Virus impact over each market - telecom operators, government agencies and regulators' responses - revised forecasts for the next 5 years.
In common with a number of other mid-sized countries in the region, Ecuador has a small telecom market dominated by the mobile sector. The evolution of the market has been influenced by the poor fixed-line infrastructure, which has stymied the development of fixed-line broadband services. To some extent poor infrastructure has been the result of topographical challenges which have rendered the cost of deploying networks to n remote and mountainous areas prohibitive. However, there has also been a legacy of underinvestment in telecoms infrastructure as a whole.
Although Ecuador has seven fixed-line operators and a large number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the state-owned incumbent CNT leads the fixed-line market, and thus also the DSL broadband market.
The mobile sector is shared by América Móvil’s Conecel (trading as Claro), which has a 52.5% share of the market by subscribers, Telefónica’s Otecel (trading as Movistar) with about 30% of the market, and CNT (previously Telecsa/Alegro) with a share of 17.6% share. Thus far the MVNO sector has been slow to develop, partly because the incumbent operators also have their low-cost brands and thus there is little business case for new market entrants. Virgin Mobile is expected to launch a service in Ecuador, following on from similar launches in Mexico, Chile and Colombia.
The government is keen to advance universalisation and improve teledensity, and it is expected that CNT will continue its efforts to expand the country’s fixed-line infrastructure and capitalise on its DSL service, which only took off in 2009. At the same time, a national broadband plan has been implemented to expand and improve internet access for all Ecuadoreans. The fixed broadband market – including DSL, cable modem and fibre-based services – should continue to grow strongly in coming years, with an anticipated focus on fibre as networks are built out from the more densely populated urban areas. The mobile broadband market is also expected to grow strongly as network operators expand the reach of their LTE services.
A new Telecom Law has been the subject of national and international controversy, particularly for its treatment of broadcasting. The most controversial points include the redistribution of spectrum and the creation of a regulatory authority in charge of censorship.
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.
CNT, Etapa, TVCable (Suratel), Claro (Ecuador Telecom/Telmex), Linkotel, Etapa Telecom, Global Crossing, Grupo Coripar, Starsat, Movistar, PuntoNet, Ecuanet/Megadatos. Easynet, Trans-telco, EmpresaEléctrica Regional Centrosur, Transelectric, Telconet, TVCable, Univisa.
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