The telecom sector across the Caribbean region continues to be one of the key growth areas. Given the lack of economic diversity in the region, with a high dependence on tourism and activities such as fisheries and offshore financial services, as well as oil refining in Aruba and oil and gas exports in Trinidad & Tobago, the telecom sector provides a relatively high contribution to overall GDP. Major growth sectors include the mobile telephony and data segments, which continue to attract operator investment. In addition there is growing investment in fibre infrastructure, both for backhaul to support increasing traffic and on the consumer level as the operators endeavour to attract customers through offering full-service bundles.
The markets in these small countries have been progressively liberalised, and there is effective competition in all sectors. There are continuing efforts to promote number portability and end charges for roaming, all of which will negatively affect telco revenue while being aimed at spurring competition and improving the quality of services for end-users.
Although there are a large number of operators licensed to provide services within individual markets, most of them are small and localised. There are two regional operators: Digicel and Liberty Latin America. The latter acquired the regional player Cable & Wireless Communications in November 2015, a deal which also incorporated the assets of Columbus Communications. The LIME brand used by Cable & Wireless was discontinued in May 2016 in favour of the Flow brand, which had been used by Columbus International for its fixed-line services. As a result, Liberty Latin America and Digicel now compete more effectively since they both offer mobile, fixed-line, pay-TV and internet services.
Liberty Latin America had been part of Liberty Global’s LiLAC share group before January 2018 when the division (incorporating operations in Chile, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean), was spun off.
Investment in telecoms was for several years affected by the global financial crisis, which led to reduced revenue for operators, scaled-back government programs and a weakened tourist sector. Although there has been considerable recovery in economies of the region overall, the telecom market continues to see price pressure for the main operators.
This report analyses general trends in the Caribbean telecom market, including recent regulatory measures, telecom infrastructure updates and developments in key sectors including mobile, broadband and fixed-telephony.
Digicel, Cable & Wireless Communications, Globalstar, KeyTech, Liberty Global, LIME, Flow.
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