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Caribbean - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Despite being relatively small markets by global standards, telecommunications has become one of the Caribbean’s major growth industries. In particular, the region’s mobile sector has been witnessing significant expansion in recent years. To date this growth has largely been driven by Jamaican-based mobile provider Digicel which entered the small Caribbean islands’ market in the mid-2000s and rapidly established itself as the market leader through competitive prices and extensive advertising campaigns.

In contrast to the mobile market, the fixed-line segment remains stagnant. While in a handful of countries Cable & Wireless (recently rebranded LIME) still holds a monopoly in the fixed-line sector, a number of countries now have other operators offering fixed-line services at competitive prices. Investment in infrastructure is increasingly trending towards wireless broadband access and associated IP services such as VoIP. In particular, the allocation of spectrum in the 700MHz band should position wireless broadband as the preferred access technology over fixed networks.

This report contains overviews, analyses and detailed statistics of the Caribbean countries’ fixed-line, mobile and broadband markets including developments in emerging technologies such wireless broadband and VoIP.

Market highlights:

- The effects of the global economic downturn were felt deeply in many of the Caribbean island countries, particularly in those where tourism and offshore finance underpin the economy. The impact may encourage some governments to promote growth in other sectors including telecommunications. For instance, Antigua & Barbuda plans to fully liberalise its telecom market between 2010-2012.

- Digicel entered 2010 with approximately 7.5 million subscribers across its 24 markets in the Caribbean. Its strength in the Caribbean region will continue to be underpinned by its growth globally. By early 2010 Digicel enjoys a subscriber base across the Caribbean, Central American and Pacific markets of over 10 million, representing a compound annual growth rate of 40% over the previous two years.

- In mid-2009 C&W/LIME launched its new HSPA technology-based 3G mobile network in Jamaica. It is expected that LIME’s investment in a 3G network will roll out across the company’s other Caribbean markets during 2010.

- LIME claimed to have maintained its mobile market share in the region and grown its mobile and broadband customer base. However, for the six months to September 2009 LIME’s revenue fell by 10%, due in large part to the recessionary environment in the region. It can also be partly explained by the ongoing decline in its fixed line and international markets as well as by the high costs ($300 million) of LIME’s regional transformation strategy.

- The acrimonious relationship between Digicel and C&W in the Caribbean continued to heighten, with disputes ranging from interconnection to defamation. By early 2010, it is understood that Digicel had eight unresolved cases against LIME while LIME had three against Digicel.

- The Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority, representing the seven OECS states, recently concluded a consultation process on the allocation of spectrum in the 700MHz band. The forthcoming allocation is anticipated to be a significant driver of wireless broadband services over the next five years.

- Sectoral growth during 2010/11 will continue to be fuelled by declining tariffs in the mobile and long-distance sector, by increased deployment of broadband networks and more generally by economic recovery.

- Given the undeveloped fixed line market, it is predicted that the mobile market will continue to enjoy solid subscriber and revenue growth rates during 2010/11. However, the world economic downturn is expected to continue to deter major investments during 2010. These constraints should start to be alleviated from 2011 as global growth, and thus regional growth, starts to accelerate.

You can read more about this market in Paul Budde's Caribbean telecoms report...

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, Internet, broadband and converging media including VoIP.

Researcher: Lawrence Baker
Publication date: February 2010 (9th Edition)
Number of pages: 74
Published by Paul Budde
Single User PDF license - GBP 325 (Order online)
10 user PDF license - GBP 625 (Order online)

Delivery by e-mail, up to 24 working hours

Latin America - Telecoms and Fixed-line Statistics (tables only)

In the LAC region, telecom infrastructure varies from nonexistent to rudimentary, and from adequate to well advanced. Despite a low 18% teledensity, fixed-line growth in most LAC countries has stagnated since 2001. Operators have reached their service goals for line installation, and consumers increasingly favour mobile over fixed-line. There is, however, a growing demand for high-speed data services, and fixed-line operators are looking to ADSL services to increase their revenue potential. A number of fixed-line companies have introduced prepaid voice services in order to reduce payment defaults. Nevertheless, the fixed line market is likely to remain in its present stagnant condition, not helped by the global recession.

The roll out of fibre optic networks continues to grow in Latin America, driven by the explosion of the mobile markets, the increase in broadband access, and the growth of IP-based services. There has, however, been hardly any activity in terms of FttH deployments.

Most telecom markets in Latin America have been both privatised and liberalised. Those that are still monopolies are striving towards an open market, but the privatisation trend has been reversed. Two countries, Venezuela and Bolivia, have renationalised their telecom incumbents, while other countries where the main telco is still state-owned have shown no interest in selling it to the private market. 

When it comes to fixed lines, it is not easy for new entrants to roll out a network that can compete with the incumbents. Even with the deployment of alternative technologies, in most countries the historical telecom operators continue to dominate the basic telephony sector. Nevertheless, their market share is being eroded in a few countries, especially thanks to WLL, WiMAX, and triple play solutions offered by cable TV companies.

You can read more about this market in Paul Budde's Latin America fixed telecoms report...

This report provides 139 statistical tables for the telecom and fixed-line activities, both on a regional and national level, for the major 26 South American and Caribbean countries.

Researcher: Lucia Bibolini, Lawrence Baker
Publication date: May 2009 (8th Edition)
Number of pages: 68
Single User PDF license - GBP 785 (Order online)
10 user PDF license - GBP 1,575 (Order online)

Delivery by e-mail, up to 24 working hours

Latin America - Mobile Communications Statistics (tables only)

Mobile penetration in Latin America and the Caribbean was approximately 80% in early 2009, well above the world average which was about 58%. With 458 million people owning a mobile phone in early 2009, Latin America and the Caribbean together hold approximately 12% of the world’s 3.97 billion mobile subscribers. Several countries, including Argentina, Jamaica, Uruguay, and Venezuela have passed the 100% penetration threshold. The region is becoming fertile soil for 3G W-CDMA services, following substantial increases in coverage and in subscriber numbers during 2008. In early 2009, there were about 5 million 3G subscribers throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

There are vast differences in mobile development throughout the region. Apart from some first-world Caribbean island nations, the highest mobile penetration rates in early 2009 could be found in Jamaica (115%), Argentina (110%), Uruguay (109%), and Venezuela (101%). By contrast, penetration was much lower in Bolivia (48%), Costa Rica (48%), and Nicaragua (52%). Cuba, the country with the region’s lowest mobile penetration, stagnated at 2.9%. Penetration in Haiti, the second lowest country, shot up from a 4.8% at end-2005 to 41% at end-2008 thanks to the launch of low-priced GSM services by Caribbean mobile giant Digicel, which entered the Haitian market in May 2006.

You can read more about this market in Paul Budde's Latin America mobile telecoms report...

This report provides 186 statistical tables for the mobile communications and mobile data activities, both on a regional and national level, for the major 26 South American and Caribbean countries.

Researcher: Lucia Bibolini, Lawrence Baker
Publication date: May 2009 (8th Edition)
Number of pages: 74
Single User PDF license - GBP 785 (Order online)
10 user PDF license - GBP 1,575 (Order online)

Delivery by e-mail, up to 24 working hours