Ecuador’s fixed-line teledensity is low for the region. To some extent this has resulted from topographical challenges which have rendered the cost of deploying fixed-line infrastructure in remote and mountainous areas prohibitive. However, there has also been a legacy of underinvestment in telecoms infrastructure as a whole.

In line with the global trend, Ecuadorians have turned to mobile handsets in preference to the traditional fixed-line phone. The country’s telecom market is heavily skewed towards mobility, with seven mobile phones for every fixed line in service. Nevertheless, the ratio between fixed and mobile accounts has remained stable since 2009.

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

The mobile sector is virtually a duopoly between América Móvil’s Conecel (trading as Claro) and Telefónica’s Otecel (trading as Movistar), with CNT (previously Telecsa/Alegro) having a small share of the market.

The government is keen to advance universalisation and improve teledensity, and we can expect CNT to continue its efforts to expand the country’s fixed-line infrastructure. CNT will also continue to capitalise on its ADSL service, which only took off in 2009 and still faces significant unsatisfied demand. A national broadband plan aims to expand and improve internet access for all Ecuadoreans. The fixed broadband market – including both ADSL and cable modem services – should continue to grow by at least 25% annually. The mobile broadband market is also expected to grow strongly in the coming years.

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.

For more information see – Ecuador - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses