Bolivia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Bolivia’s fibre market seeing slow growth

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 relatively 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 expensive, though the cost of bandwidth is only a fraction of what it was only a few years ago. Services are still 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. Fixed broadband services are fast migrating from DSL to fibre, while there are also cable broadband services available in some major cities.

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. A proposed deal to merge Millicom’s business units in the region with those of Liberty Latin America was called off in February 2019.

All three mobile companies offer 3G services while LTE is 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, followed by Viva in mid-2015 and by early 2019 both companies’ networks reached more than 90% of the population. About 92% of all internet accesses are via smartphones.

Key developments:

  • Viva sells about 600 towers to Phoenix Tower International;
  • Entel reiterates plans to extend fibre to all 339 municipal capital cities by 2022, launches Bolivia’s first LTE-A network;
  • 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;
  • Report update includes the regulator's market data to September 2018, operator data to Q1 2019, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, recent market developments.

Table of Contents

  • Key statistics

  • Country overview

  • Telecommunications market

    • Market analysis
  • 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

    • Historical overview
    • Regulatory authority
      • ATT
    • Government policies
      • Privatisation of Entel
      • Renationalisation of Entel
      • Telecom sector liberalisation
    • Telecommunications Law 2011
  • Fixed network operators

    • Introduction
    • Entel
    • Cooperatives
      • Overview
  • Telecommunications infrastructure

    • Overview of the national telecom network
    • International infrastructure
      • Overview
      • Satellite networks
    • Infrastructure developments
      • Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
  • Fixed-line broadband market

    • Introduction and statistical overview
    • Market analysis
    • Broadband statistics
    • Forecasts – fixed broadband subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
    • Government ICT plans
    • Fixed-line broadband technologies
      • Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
      • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
      • Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
      • Other fixed broadband services
  • Digital economy

    • eHealth developments
  • Mobile market

    • Market analysis
    • Mobile statistics
      • General statistics
    • Mobile broadband
    • Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
    • Regulatory issues
      • Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • Roaming
    • Mobile infrastructure
      • 4G (LTE)
      • 3G
    • Major mobile operators
      • Entel Movil
      • Tigo (Telecel)
      • Viva (NuevaTel)
      • Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
    • Mobile content and applications
      • M-payments
  • Related reports


List of Tables

  • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities - Bolivia – 2018
  • 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 – 2018
  • Table 5 – Telecom market revenue by sector – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 6 – Telecom fixed voice revenue by type – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 7 – Historic - Entel revenue – 2001 – 2015
  • Table 8 – Historic - Entel fixed lines in service and market share – 2000 – 2012
  • Table 9 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1996 – 2009
  • Table 10 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 11 – International bandwidth – 2000 – 2019
  • 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 – 2019
  • Table 17 – Fixed broadband market share by technology – 2002 – 2018
  • Table 18 – Forecast fixed broadband subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
  • Table 19 – Cable broadband subscribers – 2007 – 2018
  • Table 20 – DSL subscribers – 2002 – 2018
  • Table 21 – Fibre broadband subscribers – 2012 – 2018
  • Table 22 – WiMAX broadband subscribers – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 23 – Satellite broadband subscribers – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 24 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1996 – 2009
  • Table 25 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 26 – Market share of mobile operators – 2001 – 2017
  • Table 27 – Mobile voice traffic – 2006 – 2018
  • Table 28 – Annualised mobile voice ARPU – 2005 – 2018
  • Table 29 – Mobile voice traffic per month per subscriber – 2006 – 2018
  • Table 30 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2007 – 2018
  • Table 31 – Mobile internet connections by platform – 2014 – 2018
  • Table 32 – Forecast mobile subscribers and penetration – 2019; 2021; 2023
  • Table 33 – Historic - Entel – mobile subscribers – 2000 – 2013
  • Table 34 – Tigo mobile subscribers – 2003 - 2019
  • Table 35 – Tigo financial data – 2014 – 2019
  • Table 36 – Viva mobile subscribers – 2015 – 2019
  • Table 37 – Viva mobile LTE subscribers – 2015 – 2019
  • Table 38 – Viva financial data – 2017 – 2019
  • Table 39 – Viva mobile revenue – 2015 – 2019
  • Table 40 – Viva mobile ARPU – 2017 – 2019

List of Charts

  • Chart 1 – Latin America –Overall Telecoms Maturity Index
  • Chart 2 – Latin America Telecoms Maturity Index – Market Leaders Category
  • Chart 3 – Latin America Telecoms Maturity Index – Market Challengers Category
  • Chart 4 – Latin America Telecoms Maturity Index – Market Laggards Category
  • Chart 5 – South America –Telecoms Maturity Index by country
  • Chart 6 – Central America –Telecoms Maturity Index by country
  • Chart 7 – Latin America Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita
  • Chart 8 – Latin America mobile subscriber penetration versus mobile broadband penetration
  • Chart 9 – Latin America fixed broadband penetration versus mobile broadband penetration
  • Chart 10 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2003 – 2018
  • Chart 11 – Fixed internet users and user penetration rate – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 12 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 13 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2007 – 2018
  • Chart 14 – Tigo financial data – 2014 – 2019

List of Exhibits

  • Exhibit 1 – Map of Bolivia
  • Exhibit 2 – Generalised Market Characteristics by Market Segment
  • Exhibit 3 – South America - Key Characteristics of Telecoms Markets by Country
  • Exhibit 4 – Central America - Key Characteristics of Telecoms Markets by Country
  • Exhibit 5 – List of cooperatives

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