Colombia completes multi-spectrum auction in push for 5G

Colombia’s telecom infrastructure has evolved strongly in recent years and has recently been stimulated by a new program aimed at delivering upgraded services based on LTE and 5G.

Sydney, July 08, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Just released, this edition of Paul Budde Communication’s focus report on Colombia outlines the major developments and key aspects in the telecoms markets.
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This is aimed at addressing the relatively poor infrastructure in small urban centres and rural areas, as well as migrating infrastructure from GSM and 3G to more capable technologies. The regulator has also supported these measures by adopting a number of effective regulatory instruments, facilitating the entry of operators to the mobile market in a bid to improve competition, and extend the availability of mobile spectrum via auctions (most recently in December 2019).

Colombia has about 20 local telephony providers, operating municipally, regionally or nationally. Many of these started as private companies, but later became public concerns owned by their respective municipalities. The number of lines in service continues to fall steadily, with customers abandoning traditional phones in preference for mobile connectivity. As in other Latin American countries, most of the existing fixed telephone lines are concentrated in the larger cities, leaving the rest of the population under-serviced.

Broadband penetration is relatively high for the region, though growth in the sector has been hampered by poor fixed-line infrastructure in many of the country’s 32 departments. Initiatives including the National ICT Plan 2008-2019 and the Live Digital for the People 2014-2018 program have helped increase broadband take-up. With a focus on fibre connectivity, the number of DSL connections has fallen steadily.

Growth in the mobile market has slowed in recent years though it retains significant potential, particularly in the mobile broadband sector where penetration is still low and where strong demand exists in rural areas where fixed-line infrastructure is poor. Claro, Movistar and Tigo Colombia dominate, though the market share held by MVNOs is growing steadily. Additional competition is expected to be offered by Novator Partners from mid-2021.

This report provides an overview of Colombia’s telecom market and regulatory environment, together with profiles of the major fixed-line operators and a range of statistics and analyses. The report also covers the fixed and fixed-wireless broadband markets, together with statistics and subscriber forecasts. In addition the report assesses the mobile market, including profiles of the major operators as well as analyses on market developments and emerging technologies.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key Developments:

  • MNP process is reduced to one day;
  • Novator Partners expecting to launch mobile services by mid-2021;
  • Tigo Colombia launches services in the 700MHz band acquired at auction;
  • Regulators present Spectrum Policy 2020-2024 program;
  • Claro Colombia trials 5G;
  • Regulator increases spectrum cap for MNOs to help improve network capacity;
  • Telefónica Group prepares to exit Colombia;
  • Regulator amends fixed-to-mobile MTRs;
  • Azteca completes 20,500km terrestrial cable connecting 80% of the country;
  • Report update includes the regulator's market data to December 2019, telcos' operating and financial data to Q1 2020, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:
Claro (Telmex Colombia/Comcel, Movistar, TigoUne (Tigo Colombia, UNE-EPM), Avantel, DirecTV, Uff! Móvil, Metrotel, Emcali, Virgin Mobile, Móvil Éxito, Globalstar, BT Colombia, Calipso, Caucatel, Colomsat, Synapsis, Telebucaramanga, Edatel, Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Santa Fe de Bogotá (ETB), Telefónica de Pereira.

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