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Chile - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 21 Apr 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 206

Chile introduces tax on OTT digital services

Chile’s telecom sector benefits from effective competition, particularly in the broadband and mobile sectors. In recent years there has been an emphasis on developing fibre infrastructure to improve the reach and capacity of fixed-line services. Fixed-line teledensity continues to fall as consumers switch to mobile networks for voice calls. The leading operators are Telefónica Chile, trading as Movistar, VTR Globalcom (VTR), the GTD Group, Entel, and Claro. Telefónica Group in February 2020 selected banks to advise it on its plan to spin-off its Latin American units to allow it to focus on Germany, Spain, the UK and Brazil.

Fixed broadband penetration is relatively high for the region, with services among the fastest and least expensive in Latin America. The mobile penetration rate is among the highest in South America. Movistar and Entel remain the market leaders, with a similar market share, while Claro accounts for about a quarter of the market and WOM has rapidly increased its subscriber base. LTE infrastructure is extensive and while there is a National Plan for 5G, services await spectrum auctions scheduled for mid-2020 though these may be delayed given the current coronavirus pandemic.

This report provides an overview of Chile’s telecom sector and regulatory environment, including a range of statistical data and market analyses. It covers the mobile voice and data segments, profiling operators and the key MVNOs and assessing the development of LTE and 5G infrastructure, and also reviews the fixed-line and fixed-wireless broadband segments, including the status of DSL, cable and fibre broadband.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

The Ministry of Transport and Telecommunication together with Movistar, Claro, Entel, VTR and Grupo GTD launched the ‘Solidarity Plan’ in April 2020, by which low-income fixed broadband subscribers under financial stress are guaranteed a minimum 2Mb/s service for three months, while mobile subscribers are able to access 300 minutes of calls, 50 SMS and basis data. The offer could potentially benefit up to three million households.

In addition, the Ministry of Education since March 2020 has promoted tele-education with free access to educational content for about three million school pupils.

Key developments

  • New telecom tax on OTT players introduced;
  • Telefónica Group making progress on selling its Latin American units;
  • Google completes laying the Curie submarine cable linking Chile with the US west coast;
  • GTD to lay a 3,500km submarine cable from Africa to Puerto Montt;
  • Regulator preps for 5G multi-spectrum auction by mid-2020;
  • Industry lobby group Atelmo proposes $26 billion investment program to 2024 to increase reach of LTE and fibre-based broadband networks;
  • Report update includes the regulator's market data update to September 2019, telcos’ financial and operating data to Q4 2019, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report

VTR, Claro Chile, GTD Group (including Telsur, GTD Manquehue, Telesat, Telcoy), DirecTV, CTR, CMET/Cable Central, Mundo Pacifico, TuVes HD, Nextel, VTR, Virgin Mobile, Falabella, Globalcom, Entel Chile

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