Colombia - Mobile Infrastructure, Broadband, Operators - Statistics and Analyses

Synopsis

Growth in Colombia’s mobile market has slowed in recent years though it retains significant potential, particularly in the mobile broadband sector where penetration is still low and where strong demand exists in rural areas where fixed-line infrastructure remains poor. The market has seen considerable competition from the MVNO sector, with Virgin Mobile alone having almost 2.9 million subscribers as of mid-2018.

Three MNOs dominate the mobile market: Claro (the trading name of Comunicacíón Celular), Movistar (trading as Colombia Telecomunicacíón), and Tigo (trading as Colombia Móvil and owned by Millicent International). The leading player remains Claro, but its market share has been falling since 2009. The local trunking service provider Avantel serves a small number of mostly corporate customers using digital iDEN technology though it has also provided services based on LTE since mid-2014.

The MVNOs ETB and Móvil Éxito offer mobile voice and internet services over Tigo’s network, while Metrotel and Virgin Mobile have entered into wholesale agreements with Movistar. Since Tigo merged with UNE-EPM (becoming Tigo Une Colombia in the process) it has been able to offer converged services across fixed and mobile networks. Tigo in mid-2017 revised its hosting arrangement with Uff! Móvil in a bid to keep the MVNO in business after it had seen a dramatic fall in its subscriber base. This was a temporary measure and Uff! Móvil ceased trading in mid-2018, heavily indebted to TigoUne.

This report provides insights into Colombia’s mobile market, including key market statistics and analyses as well as profiles of the major operators, subscriber forecasts and assessments of market developments and emerging technologies.

Key developments:

  • Regulator concludes consultation on 5G roadmap, again calls for interest in postponed multi-spectrum auction;
  • Claro Colombia trials 5G technology;
  • Regulator increases spectrum cap for MNOs to help improve network capacity;
  • TigoUne sells 1,200 mobile towers to ATC, launches an M2M service;
  • Avantel plans $250 million investment in LTE;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data to December 2018, operator data to Q1 2019, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Claro/Comcel, Movistar, Tigo (TigoUne), Avantel, DirecTV, UNE-EPM, Uff! Móvil, ETB, Metrotel, Emcali, Virgin Mobile, Móvil Éxito, Globalstar.

Table of Contents

  • Market analysis

  • Mobile statistics

    • General statistics
    • Mobile voice
      • Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE)
    • Mobile data
      • SMS, MMS
    • Mobile broadband
    • Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
  • Regulatory issues

    • Spectrum regulations and auctions
      • 3G
      • 1710MHz, 1.8GNz, 2.5GHz
      • 60-90GHz
      • Proposed auctions
    • Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
    • Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
    • Roaming
  • Mobile infrastructure

    • 5G
    • 4G (LTE)
    • 3G
    • GSM
    • Other infrastructure developments
      • Satellite mobile
      • Machine-to-Machine (M2M)
  • Major mobile operators

    • Claro (Comcel/América Móvil)
    • Movistar (Telefónica/Colombia Telecomunicaciones)
    • Tigo Colombia (Colombia Móvil/Millicom, EPM, ETB)
    • Avantel
    • UNE-EPM
  • Mobile Virtual Network Operators

    • Market analysis
    • Uff! Móvil
    • ETB
    • Metrotel
    • Emcali
    • Virgin Mobile
    • Móvil Éxito
  • Related reports


List of Tables

  • Table 1 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1997 – 2009
  • Table 2 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 – 2019
  • Table 3 – Market share of mobile operators – 2001 – 2018
  • Table 4 – Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio – 2005 – 2018
  • Table 5 – SMS messages sent – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 6 – Mobile internet subscriptions by technology (2G, 3G, 4G) – 2011 – 2018
  • Table 7 – Mobile internet subscribers by operator – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 8 – Mobile broadband market share by operator – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 9 – Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2008 – 2018
  • Table 10 – Forecast mobile subscribers – higher growth scenario – 2019; 2021; 2023
  • Table 11 – Spectrum allocations – 1993
  • Table 12 – Mobile numbers ported – 2011 – 2016
  • Table 13 – LTE subscribers – 2012 – 2018
  • Table 14 – 3G subscribers – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 15 – GSM subscribers – 2016 – 2018
  • Table 16 – Movistar M2M connections – 2014 – 2018
  • Table 17 – Claro Colombia subscribers – 2001 – 2019
  • Table 18 – Claro Colombia service revenue – 2011 – 2019
  • Table 19 – Claro Colombia financial data – 2011 – 2019
  • Table 20 – Movistar subscribers – 2001 – 2019
  • Table 21 – Movistar Colombia mobile financial data – 2013 – 2019
  • Table 22 – TigoUne subscribers – 2003 – 2019
  • Table 23 – TigoUne subscribers (MinTIC data) – 2016 – 2018
  • Table 24 – TigoUne financial data – 2010 – 2019
  • Table 25 – Avantel mobile subscribers – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 26 – Historic - UNE-EPM mobile subscribers – 2012 – 2017
  • Table 27 – Uff! mobile subscribers – 2011 – 2018
  • Table 28 – ETB mobile subscribers – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 29 – Virgin Mobile subscribers – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 30 – Virgin Mobile market share of subscribers – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 31 – Móvil Exito subscribers – 2013 – 2018

List of Charts

  • Chart 1 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2005 – 2019
  • Chart 2 – Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 3 – Mobile internet subscriptions by technology (2G, 3G, 4G) – 2012 – 2018
  • Chart 4 – Mobile internet subscribers by operator – 2013 – 2018
  • Chart 5 – Mobile broadband market share by operator – 2010 – 2018
  • Chart 6 – Movistar Colombia mobile financial data – 2013 – 2019

List of Exhibits

  • Exhibit 1 – 4G auction results

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