Uruguay - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Uruguay’s fibre market continues strong growth

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. In December 2017 Claro won the right to offer pay TV services under a separate licence granted in 2008, which the government had claimed was void. 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.

Key developments:

  • Telefónica and Claro secure 700MHz spectrum at auction;
  • Further delays to ASO process;
  • Antel invests $30 million in Uruguay-Brazil cable;
  • Antel connects over half a million premises to Internet Vera fibre network;
  • Antel investing $800 million to provide national FttP coverage by early 2022;
  • International bandwidth increased to 211Gb/s;
  • Movistar extends commercial LTE services;
  • Report includes the regulator’s market data for 2017, telcos’ operating and financial data to Q3 2018, 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 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 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
      • 9.2.2 Forecasts – broadband subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
  • 10. Mobile market
    • 10.1 Market analysis
    • 10.2 Mobile statistics
    • 10.3 Mobile data
      • 10.3.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
    • 10.4 Mobile broadband
    • 10.5 Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
    • 10.6 Regulatory issues
      • 10.6.1 Spectrum allocations and spectrum auctions
      • 10.6.2 Spectrum auction – 2013
      • 10.6.3 Spectrum auction – 2017
      • 10.6.4 SIM card registration
    • 10.7 Mobile infrastructure
      • 10.7.1 4G (LTE)
      • 10.7.2 3G
      • 10.7.3 Other network infrastructure
    • 10.8 Major mobile operators
      • 10.8.1 Antel
      • 10.8.2 Movistar
      • 10.8.3 Claro
  • 11. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities – Uruguay – 2018 (e)
  • Table 2 – Evolution of GDP in Uruguay – 2000 - 2018
  • Table 3 – Ratio of mobile to fixed-line phones - 1997 - 2017
  • Table 4 – Historic - Telecom services comparative change in price – 2005 - 2013
  • Table 5 – Telecommunications contribution to GDP as % – 2005 - 2017
  • Table 6 – Telecommunications contribution to GDP – 2005 - 2017
  • Table 7 – Telecommunications services revenue – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 8 – Telecom share of revenue by segment – 2005 – 2016
  • Table 9 – Investment in telecommunications – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 10 – Fixed-line services revenue – 2008 - 2016
  • Table 11 – Fixed-line national traffic – 2008 - 2017
  • Table 12 – Fixed-line traffic to mobile networks - 2005 - 2017
  • Table 13 – Fixed-line revenue – 2008 - 2016
  • Table 14 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1997 - 2009
  • Table 15 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 16 – Historic - Public payphones – 1997 - 2009
  • Table 17 – Public payphones – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 18 –International internet bandwidth – 2001 - 2017
  • Table 19 – Historic - Internet users and user penetration rate – 1997 - 2009
  • Table 20 – Internet users and user penetration rate – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 21 – Fixed and fixed wireless broadband subscribers and penetration rates – 2005 - 2018
  • Table 22 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers by platform– 2011 - 2018
  • Table 23 – Fixed broadband operators’ market share – 2008 - 2017
  • Table 24 – Dial-up internet subscribers - 2008 - 2014
  • Table 25 – Dial-up internet traffic - 2011 - 2015
  • Table 26 – Data/internet revenue – 2012; 2016
  • Table 27 – DSL broadband subscribers – 2016 - 2017
  • Table 28 – Fibre broadband subscribers – 2016 - 2017
  • Table 29 – Forecast fixed broadband subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
  • Table 30 – Mobile market revenue – 2008- 2016
  • Table 31 – Historic - Mobile subscribers (voice and data) and penetration rate – 1997 - 2009
  • Table 32 – Mobile subscribers (voice and data) and penetration rate – 2010 - 2019
  • Table 33 – Mobile operators’ market share of subscribers – 2002 - 2017
  • Table 34 – Mobile traffic – 2008 - 2017
  • Table 35 – Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio – 2005 - 2017
  • Table 36 – Mobile prepaid and contract subscribers – 2007 - 2017
  • Table 37 – SMS message volume – 2009 - 2018
  • Table 38 – Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration rates – 2008 - 2018
  • Table 39 – Mobile internet subscribers by speed – 2011 - 2017
  • Table 40 – Proportion of mobile internet connections by speed – 2014 - 2017
  • Table 41 – Forecast mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
  • Table 42 – Antel – mobile subscribers – 2002 - 2017
  • Table 43 – Movistar Uruguay – mobile subscribers - 2002 - 2017
  • Table 44 – Movistar Uruguay mobile revenue - 2012 - 2018
  • Table 45 – Claro – mobile subscribers – 2004 - 2017
  • Chart 1 – Telecom revenue by segment – 2005 - 2016
  • Chart 2 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 3 – Internet users and user penetration rate – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 4 – Mobile subscribers (voice and data) and penetration rate – 2005 – 2019
  • Chart 5 – Mobile internet subscribers by speed– 2011 - 2017
  • Exhibit 1 – Map of Uruguay
  • Exhibit 2 - Licensed ILD operators in Uruguay

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