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Jamaica - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 7 Apr 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 104

Jamaica’s regulator promoting infrastructure sharing

Jamaica’s telecom sector remains propped up by the mobile sector, which accounts for 82% of internet connections as well as 88% of voice lines. It also accounts for the lion’s share of sector revenue. The merger between Digicel and Claro’s Jamaican business in 2012 strengthened Digicel’s position in the market. Both Digicel and its only rival, Flow (supported by its new owner Liberty Global), have extended their LTE networks across the island. Digicel during the year signed a sale and leaseback arrangement affecting a number of base stations, and launched its MyCash m-money service. The tower deal formed part of wider efforts to generate revenue as the Group seeks to cope with a debt pile which by early 2020 had reached some $6.8 billion. For its part, Liberty Global has taken complete control of its local unit, trading under the Flow Jamaica banner.

The regulator has endeavoured to develop the MVNO sector in a bid to improve competition. Although it had intended to licence up to 12 operators, only one licence was issued, to Symbiote Investments. This company launched Caricel Jamaica but at the end of 2018 the government revoked the company’s licenses, and in March 2020 several employees were charged with breaching terms of the Telecommunications Act.

This report contains overviews, analyses and statistics of the Jamaican fixed-line, mobile and broadband markets together with information on convergence issues and on the country’s fixed line incumbent and major mobile operators.

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.

Key developments

  • Caricel employees charged with breaching Telecommunications Act;
  • ReadyNet trials satellite broadband services;
  • Digicel launches MyCash m-banking service;
  • Liberty Global extends ownership of C&W Jamaica;
  • Regulator consults on network sharing conditions for telcos;
  • Flow embarks on $150 million investment program in Jamaica, secures spectrum in the AWS band between 1710MHz and 2200MHz;
  • East-West cable between Jamaica, the British Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic augments capacity for data and telephony services;
  • IXP opened to improve domestic internet traffic flow and reduce costs;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s annual report for 2018/19, market updates to Q3 2019, operator data to Q4 2019, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report

Columbus Communications, Digicel, Cable & Wireless, Flow, LIME, Liberty Global

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