Suriname - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Suriname’s economy showing return to growth

The smallest nation on the South American continent, with just over 500,000 inhabitants, Suriname is also the only Dutch-speaking nation in South America, and it has closer affinities with the Caribbean than with its continental neighbours, and indeed is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

In the wake of various social and political problems, the country’s economy dived after 2013 and did not show positive growth until 2018.

The state-owned incumbent telco Telesur is the exclusive provider of fixed-line and broadband services in Suriname. However, in the mobile sector the company faces effective competition from Digicel, which in 2016 acquired the only other operator in the sector, Uniqa.

Suriname’s fixed-line infrastructure is reasonably reliable in the more populated coastal region, though poor in the interior. Fixed teledensity and broadband penetration are slightly lower than average for Latin America and the Caribbean, while mobile penetration is significantly above the regional average and much higher than would be expected given the country’s relatively low GDP per capita.

Many Surinamese have up to three mobile lines with different providers, which has pushed up penetration figures although the number of subscribers has fallen in recent years as consumers have responded to economic pressures. The mobile market supports only two players: Telesur (trading as TeleG), and Digicel (part of Digicel Group, a significant operator across the Caribbean region). In early 2015 Digicel acquired the only other operator, Uniqa, which only had about 5,000 subscribers. In January 2017 Digicel signed a deal to host the MVNO Transatel, which operates in a number of markets across the Caribbean and Latin America.

Although other ISPs offer dial-up and webmail services, Telesur is the only provider of fixed broadband, primarily using DSL technology. The company since 2013 has built out a fibre network in pars of Paramaribo.

Key developments:

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