Belize - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Belize’s incumbent telco Digi reports pressure on telecom revenue

One of the smaller countries in Central America, Belize in many respects has closer affinities with English speaking countries of the Caribbean than with its immediate neighbours.

Belize’s fixed-line teledensity and mobile penetration remain lower than average for the region, a legacy of insufficient market competition and underinvestment in telecoms services, exacerbated by lax managerial standards within the incumbent telco Digi. However, Digi has recently adopted a reforming strategy, partly expressed by its rebranding in August 2018 as it aims to transform itself at all levels into an effectively competitive operator more commercially minded and focussed on cheaper pricing and customer retention. The company has undertaken significant investment in infrastructure, launching an LTE-A service at the end of 2016 and in mid-2017 completing a submarine cable to Ambergris Caye, enabling it to launch an FttP service in San Pedro. Loans secured since 2017 are being used to complete a program to migrate its infrastructure from legacy copper to fibre by mid-2019.

The Belizean telecom market was liberalised in 2003 yet Digi continues to hold a monopoly in fixed-line services and it remains the dominant provider of mobile and broadband services. In 2009 the state renationalised Digi after a change of government brought to light a questionable Accommodation Agreement between the previous administration and the company. Although the rationale for the nationalisation was to improve conditions for consumers, Digi’s prices remained high. The government has undertaken some measures to improve competition, notably by obliging Digi in mid-2013 to open its networks to VoIP services. In mid-2015 the government came to an agreement regarding an outstanding $22.5 million loan signed off in 2007 by a former Digi management team which the company subsequently considered unlawful. Digi was obliged to repay the government from its own funds. In November 2017 the government made the final payment to Digi’s former owners following the renationalisation of the company in 2009.

Key developments:

  • BTL rebrands as Digi;
  • Digi expecting to complete migration from copper to fibre by mid-2019;
  • SEUL submarine cable connecting the mainland with Ambergris Caye completed;
  • Government makes final payment for BTL following the 2009 renationalisation;
  • DigiCell expands LTE-A services, reports slight fall in telecom revenue into 2018;
  • Mobile sector accounting for over 90% of all phone subscriptions;
  • Report update includes company financial data to March 2018, ITU updates for 2017, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, recent market developments.

Table of Contents

  • Key statistics

  • Country overview

  • Telecommunications market

    • Historical overview
  • Regional Latin America Market Comparison

    • Telecom Maturity Index by tier
      • Top-tier – Market Leaders
      • Middle-tier – Market Challengers
      • Bottom-tier – Market Emergents
      • South America Telecom Maturity Index
      • Central America Telecom Maturity Index
    • TMI versus GDP
    • Mobile and mobile broadband penetration
    • Fixed and mobile broadband penetration
  • Regulatory environment

    • Public Utilities Commission (PUC)
    • Telecom sector liberalisation
    • Renationalisation of Digi
  • Fixed network operators

    • Digi (Belize Telemedia Limited)
  • Telecommunications infrastructure

    • Overview of the national telecom network
    • International infrastructure
      • Interconnection with other Central American countries
      • Submarine cable networks
  • Fixed-line broadband market

    • Introduction and statistical overview
    • Broadband statistics
  • Mobile communications

    • Introduction
    • Mobile statistics
    • Major mobile operators
      • Digi (DigiCell)
      • SpeedNet (Smart)
    • Mobile data services
      • Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
    • Mobile broadband
    • Mobile infrastructure
      • LTE
    • Mobile content and applications
      • Mobile banking
  • Related reports


List of Tables

  • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities – Belize – 2018 (e)
  • Table 2 – Evolution of GDP in Belize – 2000 – 2018
  • Table 3 – Historic - Telecom revenue by sector – 2007 – 2013
  • Table 4 – Telecom revenue – 2000 – 2015
  • Table 5 – Digi financial data – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 6 – Digi gross revenue – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 7 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1998 – 2009
  • Table 8 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 9 – International bandwidth – 2005 – 2016
  • Table 10 – Historic - Internet users and user penetration – 2000 - 2009
  • Table 11 – Internet users and user penetration – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 12 – Cable and DSL broadband subscribers – 2005 – 2015
  • Table 13 – Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration – 2000 – 2018
  • Table 14 – Wireless broadband subscribers– 2010 – 2015
  • Table 15 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2000 – 2018
  • Table 16 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2012 – 2018

List of Charts

  • Chart 10 – Digi financial data – 2010 – 2018
  • Chart 11 – Fixed lines and teledensity – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 12 – Internet users and user penetration – 2005 - 2018
  • Chart 13 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2003 - 2018

List of Exhibits

  • Exhibit 4 – Major submarine cable networks links in Belize

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