Uruguay - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Uruguay sees the region’s first 5G deployment

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.

The country has a strong focus on fibre infrastructure, which accounts for about 70% of residential fixed-broadband connections and almost all business connections. With an investment projected to reach $800 million, the state-owned incumbent Antel expected to provide national FttP coverage by early 2022. Together with the FttP network, the opening the submarine cable system (Bicentenario) in early 2012 and the Tannat cable in August 2017 have helped boost Uruguay’s internet bandwidth, and the data rate available to end-users.

Uruguay is one of the very few Latin American countries where the local fixed-line market is neither privatised nor liberalised. Antel 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 legislation 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 services.

The mobile market is dominated by Antel, with Telefónica’s Movistar as second-placed operators and América Móvil’s Claro a distant third. All three 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, which has attracted a growing number of subscribers outside of Montevideo. The number of mobile broadband subscribers continues to grow strongly. Antel has been at the forefront with LTE services, though the auction of multi-band spectrum in August 2017 has also enabled Movistar and Claro to widen the reach of their LTE offers. In April 2019 Antel launched a commercial 5G network, though limited in reach.

Key developments:

  • Antel and vendor partner Nokia open a commercial 5G network;
  • Mobile network operators call on the government to introduce number portability;
  • Government planning mid-2019 auction of 5G-suitable spectrum in the 600MHz and 2.5GHz ranges;
  • Telefónica and Claro secure 700MHz spectrum at auction;
  • Antel investing $800 million to provide national FttP coverage by early 2022;
  • International bandwidth increased to 258Gb/s;
  • Report includes the regulator's market data to June 2018, telcos' operating and financial data to Q1 2019, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Antel, Claro Uruguay, Movistar Uruguay, Dedicado

Table of Contents

  • Key statistics

  • Country overview

  • Telecommunications market

    • Historical overview
    • Market analysis
  • Regional Latin America Market Comparison

    • Telecom Maturity Index by tier
      • Top-tier – Market Leaders
      • Middle-tier – Market Challengers
      • Bottom-tier – Market Emergents
      • South America Telecom Maturity Index
      • Central America Telecom Maturity Index
    • TMI versus GDP
    • Mobile and mobile broadband penetration
    • Fixed and mobile broadband penetration
  • Regulatory environment

    • Regulatory authority
    • Government policies
      • Telecom sector liberalisation in Uruguay
      • Privatisation
      • Media Law – December 2014
      • Ceibal Plan
      • Internet for All (Universal Hogares)
  • Fixed network operators

    • Introduction
    • Antel
  • Telecommunications infrastructure

    • Overview of the national telecom network
    • International infrastructure
    • Infrastructure developments
      • Fixed-wireless and Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
    • Wholesale
  • Fixed-line broadband market

    • Market analysis
    • Broadband statistics
      • Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
      • Forecasts – broadband subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
  • Mobile market

    • Market analysis
    • Mobile statistics
    • Mobile data
      • Short Message Service (SMS)
    • Mobile broadband
    • Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
    • Regulatory issues
      • Spectrum allocations and spectrum auctions
      • Spectrum auction – 2013
      • Spectrum auction – 2017
      • 5G-suitable spectrum – 2019
      • SIM card registration
      • Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
    • Mobile infrastructure
      • 5G
      • 4G (LTE)
      • 3G
      • Other network infrastructure
    • Major mobile operators
      • Antel
      • Movistar
      • Claro
  • Related reports


List of Tables

  • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities – Uruguay – 2018
  • Table 2 – Evolution of GDP in Uruguay – 2000 – 2018
  • Table 3 – Ratio of mobile to fixed-line phones - 2009 – 2018
  • Table 4 – Telecommunications contribution to GDP – 2005 – 2017
  • Table 5 – Telecommunications services revenue – 2010 – 2016
  • Table 6 – Telecom share of revenue by segment – 2005 – 2016
  • Table 7 – Investment in telecommunications – 2013 – 2016
  • Table 8 – Fixed-line services revenue – 2008 – 2016
  • Table 9 – Fixed-line national traffic – 2008 – 2018
  • Table 10 – Fixed-line traffic to mobile networks - 2005 – 2018
  • Table 11 – Fixed-line revenue – 2008 – 2016
  • Table 12 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 13 – Public payphones – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 14 –International internet bandwidth – 2001 – 2017
  • Table 15 – Internet users and user penetration rate – 2010 – 2019
  • Table 16 – Fixed and fixed wireless broadband subscribers and penetration rates – 2005 – 2019
  • Table 17 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers by platform– 2011 – 2018
  • Table 18 – Fixed broadband operators’ market share – 2008 – 2017
  • Table 19 – Fixed broadband subscribers by platform– 2016 – 2018
  • Table 20 – Forecast fixed broadband subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
  • Table 21 – Mobile market revenue – 2008- 2016
  • Table 22 – Mobile subscribers (voice and data only) and penetration rate – 2010 – 2019
  • Table 23 – Mobile operators’ market share of mobile voice subscribers – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 24 – Mobile voice traffic – 2008 – 2018
  • Table 25 – Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 26 – Mobile prepaid and contract subscribers – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 27 – SMS message volume – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 28 – Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration rates – 2008 – 2019
  • Table 29 – Mobile internet subscribers by speed – 2011 – 2018
  • Table 30 – Proportion of mobile internet connections by speed – 2014 – 2018
  • Table 31 – Forecast mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
  • Table 32 – Antel – mobile subscribers – 2002 – 2017
  • Table 33 – Movistar Uruguay – mobile subscribers - 2002 – 2017
  • Table 34 – Movistar Uruguay mobile revenue and financial data- 2012 – 2019
  • Table 35 – Claro – mobile subscribers – 2004 – 2017

List of Charts

  • Chart 1 – Telecom revenue by segment – 2005 – 2016
  • Chart 2 – Latin America –Overall Telecoms Maturity Index
  • Chart 3 – Latin America Telecoms Maturity Index – Market Leaders Category
  • Chart 4 – Latin America Telecoms Maturity Index – Market Challengers Category
  • Chart 5 – Latin America Telecoms Maturity Index – Market Laggards Category
  • Chart 6 – South America –Telecoms Maturity Index by country
  • Chart 11 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2009 – 2019
  • Chart 12 – Internet users and user penetration rate – 2009 – 2019
  • Chart 13 – Fixed broadband subscribers by platform– 2016 – 2018
  • Chart 14 – Mobile subscribers (voice and data) and penetration rate – 2010 – 2019
  • Chart 15 – Mobile operators’ market share of mobile voice subscribers – 2009 – 2018
  • Chart 16 – Mobile internet subscribers by speed– 2011 – 2018

List of Exhibits

  • Exhibit 1 – Map of Uruguay
  • Exhibit 2 – Generalised Market Characteristics by Market Segment
  • Exhibit 3 – South America - Key Characteristics of Telecoms Markets by Country
  • Exhibit 5 - Licensed ILD operators in Uruguay

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