"Bolivia - Telecoms IP Networks and Digital Media - Insights and Statistics" Published


New Wireless research report from BuddeComm is now available from Fast Market Research


[USPRwire, Tue Feb 17 2015] Entel reports strong revenue growth as telecom sector benefits from network investments

Although Bolivia has enjoyed strong economic growth in recent years, GDP remains among the lowest in South America. Many areas of the country outside the main cities are poor and undeveloped, and there is a sizeable proportion of the population which live in remote valleys and areas where telecom infrastructure has been chronically neglected. As a result, the penetration of telecom services is low.

The structure of Bolivia's fixed telecom market is different from most other countries. Local services are primarily provided by 15 telecom cooperatives. These are non-profit-making companies privately owned and controlled by their users. Since liberalisation, the cooperatives have also provided long-distance telephony, and several offer broadband and pay TV services. They have invested in network upgrades in a bid to improve services for customers, and to expand their footprints.

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Bolivia has a multi-carrier system wherein consumers can choose a long-distance carrier for each call by dialling the carrier's prefix. A number of operators have adopted VoIP, while others use fixed-wireless technologies, and some rent fibre-optic capacity.

State-owned Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Entel) is the country's incumbent long-distance operator. It also offers local telephony, ADSL broadband access, and satellite pay TV services. Its subsidiary Entel Movil is Bolivia's largest mobile company.

Bolivia's fixed broadband services remain the slowest and the most expensive in Latin America, and are unavailable even in some of the major urban areas. Being a landlocked country, Bolivia has no direct access to submarine cable networks. It must therefore connect to the rest of the world either via satellite or through terrestrial links across neighbouring countries.

Since it was renationalised in 2007, Entel has focused on providing telecom services in rural areas under a project known as 'Territory with Total Coverage'. This project aims to increase telecom coverage through mobile rather than through fixed networks.

Bolivia has more than ten times as many mobile phones as fixed lines, and the trend towards fixed-mobile substitution continues. Besides Entel, another two companies offer mobile telephony: Tigo, wholly owned by Luxembourg-based Millicom International, and NuevaTel, trading as Viva and controlled by US firm Trilogy International.

All three mobile companies offer 3G services using UMTS technology. Due to the poor quality, high cost, and unavailability of ADSL, 3G has become an attractive alternative in Bolivia. The number of mobile broadband and smartphone accounts has escalated. Tigo's launch of an LTE service in mid-2014 heralds the emergence of a new era in mobile broadband.

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