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 Comunicacíon Celular), Movistar (trading as Colombia Telecomunicacíon), 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 TigoUne 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:

  • MVNO Uff! Movil ends services;
  • 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;
  • Claro fined COP3.16 trillion and Movistar fined COP1.65 trillion for failing to meet certain licence conditions;
  • MinTIC calls for expressions of interest in the planned auction of spectrum in the 700MHz and 1900MHz bands;
  • Movistar launches commercial VoLTE services;
  • Claro extends LTE coverage to 425 municipalities;
  • Avantel plans $250 million investment in LTE;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data to March 2018, operator data to Q3 2018, 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

  • 1. Synopsis
  • 2. Market analysis
  • 3. Mobile statistics
    • 3.1 General statistics
    • 3.2 Mobile voice
      • 3.2.1 Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE)
    • 3.3 Mobile data
      • 3.3.1 SMS, MMS
    • 3.4 Mobile broadband
    • 3.5 Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
  • 4. Regulatory issues
    • 4.1 Spectrum regulations and auctions
      • 4.1.1 3G
      • 4.1.2 1710MHz, 1.8GNz, 2.5GHz
      • 4.1.3 Proposed auctions
    • 4.2 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
    • 4.3 Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
  • 5. Mobile infrastructure
    • 5.1 5G
    • 5.2 4G (LTE)
    • 5.3 3G
    • 5.4 GSM
    • 5.5 Other infrastructure developments
      • 5.5.1 Satellite mobile
      • 5.5.2 Machine-to-Machine (M2M)
  • 6. Major mobile operators
    • 6.1 Claro (Comcel/América Móvil)
    • 6.2 Movistar (Telefónica/Colombia Telecomunicaciones)
    • 6.3 Tigo Colombia (Colombia Móvil/Millicom, EPM, ETB)
    • 6.4 Avantel
    • 6.5 UNE-EPM
  • 7. Mobile Virtual Network Operators
    • 7.1 Market analysis
    • 7.2 Uff! Móvil
    • 7.3 ETB
    • 7.4 Metrotel
    • 7.5 Emcali
    • 7.6 Virgin Mobile
    • 7.7 Móvil Éxito
  • 8. Related reports
  • 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 – MMS messages sent – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 7 – Mobile internet subscriptions by technology (2G, 3G, 4G) – 2011 - 2018
  • Table 8 – Mobile internet subscribers by operator – 2013 - 2018
  • Table 9 – Mobile broadband market share by operator – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 10 – Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2008 - 2018
  • Table 11 – Forecast mobile subscribers – higher growth scenario – 2019; 2021; 2023
  • Table 12 – Spectrum allocations – 1993
  • Table 13 – Mobile numbers ported – 2011 - 2016
  • Table 14 – LTE subscribers – 2012 - 2018
  • Table 15 – 3G subscribers – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 16 – GSM subscribers – 2016 - 2018
  • Table 17 – Movistar M2M connections – 2014 - 2018
  • Table 18 – Claro Colombia subscribers – 2001 - 2018
  • Table 19 – Claro Colombia service revenue – 2013 - 2018
  • Table 20 – Claro Colombia mobile service revenue – 2016 - 2018
  • Table 21 – Movistar subscribers – 2001 - 2018
  • Table 22 – Movistar Colombia financial data – 2013 - 2018
  • Table 23 – TigoUne subscribers – 2003 – 2018
  • Table 24 – TigoUne subscribers (MinTIC data) – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 25 – TigoUne financial data (historic) – 2010 - 2013
  • Table 26 – Avantel mobile subscribers – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 27 – Historic - UNE-EPM mobile subscribers – 2012 – 2017
  • Table 28 – Uff! mobile subscribers – 2011 – 2018
  • Table 29 – ETB mobile subscribers – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 30 – Virgin Mobile subscribers – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 31 – Virgin Mobile market share of subscribers – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 32 – Móvil Exito subscribers – 2013 – 2018
  • Chart 1 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2005 – 2019
  • Chart 2 – Mobile internet subscriptions by technology (2G, 3G, 4G) – 2011 – 2018
  • Exhibit 1 – 4G auction results

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