Puerto Rico - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Puerto Rico gains further telecoms recovery investment

Puerto Rico’s telecom market has been hard hit in recent years by a combination of economic mismanagement and the devastation caused by hurricanes which hit the territory in late 2017. The general destruction following the hurricanes led to a marked decline in the number of subscribers for all services, while straightened economic circumstances forced many people not resume telecom services after these were restored.

Although Puerto Rico it is a US territory it lags well behind the mainland US states in terms of fixed-line and broadband penetration. This is partly due to high unemployment rates (and consequently low disposable income) and poor telecoms investment in a market largely dominated by the incumbent Puerto Rico Telephone Company. The activities of the US-based telcos, including T-Mobile US, Sprint and AT&T continue to impact on the Puerto Rican market. This has recently been seen in these operators securing spectrum in the 600MHz and expanding the reach of LTE services.

The Puerto Rico Telephone Company’s fixed-line market dominance was augmented following its acquisition by the largest wireless company in Latin America, América Móvil. In contrast, with six network operators, the mobile (cellular/wireless) market has been experiencing more robust competition and growth. Although América Móvil’s Claro briefly took the lead from AT&T Mobility in terms of subscriber numbers, AT&T regained the top position following its acquisition of Centennial Communications. In early 2017 Sprint and Open Wireless agreed to merge their networks in a bid to offer better market competition by increasing their scale and spectrum holdings.

The acquisition by Liberty Global of the remaining cable TV operator Choice Cable, completed in mid-2015, created a monopoly player in this sector. Liberty Cablevisión, now wholly-owned by Liberty Global’s LLA division, is in a stronger position to capitalise on scale, and so provide improved services based on greater investment in technologies, including the anticipated DOCSIS3.1 standard.

Key developments:

  • New multi-jurisdictional telecoms regulator is formed;
  • AT&T and T-Mobile US work with Google’s Project Loon to extend the availability of LTE services across Puerto Rico;
  • Liberty Latin America takes full control of Liberty Cablevisión;
  • FCC provides additional funding to restore and expand telecom infrastructure;
  • Claro aiming for 5G trials in mid-2019;
  • Sprint and Open Wireless agree to combine their mobile businesses;
  • AT&T delivers 90% population coverage with LTE;
  • Government-funded Gigabit Island project aiming to provide access speeds of 1Gb/s to 70% of premises by 2020;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data to September 2018, telcos’ operating and financial data to Q3 2018, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Puerto Rico Telephone Company, América Móvil, AT&T, Liberty Cablevision; OneLink Communications; T-Mobile; Open Mobile; Sprint PCS; Choice Cable.

Table of Contents

  • Key statistics

  • Country overview

  • Telecommunications market

    • Historic overview
    • Recent developments
  • Regulatory environment

    • Telecom sector liberalisation
    • Privatisation of PRTC
  • Fixed network operators

    • Introduction
    • Puerto Rico Telephone Company (PRTC)
    • AT&T
  • Telecommunications infrastructure

    • National telecom networks
    • International infrastructure
      • Submarine cable networks
      • Satellite networks
  • Broadband market

    • Market analysis
    • Broadband statistics
    • Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
      • OneLink Communications
      • Liberty Cablevisión
      • Choice Cable
    • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
    • Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
    • Other fixed broadband services
      • Wireless broadband
  • Mobile communications

    • Market analysis
    • Regulatory issues
      • Spectrum
      • Mobile statistics
      • Mobile broadband
    • Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
    • Major mobile operators
      • AT&T Mobility
      • Claro (América Móvil)
      • T-Mobile US
      • Sprint PCS
      • Open Mobile
    • Mobile infrastructure
      • 5G
      • 4G (LTE)
  • Related reports


List of Tables

  • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities – Puerto Rico – 2018 (e)
  • Table 2 – Telecom and cable TV revenue – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 3 – Public payphones in service – 2003 – 2018
  • Table 4 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2001 – 2018
  • Table 5 – Lifeline phone service connections – 2003 – 2018
  • Table 6 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate – 1997- 2009
  • Table 7 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 8 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers and penetration - 2001 – 2018
  • Table 9 – Proportion of fixed broadband connections by data rate - 2017 – 2018
  • Table 10 – Cable broadband subscribers - 2009 – 2018
  • Table 11 – Liberty Cablevisión broadband and telephony subscribers – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 12 – Liberty Cablevisión financial results – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 13 – DSL broadband subscribers - 2009 – 2018
  • Table 14 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2001 – 2018
  • Table 15 – Postpaid and prepaid subscribers – 2001 – 2018
  • Table 16 – Mobile prepaid vs postpaid market share – 2000 – 2018
  • Table 17 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2011 – 2018
  • Table 18 – Forecast mobile subscribers – higher growth scenario – 2019; 2021; 2023

List of Charts

  • Chart 1 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2003 - 2018
  • Chart 2 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2003 – 2018
  • Chart 3 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers and penetration - 2001 – 2018
  • Chart 4 – Liberty Cablevisión financial results – 2013 – 2018
  • Chart 5 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2001 – 2018
  • Chart 6 – Postpaid and prepaid subscribers – 2001 – 2018
  • Chart 7 – Mobile prepaid vs postpaid market share – 2004 – 2018

List of Exhibits

  • Exhibit 1 – Major submarine cable networks serving Puerto Rico

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