Colombia’s telecom infrastructure is reasonably well developed in the main business centres, where service availability is relatively high by regional standards. However, infrastructure remains poor in small urban centres and rural areas. The government has sought to address this with a number of public programs and has facilitated the entry of operators to the mobile market in a bid to improve competition and extend the availability of mobile broadband services nationally.
The main regulatory instruments in the telecom sector are the Convergence Decree and the ICT Law. The first sets out the rules attached to the Convergence Licence. It also requires telcos with dominant market position to provide wholesale services and unbundling. The second promotes universal access, ensures free competition and the efficient use of infrastructure and spectrum, and above all, it strengthens consumer protection.
The fastest growing sector is mobile broadband, which is principally based on LTE infrastructure though there is investment in 5G as well. The fixed broadband market is also thriving, with the cable fibre segment showing strong growth at the expense of DSL connections. Fixed-line teledensity in Colombia is well below the Latin American average.
Colombia has about 20 local telephony providers, operating municipally, regionally, or nationally. Many of these started as private companies, but later became public concerns owned by their respective municipalities. The number of lines in service continues to fall steadily, with customers abandoning traditional phones in favour of mobile handsets. As in other Latin American countries, most of the existing fixed telephone lines are concentrated in the larger cities, leaving the rest of the population under-serviced.
This report provides an overview of Colombia’s telecom market and regulatory environment, together with profiles of the major fixed-line operators and a range of statistics and analyses.
Movistar/Telefónica, Claro (Telmex/Comcel), UNE-EPM, Emcali, Tigo, Avantel, Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Santa Fe de Bogotá (ETB), Emcali, Telebucaramanga, Telefónica de Pereira, Edatel.
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