date:- March 2012
Strong mobile markets despite economic recession
Liberalisation of the telecommunications industry has taken place in most Caribbean countries, with operators in these countries now being able to offer a full range of telecom services. Despite being relatively small markets by global standards, telecommunications has become one of the Caribbean’s major growth industries.
While in a handful of countries Cable & Wireless (now rebranded LIME) still holds a monopoly in the fixed-line sector, many countries now have other operators offering fixed-line services at competitive prices. Nevertheless, mobile has been the preferred technology for the region. The region’s mobile subscriber base has been witnessing significant growth in recent years driven, in particular, by aggressive competition from Digicel.
During the global financial crisis the region, which relies heavily on tourism, suffered double-digit declines in incoming tourist numbers, effectively triggering a recessionary environment in most Caribbean nations. In spite of improvements in tourism revenues during 2010, the Caribbean region still experienced negative growth in 2010 of an estimated 2.3%.
During 2010, a number of Caribbean countries turned to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for rescue financing or for alternative fiscal and monetary policy arrangements. A number of countries also implemented changes at the local level in an attempt to ease their economic burdens, including taking such measures as raising taxes and cutting spending.
By early 2011 there were some positive signs of increasing tourist numbers and offshore company activity that was expected to precipitate further economic recovery. Furthermore, a United Nations report launched in January 2011 predicted a modest 3.1% growth rate for the Caribbean in 2011 and assessed the economic outlook for the Latin American and Caribbean region to be robust by historical standards. Relative to Latin America as a whole, however, the Caribbean is likely to experience a slower economic recovery due to its being highly dependent upon output growth in the USA.
Despite numerous attempts to privatise the Bahamas Telecommunications Company since the late 1990s, by end 2010 the company still remained wholly state-owned. However, in February 2011 Cable & Wireless confirmed it had signed agreements with the government of Bahamas to buy a 51% interest in BTC.
In December 2010 Telecom Services of Trinidad and Tobago announced the launch of their commercial WiMAX network, reportedly the largest in the Caribbean. Whilst at launch date the network covered only selected parts of Trinidad and Tobago, Telecom Services of Trinidad and Tobago is planning to extend the network during 2011 to connect all of the islands that make up the Trinidad and Tobago archipelago.
By early 2011 mobile penetration in the Caribbean region was over 62%. It is worth noting, however, that penetration rates range from single figures to over 300%.
Internet users and penetration rate in Caribbean countries – 2010
Antigua and Barbuda
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. Telecoms Market in the Caribbean
1.2 Regulatory environment
1.2.1 Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)