Market Insights: Ecuador – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband – Statistics and Analyses

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Albany, NY — 04/27/2018 — In common with a number of other mid-sized countries in the region, Ecuador has a small telecom market with a dominant mobile sector. The evolution of the market has been influenced by the poor fixed-line infrastructure, which has stymied the development o fixed-line broadband services. To some extent poor infrastructure has been the result of topographical challenges which have rendered the cost of deploying networks to n remote and mountainous areas prohibitive. However, there has also been a legacy of underinvestment in telecoms infrastructure as a whole.

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Although Ecuador has seven fixed-line operators and a large number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the state-owned incumbent CNT dominates the fixed-line market, and thus also the DSL broadband market.

The mobile sector is dominated by América Móvil's Conecel (trading as Claro), which had a 56% share of the market by subscribers as of February 2018. Telefónica's Otecel (trading as Movistar) has about a third of the market, leaving CNT (previously Telecsa/Alegro) with a share of only 12%. Thus far the MVNO sector has been slow to develop, partly because the incumbent operators also have their low-cost brands and thus there is little business case for new market entrants. Virgin Mobile is expected to launch a service in Ecuador, following on from similar launches in Mexico, Chile and Colombia.

The government is keen to advance universalisation and improve teledensity, and it is expected that CNT will continue its efforts to expand the country's fixed-line infrastructure and capitalise on its DSL service, which only took off in 2009. At the same time, a national broadband plan has been implemented to expand and improve internet access for all Ecuadoreans. The fixed broadband market – including DSL, cable modem and fibre-based services – should continue to grow strongly in coming years, with an anticipated focus on fibre as networks are built out from the more densely populated urban areas. The mobile broadband market is also expected to grow strongly as network operators expand the reach of their LTE services.

A new Telecom Law has been the subject of national and international controversy, particularly for its treatment of broadcasting. The most controversial points include the redistribution of spectrum and the creation of a regulatory authority in charge of censorship.

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Key developments:
Movistar extends LTE service, launches VoLTE; Tribemobile Ecuador Tribemosa launches as an MVNO; Telefónica Group considers sale of part of it Latin American units; CenturyLink opens 585km fibre cable linking to Colombia; Arcotel assumes role as integrated telecom sector regulator; CNT expands reach of 1Gb/s fibre network; government promotes its National Plan for Good Living for socio-economic development; ASO completion delayed to mid-2018; report update includes the regulator's market data to February 2018, telcos' operating data, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:
CNT, Etapa, TVCable (Suratel), Claro (Ecuador Telecom/Telmex), Linkotel, Etapa Telecom, Global Crossing, Grupo Coripar, Starsat, Movistar, PuntoNet, Ecuanet/Megadatos. Easynet, Trans-telco, Empresa Eléctrica Regional Centrosur, Transelectric, Telconet, TVCable, Univisa.

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