Bolivia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Bolivia’s Entel intending to fibre all capital cities by 2020

Although Bolivia has enjoyed strong economic growth in recent years, GDP remains among the lowest in South America. Many areas of the country outside the main cities are poor and undeveloped, and there is a sizeable proportion of the population which live in remote valleys and areas where telecom infrastructure has been chronically neglected. As a result, the penetration of telecom services is low.

The structure of Bolivia’s fixed telecom market is different from most other countries. Local services are primarily provided by 15 telecom cooperatives. These are non-profit-making companies privately owned and controlled by their users. Since the market was liberalised the cooperatives have also provided long-distance telephony, while several also offer broadband and pay TV services. They have invested in network upgrades in a bid to improve services for customers, and to expand their footprints.

Bolivia has a multi-carrier system wherein consumers can choose a long-distance carrier for each call by dialling the carrier’s prefix. A number of operators have also adopted fixed-wireless technologies, and some rent fibre-optic capacity.

State-owned Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Entel) is the country’s incumbent long-distance operator, also offering local telephony, DSL and satellite pay TV services. Its subsidiary Entel Movil is Bolivia’s largest mobile network provider.

Bolivia’s fixed broadband services remain the slowest and the most expensive in Latin America. Services are unavailable in many rural and remote areas, and even in some of the major urban areas. Being a landlocked country, Bolivia has no direct access to submarine cable networks and must therefore connect to the rest of the world either via satellite or through terrestrial links across neighbouring countries.

Since it was renationalised in 2007 Entel has focused on providing telecom services in rural areas under a project known as ‘Territory with Total Coverage’. This project aims to increase telecom coverage through mobile rather than through fixed networks.

Bolivia has more than ten times as many mobile phones as fixed lines, and the trend towards fixed-mobile substitution continues. Besides Entel, another two companies offer mobile telephony: Tigo, wholly owned by Luxembourg-based Millicom International, and NuevaTel, trading as Viva and controlled by US firm Trilogy International.

All three mobile companies offer 3G services while LTE is extensively available. Due to the poor quality, high cost, and poor reach of DSL, mobile networks have become the principal platform for voice services and data access. The take-up of services based on LTE has risen steadily as network builds have been increased. Tigo launched the first LTE services in mid-2014 and by mid-2018 the company’s network reached more than 60% of the population. The regulator noted that as of the beginning of 2018 about 90% of all internet accesses were via smartphones.

Key developments:

  • Entel reiterates plans to extend fibre to all 339 municipal capital cities by 2022;
  • MNP launched in October 2018;
  • Government makes progress with National Broadband Plan to 2020;
  • Entel planning $60 million investment for new Pacific fibre cable route via Peru;
  • Bolivian Space Agency planning to launch a second telecom satellite after 2020;
  • Entel contracts Hughes Network to provide its Jupiter platform for a new broadband satellite service;
  • Viva joins Entel and Tigo with LTE services;
  • Tigo Bolivia capitalises on cable TV service with new bundled offering including mobile broadband based on its LTE network;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data to December 2017, operator data to Q3 2018, recent market developments.
  • Table of Contents

    • 1. Executive summary
    • 2. Key statistics
    • 3. Country overview
    • 4. Telecommunications market
      • 4.1 Market analysis
    • 5. Regulatory environment
      • 5.1 Historical overview
      • 5.2 Regulatory authority
        • 5.2.1 ATT
      • 5.3 Government policies
        • 5.3.1 Privatisation of Entel
        • 5.3.2 Renationalisation of Entel
        • 5.3.3 Telecom sector liberalisation
      • 5.4 Telecommunications Law 2011
    • 6. Fixed network operators
      • 6.1 Introduction
      • 6.2 Entel
      • 6.3 Cooperatives
        • 6.3.1 Overview
    • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
      • 7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
      • 7.2 International infrastructure
        • 7.2.1 Overview
        • 7.2.2 Satellite networks
      • 7.3 Infrastructure developments
        • 7.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
    • 8. Fixed-line broadband market
      • 8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 8.2 Market analysis
      • 8.3 Broadband statistics
      • 8.4 Forecasts – fixed broadband subscribers – 2018; 2020; 2022
      • 8.5 Government ICT plans
      • 8.6 Fixed-line broadband technologies
        • 8.6.1 Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
        • 8.6.2 Other fixed broadband services
    • 9. Digital economy
      • 9.1 eHealth developments
    • 10. Mobile market
      • 10.1 Market analysis
      • 10.2 Mobile statistics
        • 10.2.1 General statistics
      • 10.3 Mobile broadband
      • 10.4 Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
      • 10.5 Regulatory issues
        • 10.5.1 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
        • 10.5.2 Roaming
      • 10.6 Mobile infrastructure
        • 10.6.1 4G (LTE)
        • 10.6.2 3G
      • 10.7 Major mobile operators
        • 10.7.1 Entel Movil
        • 10.7.2 Tigo (Telecel)
        • 10.7.3 Viva (NuevaTel)
        • 10.7.4 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
      • 10.8 Mobile content and applications
        • 10.8.1 M-payments
    • 11. Related reports
    • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities - Bolivia – 2018 (e)
    • Table 2 – Evolution of GDP in Bolivia – 2000 - 2018
    • Table 3 – Historic - Fixed-line/mobile market share of lines – 1996 - 2009
    • Table 4 – Fixed-line/mobile market share of lines – 2010 - 2017
    • Table 5 – Telecom market revenue by type – 2010 - 2016
    • Table 6 – Entel – revenue – 2001 - 2015
    • Table 7 – Entel - fixed lines in service and market share – 2000 - 2012
    • Table 8 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1996 - 2009
    • Table 9 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2010 - 2018
    • Table 10 – Public fixed line voice traffic – 2010 - 2018
    • Table 11 – International bandwidth – 2000 - 2017
    • Table 12 – Historic – Fixed internet users and user penetration rate – 1996 - 2009
    • Table 13 – Fixed internet users and user penetration rate – 2010 - 2018
    • Table 14 – Historic - Total fixed and mobile internet accesses – 2002 - 2009
    • Table 15 – Total fixed and mobile internet accesses – 2010 - 2018
    • Table 16 – Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration rates – 2002 - 2018
    • Table 17 – Fixed broadband market share by technology – 2002 - 2015
    • Table 18 – Forecast fixed broadband subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
    • Table 19 – Cable broadband subscribers – 2007 - 2018
    • Table 20 – DSL subscribers – 2002 - 2018
    • Table 21 – Entel DSL subscribers – 2002 - 2013
    • Table 22 – Fibre broadband subscribers – 2012 - 2018
    • Table 23 – WiMAX broadband subscribers – 2015 - 2017
    • Table 24 – Satellite broadband subscribers – 2010 - 2017
    • Table 25 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1996 - 2009
    • Table 26 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 - 2018
    • Table 27 – Market share of mobile operators – 2001 - 2017
    • Table 28 – Mobile voice traffic – 2006 - 2018
    • Table 29 – Annualised mobile voice ARPU – 2005 - 2018
    • Table 30 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2007 - 2018
    • Table 31 – Mobile internet connections by platform – 2014 - 2017
    • Table 32 – Forecast mobile subscribers and penetration – 2019; 2021; 2023
    • Table 33 – Historic - Entel – mobile subscribers – 2000 - 2013
    • Table 34 – Historic - Entel – 4G mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2013
    • Table 35 – Tigo mobile subscribers – 2003 - 2018
    • Table 36 – Tigo financial data – 2014 - 2018
    • Table 37 – Viva mobile subscribers – 2015 - 2018
    • Table 38 – Viva mobile LTE subscribers – 2015 - 2017
    • Table 39 – Viva mobile revenue – 2015 - 2018
    • Chart 1 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2003 - 2018
    • Chart 2 – Fixed internet users and user penetration rate – 2005 – 2018
    • Chart 3 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 – 2018
    • Chart 4 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2007 – 2018
    • Chart 5 – Tigo financial data – 2014 – 2018
    • Exhibit 1 – Map of Bolivia
    • Exhibit 2 – List of cooperatives

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