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 2.6 million subscribers as of mid-2017.

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.

The MVNOs Uff! Móvil, 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 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.

The regulator and government in early 2017 made progress on their plan to auction spectrum in the 700MHz and 1900MHz bands, aimed at improving LTE services across the country.

This report provides insights into Colombia’s mobile market, including key market statistics and analyses as well as profiles of the major mobile operators and scenario forecasts to 2022.

Key developments:

Claro Colombia trials 5G technology; regulator increases spectrum cap for MNOs to help improve network capacity; Tigo Colombia sells 1,200 mobile towers to ATC; 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; regulator amends fixed-to-mobile MTRs; Tigo Colombia launches an M2M service; Claro extends LTE coverage to 425 municipalities; DirectTV launches LTE services; Avantel plans $250 million investment in LTE; report update includes the regulator’s market data to December 2017, operator data to Q4 2017, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Claro/Comcel, Movistar, Tigo, 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 – 2018; 2020; 2022
      • 3.5.1 Notes on scenario forecasts
  • 4. Regulatory issues
    • 4.1 Spectrum regulations and auctions
      • 4.1.1 Third generation (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 Digital networks
      • 5.1.1 GSM
      • 5.1.2 3G/UMTS
      • 5.1.3 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
      • 5.1.4 5G
    • 5.2 Other infrastructure developments
      • 5.2.1 Satellite mobile
  • 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. Mobile content and applications
    • 8.1 Machine-to-Machine (M2M)
    • 8.2 Mobile TV
  • 9. 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 - 2017
  • Table 4 – Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio – 2005 - 2017
  • Table 5 – SMS messages sent – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 6 – MMS messages sent – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 7 – Mobile internet subscribers by technology (2G, 3G, 4G) – 2011 - 2017
  • Table 8 – Mobile internet subscribers by operator – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 9 – Mobile broadband market share by operator – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 10 – Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2008 - 2018
  • Table 11 – Forecast mobile subscribers – higher growth scenario – 2018; 2020; 2022
  • Table 12 – Spectrum allocations – 1993
  • Table 13 – 3G subscribers – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 14 – LTE subscribers – 2012 - 2016
  • Table 15 – Claro Colombia subscribers – 2001 - 2017
  • Table 16 – Claro Colombia service revenue – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 17 – Claro Colombia mobile revenue – 2016 - 2017
  • Table 18 – Movistar subscribers – 2001 - 2017
  • Table 19 – Movistar Colombia financial data – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 20 – Tigo Colombia subscribers – 2003 – 2017
  • Table 21 – Tigo Colombia subscribers (MinTIC data) – 2015 – 2017
  • Table 22 – Tigo Colombia financial data (historic) – 2010 - 2013
  • Table 23 – Avantel mobile subscribers – 2013 – 2017
  • Table 24 – UNE-EPM mobile subscribers – 2012 – 2017
  • Table 25 – Uff! mobile subscribers – 2011 – 2017
  • Table 26 – ETB mobile subscribers – 2013 – 2017
  • Table 27 – Virgin Mobile subscribers – 2013 – 2017
  • Table 28 – Virgin Mobile market share of subscribers – 2013 – 2017
  • Table 29 – Móvil Exito subscribers – 2013 – 2017
  • Table 30 – Movistar M2M connections – 2014 - 2017
  • Chart 1 – Mobile subscribers – market evolution at a glance – 2005 – 2019
  • Exhibit 1 – 4G auction results

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