Uruguay’s government has been 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. The country ranked top in Latin America on the World Prosperity Index for 2016.
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 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. 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.
Antel’s Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) program is by far the most ambitious broadband effort in Latin America. With an investment projected to reach $800 million, the company expects 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.
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.
Antel, Claro Uruguay, Movistar Uruguay, Dedicado
Companies (Major Players)
Mobile & Wireless Broadband and Media
Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure)
Regulations & Government Policies
Strategies & Analyses (Industry & Markets)
Number of pages 37
Last updated 4 Dec 2017
Analyst: Henry Lancaster
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