Guatemala - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Guatemala regulator again cracks down on unregistered SIM cards

Guatemala’s fixed-line market continues to shrink as customers adopt mobile voice and data services. The poor state of fixed-line infrastructure has led to the country having one of the lowest teledensities in the region, while fixed-line broadband penetration is also relatively low. In many rural regions of the country there is no fixed-line access available, and so mobile services are adopted by necessity. About 88% of all lines are mobile, a proportion matched in internet connectivity. The outlook further into 2017 and 2018 is characteristic of former years, with the fixed-line market continuing to stagnate while the mobile sectors develops slowly but steadily, stimulated by operator investments in LTE infrastructure.

Anticipated GDP growth for 2017 will provide greater disposable household revenue and so stimulate demand for telecom and ICT services. This would be more marked should the country free itself from its legacy of violence, poverty, and corruption, factors which continue to inhibit prospective investors.

Among the poorer countries in Latin America, Guatemala’s telecom infrastructure has suffered from years of underinvestment from state and provincial governments. Network upgrades, in both the fixed-line and mobile sector, have largely been undertaken by the private sector. A number of key players, including Telefónica and América Móvil, are regional and global powerhouses which can tap into expertise and financial resources to bolster their Guatemalan businesses. Given the commercial impetus of these operators, insufficient government financial investment has resulted in many regional areas remaining with poor or non-existent services. Nevertheless, the country benefits from one of the most open regulatory frameworks, with all telecom sectors having been open to competition since 1996.

América Móvil controls about 88% of the fixed lines in service through its subsidiary Claro. Mobile telephony is the most developed telecom market sector in Guatemala, accounting for most voice lines and internet access lines. The intense competition among the three operators has helped to improve services and lower prices for end-users. Mobile penetration is on a par with the regional average, though the slower growth in the mobile subscriber base suggests a level of market saturation, with the emphasis among operators being on generating revenue via mobile data services.

Key developments:

  • Regulator prepares for delayed multi-spectrum auction;
  • Movistar and Tigo extend LTE services;
  • International mobile money remittance services gain traction;
  • América Móvil’s AMX-1 cable enters service, providing connectivity between Guatemala and several countries including the US and Brazil;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data to December 2016, operators’ data to Q4 2016, recent market developments.

Market penetration rates in Guatemala’s telecoms sector – 2016 (e)

Penetration of telecoms services: Penetration
Fixed-line telephony 15.5%
Fixed broadband 2.9%
Mobile SIM (population) 113.9%

(Source: BuddeComm)

Companies mentioned in this report:

Tigo (Millicom), Telefónica (Movistar), Claro (Telgua), Guatel, Cablenet, Unitel, Comcel, A-Tel

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
  • 4. Telecommunications market
    • 4.1 Historic overview
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Regulatory authority
      • 5.1.1 Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (SIT)
    • 5.2 Telecom sector liberalisation
    • 5.3 Privatisation of Guatel/Telgua
    • 5.4 DR-CAFTA
    • 5.5 Interconnection
    • 5.6 Foreign investments
  • 6. Fixed network operators
    • 6.1 Claro/Telgua (América Móvil)
    • 6.2 Movistar (Telefónica)
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 National fibre-backbone networks
      • 7.1.1 Public payphones
    • 7.2 International infrastructure
      • 7.2.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
      • 7.2.2 Submarine cable networks
      • 7.2.3 Satellite networks
  • 8. Broadband market
    • 8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 8.1.1 Market analysis
      • 8.1.2 Broadband statistics
  • 9. Digital media
    • 9.1 Cable TV
    • 9.2 Satellite-based digital pay TV developments
    • 9.3 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
    • 9.4 Bundled services
    • 9.5 Communications
      • 9.5.1 IP and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
  • 10. Mobile communications
    • 10.1 Market analysis
      • 10.1.1 Mobile statistics
      • 10.1.2 Mobile voice services
      • 10.1.3 Mobile broadband
    • 10.2 Regulatory issues
      • 10.2.1 Spectrum auction
    • 10.3 Mobile infrastructure
      • 10.3.1 Analogue networks
      • 10.3.2 Digital networks
      • 10.3.3 Other infrastructure developments
    • 10.4 Major mobile operators
      • 10.4.1 Tigo Guatemala
      • 10.4.2 Claro (América Móvil)
      • 10.4.3 Movistar (Telefónica)
      • 10.4.4 RED (Intelfon)
    • 10.5 Mobile content and applications
      • 10.5.1 Mobile TV
      • 10.5.2 M-payment
  • 11. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Guatemala – 2016 (e)
  • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2016
  • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 4 – Broadband statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2016
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 7 – Evolution of GDP in Guatemala – 2000 - 2016
  • Table 8 – Fixed lines by main operator – 2009 - 2016
  • Table 9 – Fixed lines by minor operator – 2009 - 2016
  • Table 10 – Historical - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1996 - 2009
  • Table 11 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 12 – Public payphones in service – 2003; 2008; 2012-2016
  • Table 13 – Historical - Internet users and penetration rate – 1997 - 2009
  • Table 14 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 15 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers and penetration rates – 2005 - 2018
  • Table 16 – Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio – 2002 - 2016
  • Table 17 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1997 - 2009
  • Table 18 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 19 – Mobile subscribers by operator (regulator data) – 2003 - 2016
  • Table 20 – Market share by mobile operator – 2000 - 2016
  • Table 21 – Mobile traffic by operator – 2014 - 2016
  • Table 22 – Mobile traffic market share by operator – 2014 - 2016
  • Table 23 – Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2009 - 2017
  • Table 24 – Tigo mobile subscribers – 2000 - 2017
  • Table 25 – Tigo financial data – 2015 - 2017
  • Table 26 – Claro – mobile subscribers – 2000 - 2016
  • Table 27 – Movistar Guatemala mobile subscribers – 2003 - 2016
  • Chart 1 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 2 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2010 – 2018
  • Chart 3 – Broadband subscribers and penetration rates – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 4 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2003 – 2018
  • Chart 5 – Mobile subscribers by operator (regulator data) – 2003 – 2016
  • Chart 6 – Market share by mobile operator – 2000 – 2016
  • Exhibit 1 – Major submarine cable networks connecting Guatemala
  • Exhibit 2 – BellSouth Guatemala – history

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