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Uruguay - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

November 2018 | | ID: U0221F738794EN
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Executive summary

Uruguay’s fibre market continues strong growthUruguay 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 Telef?nica’s Movistar as second-placed operators and Am?rica M?vil’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:
  • Telef?nica 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
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

LIST OF EXHIBITS

Exhibit 1 – Map of Uruguay
Exhibit 2 - Licensed ILD operators in Uruguay
LIST OF TABLES

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

Uruguay’s GDP per capita was one of the highest performing in the region during 2010 and 2011. It has since slowed to a more moderate 3.5%, a level expected to continue into 2014 and 2015. The country is among the more politically stable in Latin America, is relatively free from corruption and is not prone to the natural disasters which affect other countries in the region, particularly in the Caribbean. The government has been supportive of business, and has pursued prudent macroeconomic policies which have been sympathetic to investment. Transparent regulations, growing domestic consumption, high living standards, and a cheap labour force are expected to continue drawing international capital.

Bar a few Caribbean islands, Uruguay enjoys the highest broadband penetration in Latin America, the second highest fixed-line teledensity after Costa Rica, and the second highest mobile penetration after Panama. With high literacy rates and widespread computer availability, Uruguay is one of the world’s leading software exporters and South America’s outsourcing hub. In terms of computer penetration, Uruguay tops all other countries in the region by a considerable margin.

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 law prohibits data transmission over pay TV networks. There are ongoing discussions over the need to change regulations and permit TV cables to carry data.

Antel’s Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH) program is by far the most ambitious broadband effort in Latin America. Together with the FttH network, the opening of a new submarine cable system (Bicentenario) in early 2012 has helped boost Uruguay’s internet download speed. International bandwidth tripled as a result of the cable landing.

Antel was also one of the first companies in the region to launch commercial LTE services. The LTE network supplements FttH broadband in areas where the latter is not available. It is intended that the entire population will have access to either LTE, FttH, or both technologies.

Three players compete in the Uruguayan mobile market: Antel, Telefónica’s Movistar, and América Móvil’s Claro. Antel is the mobile market leader, followed by Movistar.

All three mobile operators offer mobile broadband as well as 3G services. Mobile broadband is the fastest growing telecom sector by far. Operators have achieved nationwide UMTS coverage, attracting a growing number of subscribers outside of Montevideo. An estimated 30% of the population have opted for mobile broadband, and the number of subscribers is soaring.



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