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

Executive summary

Uruguay experiencing further delays to ASO process

Uruguay is among the more politically stable countries in Latin America. The government has been supportive of business, and has pursued prudent macroeconomic policies which have been sympathetic to investment. Transparent regulations, growing domestic consumption, relatively high living standards for the region, and a cheap labour force are expected to continue drawing international capital.

Uruguay enjoys one of the highest broadband penetration rates in Latin America, and the second highest fixed-line teledensity rate after Costa Rica. Mobile penetration is the second highest after Panama. In terms of computer penetration, Uruguay tops all other countries in the region by a considerable margin, and this has facilitated growth in fixed-line broadband adoption.

Uruguay is one of the very few Latin American countries where the local fixed-line market is neither privatised nor liberalised. Antel, the state-owned incumbent, has a monopoly in the provision of local telephony and fixed broadband services. Other segments of the telecom market have been opened to competition, including international long-distance telephony, mobile telephony, and fixed-wireless broadband.

Uruguay is also one of the few countries in the world where broadband access via cable modem does not exist. Although cable networks are well equipped technologically, and digital cable TV is widely available, telecom law prohibits data transmission over pay TV networks. There are ongoing discussions over the need to change regulations and permit cable TV providers to offer broadband. Cable broadband would help strengthen the pay TV market, make bundled solutions more widely available, and give customers the freedom to choose their internet provider. Nevertheless, there is a fast developing market for OTT videostreaming services. Netflix has been available since September 2011, and other providers also compete.

A new media law was passed in December 2014, aimed at curbing media concentration and providing greater certainty to licence holders. However, media companies have objected to some restrictive provisions, such as those which limit pay TV operators from having more than 25% share of subscribers nationally, or from providing telecom services on their networks.

Antel’s Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) program is by far the most ambitious broadband effort in Latin America. Together with the FttP network, the opening of a new submarine cable system (Bicentenario) in early 2012 has helped boost Uruguay’s internet bandwidth and data rate. International bandwidth tripled as a result of the cable landing. Antel is also investing in a new sub-sea cable, linking the country to Brazil and with connectivity to Florida. This cable is scheduled to be lit at the end of 2016.

Three players compete in the Uruguayan mobile market: Antel, Telefónica’s Movistar, and América Móvil’s Claro. Antel is the mobile market leader, followed by Movistar.

All three mobile operators offer mobile broadband through 3G and LTE networks. Mobile broadband is the fastest growing telecom sector by far. Operators have achieved nationwide 3g coverage, attracting a growing number of subscribers outside of Montevideo. More than a third of the population make use of mobile broadband, and the number of subscribers is soaring. Antel was also one of the first companies in the region to launch commercial LTE services. The LTE network supplements FttP broadband in areas where the latter is not available. It is intended that the entire population will have access to either LTE, FttP, or both technologies.

Market penetration rates in Uruguay’s telecoms sector – 2015 (e)

Sector Penetration
Fixed-line telephony 35%
Fixed-broadband 20%
Mobile telephony 160%

(Source: BuddeComm)

Key developments:

  • Telefónica launches Movistar Play for mobile phone customers;
  • Further delays to ASO process;
  • Antel invests $30 million in Uruguay-Brazil cable, to be completed by the end of 2017;
  • Antel connects over half a million premises to Internet Vera fibre network;
  • New media law criticised for restriction on ban on pay TV operators offering telecom services; Claro again prepares to launch DTH services after its licence was twice revoked;
  • Spectrum allocations in the 900MHz, 1900MHz, and 1700-2100MHz bands helping to extend mobile broadband services;.
  • International bandwidth increased to 161Gb/s;
  • Movistar extends commercial LTE services;
  • Report includes the regulator’s market data to June 2015, telcos’ operating and financial data to Q1 2016, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Antel, Claro Uruguay, Movistar Uruguay, Dedicado.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
  • 4. Telecommunications market
    • 4.1 Historical overview
    • 4.2 Market analysis
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Regulatory authority
    • 5.2 Government policies
      • 5.2.1 Telecom sector liberalisation in Uruguay
      • 5.2.2 Privatisation
      • 5.2.3 New Media Law – December 2014
      • 5.2.4 Ceibal Plan
      • 5.2.5 Internet for All (Universal Hogares)
  • 6. Fixed network operators
    • 6.1 Introduction
    • 6.2 Antel
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 7.2 International infrastructure
    • 7.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 7.3.1 Fixed-wireless and Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
  • 8. Wholesale
  • 9. Fixed-line broadband market
    • 9.1 Market analysis
    • 9.2 Broadband statistics
      • 9.2.1 Forecasts – broadband subscribers – 2016; 2018; 2021
      • 9.2.2 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
  • 10. Digital Media
    • 10.1 Bundled services
    • 10.2 Pay TV overview
    • 10.3 Pay-TV statistics
    • 10.4 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
    • 10.5 Communications: Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
  • 11. Mobile market
    • 11.1 Market analysis
    • 11.2 Mobile statistics
      • 11.2.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
    • 11.3 Mobile broadband
    • 11.4 Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2016; 2018; 2021
    • 11.5 Regulatory issues
      • 11.5.1 Spectrum allocations and spectrum auctions
      • 11.5.2 Auction results – 2013
      • 11.5.3 SIM card registration
    • 11.6 Mobile infrastructure
      • 11.6.1 Digital networks
      • 11.6.2 3G
      • 11.6.3 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
      • 11.6.4 Mobile satellite
    • 11.7 Major mobile operators
      • 11.7.1 Antel
      • 11.7.2 Movistar
      • 11.7.3 Claro
  • 12. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Uruguay – 2015 (e)
  • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2015 (e)
  • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2015 (e)
  • Table 4 – Broadband statistics – 2015 (e)
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2015 (e)
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 7 – Evolution of GDP in Uruguay – 2000 - 2015
  • Table 8 – Ratio of mobile to fixed-line phones - 1997 - 2015
  • Table 9 – Telecom services comparative change in price – 2005 - 2013
  • Table 10 – Telecommunications contribution to GDP – 2008 - 2015
  • Table 11 – Telecommunications revenue – 2008 - 2016
  • Table 12 – Telecommunications services revenue – 2013 - 2015
  • Table 13 – Fixed-line revenue – 2008 - 2016
  • Table 14 – Telecom share of revenue by segment – 2005 – 2014
  • Table 15 – Fixed-line services revenue – 2008 - 2016
  • Table 16 – Fixed-line national traffic – 2008 - 2016
  • Table 17 – Fixed-line traffic to mobile networks - 2005 - 2016
  • Table 18 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1997 - 2009
  • Table 19 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 20 – Historic - Public payphones – 1997 - 2009
  • Table 21 – Public payphones – 2010 - 2015
  • Table 22 –International internet bandwidth – 2001 - 2015
  • Table 23 – Historic - Internet users and user penetration rate – 1997 - 2009
  • Table 24 – Internet users and user penetration rate – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 25 – Fixed and fixed wireless broadband subscribers and penetration rates – 2005 - 2016
  • Table 26 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers by platform– 2011 - 2014
  • Table 27 – Fixed broadband operators’ market share – 2008 - 2015
  • Table 28 – Dial-up internet subscribers - 2008 - 2014
  • Table 29 – Dial-up internet traffic - 2011 - 2015
  • Table 30 – Data/internet revenue – 2012; 2014
  • Table 31 – Forecast fixed broadband subscribers – 2016; 2018; 2021
  • Table 32 – Pay-TV subscribers and penetration rates – 2001 - 2015
  • Table 33 – Pay-TV revenue – 2011 - 2014
  • Table 34 – Pay-TV operators’ market share – 2010- 2015
  • Table 35 – Pay-TV subscribers by platform – June 2015
  • Table 36 – Mobile market revenue – 2008- 2016
  • Table 37 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1997 - 2009
  • Table 38 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 39 – Mobile operators’ market share – 2002 - 2015
  • Table 40 – Evolution of mobile ARPU in Uruguay – major operators – 2008 - 2011
  • Table 42 – Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio – 2005 - 2015
  • Table 43 – Mobile prepaid and contract subscribers – 2007 - 2015
  • Table 44 – SMS message volume – 2009 - 2015
  • Table 45 – Average SMS sent per subscriber per month – 2012 - 2014
  • Table 46 – Mobile broadband subscribers and penetration rates – 2008 - 2016
  • Table 47 – Mobile internet connections by speed – 2014 - 2015
  • Table 48 – Proportion of mobile internet connections by speed – 2014 - 2015
  • Table 49 – Forecast mobile subscribers –– 2016; 2018; 2021
  • Table 50 – Antel – mobile subscribers – 2002 - 2015
  • Table 51 – Movistar Uruguay – mobile subscribers - 2002 - 2016
  • Table 52 – Movistar Uruguay mobile revenue - 2012 - 2016
  • Table 53 – Claro – mobile subscribers – 2004 - 2015
  • Chart 1 – Telecom revenue by segment – 2005 - 2014
  • Chart 2 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 – 2016
  • Chart 3 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 – 2016
  • Exhibit 1 – Map of Uruguay
  • Exhibit 2 - Licensed ILD operators in Uruguay
  • Exhibit 3 – Antel at a glance

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