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Regulator re-opens 1700MHz and 2100MHz spectrum auctionEl Salvador is the smallest country in Central America. Economic prosperity has been stymied by income inequality, poor infrastructure and inadequate social capital.
Despite these difficulties, the telecom sector has been one of the more successful within the overall economy. This is particularly true of the mobile telephony and data sectors, which are emerging as the countrys preferred telecom services given the poor state of fixed-line infrastructure in many areas. The use of text messaging and multimedia has gained traction as an alternative for voice services, and there is a clear trend towards services supported by 3G networks as these are expanded by network operators.
El Salvadors fixed-line teledensity is substantially lower than the Latin American and Caribbean average. However, there has been a significant drop in the number of fixed lines since 2010, largely due to the substitution for mobile-only alternatives.
Mobile penetration is remarkably high considering El Salvadors economic indicators, being about a third higher than average for Latin America and the Caribbean. Of the estimated total number of telephones in the country, 11percent are fixed and 91percent are mobile. However, the country is one of only two in the LAC region, alongside Cuba, which does not have LTE services. This is mainly due to the inadequate provision of suitable spectrum. Although an anticipated auction for spectrum will provide additional resources for mobile network operators, there is little indication yet that valuable spectrum in the 700MHz band will be released in the short term, particularly given the slow pace of switching off analogue broadcasts.
El Salvadors telecom legislation is one of the more liberal in Latin America, encouraging competition in most aspects of the telecoms sector and permitting foreign investment in all areas. However, there are no regulations as yet which promote wholesale broadband, and thus the DSL market remains a virtual monopoly for Claro. The only effective cross-platform competition in the broadband market comes from the few cable operators.
Although many companies launched services when the telecom sector was liberalised, the market has been undergoing a gradual process of consolidation, leaving a few dominant multinational operators (notably Millicoms Tigo, AmErica MOvils Claro, and TelefOnicas Movistar), which have managed to expand into almost all sectors through a process of convergence.
The mobile market is served by five operators: Tigo, Movistar, Claro, Digicel, and Intelfon.
The fastest growing sectors in coming years will continue to be pay TV and broadband (both fixed and mobile). The outlook is especially promising for mobile broadband, which could help to bolster the slipping mobile ARPU figures in the medium term. The longer-term prospect is also promising, particularly in the mobile sector where competition between Claro, Tigo, and TelefOnica will oblige the operators to diversify services and reduce prices.
Number Portability gains customer popularity;
Digicel expands reach of HSPA+ services;
Government increases tax on some telecom services to 18percent;
MTRs again reduced;
MNOs fined for obstructing interconnection for new market entrants;
Regulator re-opens spectrum auction for spectrum in the 1700MHz and 2100MHz bands;
ASO to be completed by 2018;
Central Reserve Bank finalises regulatory framework for mobile financial services; enabling a range of m-payment services via subsidiary companies set up by MNOs;
Tigo launches satellite TV service, rebrands cable, broadband and pay-TV services as Tigo Star;
Fixed-line and mobile interconnection rates reduced;
Mobile network operators invest to provide near national mobile broadband coverage;
Regulators market data updates to December 2014, telcos financial and operating data to Q1 2016, recent market developments.Market penetration rates in El Salvadors telecoms sector - 2015 (e)
Penetration of telecoms services:Penetration
Mobile SIM (population)146percent
Companies mentioned in this report:
AmErica MOvil (Claro), Millicent International (Tigo), TelefOnica (Movistar), Red, GCA Telecom, Salnet, Amnet, Sky TV.
Table of Contents
1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
3. Country overview
4. Telecommunications market
4.1 Market analysis
5. Regulatory environment
5.1 Regulatory authority
5.2 Telecom sector liberalisation
5.3 Privatisation of Antel
5.5 Regulated call rates
6. Fixed network operators
6.2 Claro/CTE Telecom (AmErica MOvil)
7. Telecommunications infrastructure
7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
7.2 International infrastructure
7.2.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
7.2.2 Submarine cable networks
7.2.3 Satellite networks
9. Fixed-line broadband market
9.1 Introduction and statistical overview
9.2 Market analysis
9.3 Broadband statistics
9.4 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
10. Digital media
10.1.1 Tigo (Millicom)
10.2.1 IP and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
11. Mobile market
11.1 Market analysis
11.2 Mobile statistics
11.3 Mobile data
11.4 Mobile broadband
11.5 Regulatory issues
11.5.1 Number Portability (NP)
11.5.2 Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
11.5.3 Spectrum auctions
11.6 Mobile infrastructure
11.6.1 Digital networks
11.7 Major mobile operators
11.7.1 Tigo (Millicom)
11.7.2 Claro (AmErica MOvil)
11.7.3 Movistar (TelefOnica MOviles)
11.7.5 RED (Intelfon)
11.8 Mobile content and applications
11.8.1 Money transfer, m-banking
12. Related reports
Table 1 - Country statistics El Salvador - 2015 (e)
Table 2 - Telephone network statistics - 2015 (e)
Table 3 - Internet user statistics - 2015 (e)
Table 4 - Broadband statistics - 2015 (e)
Table 5 - Mobile statistics - 2015 (e)
Table 6 - National telecommunications authority
Table 7 - Evolution of GDP in El Salvador - 2000 - 2015
Table 8 - Telecommunications service revenue and capital investment - 2000 - 2011
Table 9 - Telecom revenue by sector - 2013 - 2014
Table 10 - Historic - Claro fixed lines in service - 2003 - 2009
Table 11 - Historical - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1997 - 2009
Table 12 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 2010 - 2016
Table 13 - International bandwidth - 2001 - 2014
Table 14 - Historic - Internet users and penetration rate - 1996 - 2009
Table 15 - Internet users and penetration rate - 2010- 2016
Table 16 - Broadband subscribers and penetration rates - 2002 - 2016
Table 17 - DSL subscribers - 2003 - 2015
Table 18 - Fibre, other broadband subscribers - 2013 - 2015
Table 19 - Fixed broadband connections by access speed - 2012 - 2014
Table 20 - TV subscribers by platform - 2012 - 2016
Table 21 - Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1997 - 2009
Table 22 - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 2010 - 2016
Table 23 - Mobile operators market share - 2003 - 2012
Table 24 - Prepaid/postpaid ratio - 2002 - 2014
Table 25 - Prepaid/postpaid subscribers - 2008 - 2014
Table 26 - SMS traffic - 2013 - 2014
Table 27 - MMS traffic - 2013 - 2014
Table 28 - Active mobile broadband subscribers - 2009 - 2016
Table 29 - Mobile broadband subscribers by type- 2013 - 2015
Table 30 - Tigo - mobile subscribers - 1997 - 2016
Table 31 - Historic - Claro - mobile subscribers - 2002 - 2008
Table 32 - Historic - Movistar - mobile subscribers - 2000 - 2008
Table 33 - Digicel - mobile subscribers - 2003 - 2008; 2014 - 2015
Table 34 - Digicel revenue - 2012; 2014 - 2015
Table 35 - Historic - RED - mobile subscribers - 2005 - 2008
Chart 1 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 2005 - 2016
Chart 2 - Internet users and penetration rate - 2005- 2016
Chart 3 - Broadband subscribers and penetration rates - 2002 - 2016
Chart 4 - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 2005 - 2016
Chart 5 - Tigo - mobile subscribers - 2002 - 2016
Exhibit 1 - Americatel - historical
Exhibit 2 - Saltel - historical
Exhibit 3 - Claro/CTE Telecom - company history
Exhibit 4 - Amnet
Exhibit 5 - Tigo/TelemOvil - company history
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