Suriname - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Suriname’s economic hardship impacting on telecoms sector

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. In the wake of various socio/political problems, the country’s medium-term economic growth has collapsed, with the economy expected to have contracted by between 7% and 9% in 2016.

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, pushing penetration figures upward of 182%. 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.

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

Penetration of telecoms services: Penetration
Fixed-line telephony 15.56%
Fixed broadband 10.6%
Mobile SIM (population) 182%

Key developments:

UTS sold to Digicel Group; Transatel enters the market as an MVNO on Digicel’s network; Telesur extends mobile broadband services; smartphones adoption facilitating success of Telesur’s Mobile Agent service, Telesur expands fibre network; report update includes recent market developments.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
  • 4. Telecommunications market
    • 4.1 Market analysis
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Historical overview
    • 5.2 Regulatory authority
    • 5.3 Telecom sector liberalisation
  • 6. Fixed network operator
    • 6.1 Telesur
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 National telecom network
    • 7.2 International infrastructure
      • 7.2.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 7.2.2 Satellite networks
    • 7.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 7.3.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 7.3.2 Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
  • 8. Fixed-line broadband market
    • 8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 8.1.1 Broadband statistics
  • 9. Mobile market
    • 9.1 Market analysis
    • 9.2 Mobile statistics
      • 9.2.1 General statistics
    • 9.3 Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2018; 2020; 2022
      • 9.3.1 Notes on scenario forecasts
    • 9.4 Mobile broadband
    • 9.5 Mobile infrastructure
      • 9.5.1 Other infrastructure developments
    • 9.6 Major mobile operators
      • 9.6.1 TeleG (Telesur)
      • 9.6.2 Digicel Suriname
      • 9.6.3 Uniqa
      • 9.6.4 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
  • 10. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Suriname – 2016 (e)
  • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 4 – Broadband statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 7 – Evolution of GDP in Suriname – 2000 - 2016
  • Table 8 – Historic - Fixed and mobile market share of subscribers – 1998 - 2009
  • Table 9 – Fixed and mobile market share of subscribers – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 10 – Telsur financial data – 2008- 2013
  • Table 11 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1997 - 2009
  • Table 12 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 13 – International bandwidth – 2005 - 2015
  • Table 14 – International bandwidth per user – 2005 - 2015
  • Table 15 – Historic - Internet users and user penetration – 1998 - 2009
  • Table 16 – Internet users and user penetration – 2015- 2018
  • Table 17 – Broadband subscribers and penetration rates – 2002 - 2018
  • Table 18 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1997 - 2009
  • Table 19 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 20 – Forecast mobile subscribers – 2018; 2020; 2022
  • Table 21 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2012 - 2017
  • Chart 1 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 2 – Internet users and user penetration – 2005 - 2018
  • Chart 3 – Broadband subscribers and penetration rates – 2002 – 2018
  • Chart 4 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 – 2018
  • Exhibit 1 – Map of Suriname
  • Exhibit 2 – Submarine cable network link to Suriname

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