2014 Latin America - Fixed-line, Internet and Broadband Statistics (tables only)

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Last updated: 29 Oct 2014 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 244

Lead Analyst: Henry Lancaster

Contributing Analyst: Lucia Bibolini

Publication Overview

This Latin America - Fixed-line, Internet and Broadband Statistics report provides 469 tables and 118 charts illustrating the fixed-line, internet, broadband and digital economy/media sectors in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), both for individual countries and the region as a whole. Very brief summaries are given in some chapters, while the original documents should be accessed for full descriptions and commentary.

Reserachers: Lucia Bibolini, Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- October 2014 (10th Edtion)

Executive Summary

Improved international connectivity to herald cheaper internet access pricing into 2016

Market competition

In line with most other regions, the fixed-line market has been liberalised with the exception of Cuba and a few instances where the state has retained a significant interest in the incumbent operator. As the market has evolved, both in terms of the competitive environment and technologies available, a number of players have taken the opportunity to compete against established operators. VoIP has enabled new entrants to offer voice services while regulatory measures on Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) have for many years promoted competition with DSL access.

Although the incumbents continue to dominate the fixed-line sector, there have been notable regulatory moves to limit their dominance and so encourage competition. The key development in this regard is ongoing in Mexico, where América Móvil’s fixed-line division Telmex has a 75% market share of fixed lines. Legislative reform will compel Telmex to reduce its market share to below 50%. The reform is additionally aimed at reducing charges for consumers and businesses, and at upgrading and expanding telecoms infrastructure.

Alternative telcos have been able to establish themselves in a number of smaller markets where poor penetration of services and small populations provide limited potential for growth. In the Caribbean, the key players LIME and Digicel continue to dominate fixed-line access and internet services, though in these smaller markets scale is a key factor enabling them to invest in infrastructure.

International connectivity

During the last few years there have been significant investments made to develop regional fibre rings connecting national backbone networks. This has required the cooperation of a number of governments in affected countries, which have promoted regional strategies to improve connectivity for their citizens. In addition, new submarine cables are in development. A consortium is building the 40Tb/s South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) connecting Brazil to Angola, while a second link will connect Brazil to the US. Cuba’s connection to the internet via the ALBA-1 cable from Venezuela has enabled citizens’ access to a number of internet rooms for the first time.


Given the range and size of the LAC region, there remain wide differences in broadband use among countries. While some including St Kitts & Nevis, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, and Mexico have fixed broadband penetration ranging between 11% and 30%, others including Haiti, Paraguay, Nicaragua and Cuba have much lower penetration. This continues to be of concern to governments keen to develop infrastructure and promote online access in a bid to stimulate social inclusion and develop economic growth. In many markets fixed-line infrastructure remains poor and so teledensity is low. This has restricted the availability of DSL-based services in rural and underserved semi-urban areas, while fibre-based broadband remains largely confined to certain suburbs of the major cities.

Governments and regulators are addressing these shortcomings by promoting mobile broadband as a viable alternative. To this end a number of spectrum auctions have been held across the region, while still other auctions, particularly for spectrum in the digital dividend band, are anticipated in 2015 as analogue broadcasts are switched off and spectrum is reallocated for mobile data services. Much still needs to be done to address uncertainties related to spectrum refarming and licence renewals, and so secure time for operators to plan long-term investments and business strategies. Yet mobile broadband is now a central and increasingly important plank to the overall connectivity strategies of governments across the region.

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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