InfoCom shows how the Colombian national ICT plans will drive services from stratification to mass adoption

Colombian telecoms industry driven largely by government initiatives/ Wide gap between rich and poor persists despite Colombia's upper middle income status / New entrants and new regulations in the market expected to intensify competition
InfoCom – Socioeconomic stratification in Columbia vs fixed line and broadband development (PresseBox) (Stuttgart, Germany, ) Since the Vive Digital launch - the ICT initiative launched in 2010 as a consequence of the new Colombian ICT Law of 2009 - fixed broadband increased from about 2 million subscribers in 2010 (about 16% of households) to 4.4 million in 2013, (about 34% of households). Mobile broadband subscriptions have grown from 1.1 million in 2010 (about 9% of households) to 3.8 million in 2013 (about 34% of households).

These are just some of the effects of the restructuring introduced by the new regulation in Colombia. Since then, the total mobile subscribers reached 50.3m (end-2013) or a 13% increase, representing a penetration of 107% per inhabitant. Following the trends of other countries, Colombians have also started to substitute fixed lines with mobile phones thus keeping the penetration of fixed telephony at less than 20% of the total population. Carriers tried to mitigate this trend with bundling strategies, with double play (fixed telephony and broadband) and triple play bundles (fixed telephony, broadband and TV). On the pay TV front, including CaTV, satellite TV and IPTV, the market grew by 33% from 3.5m in 2010 to 4.7m in 2014, translating to over 36% household penetration. While bundling has been introduced earlier than the ICT law, this scheme only became popular with the expansion of the broadband reach under the Vive Digital initiative.

Moreover, along with an overall push towards communication and connectivity, the ICT law hopes to abolish the discrimination in terms of access. Government efforts have supported the take-up of telecom services especially in the lower strata of the society and the government has set aside about USD 45m to provide tablets to students in public schools. Additionally, as part of the obligations for an LTE license, operators are required to provide 555 000 tablets to public schools and to cover each and every municipality to ensure that no area is discriminated.

As a result, the Colombian government's active ICT initiatives have accelerated the country's telecom sector and improved the countrywide availability of telecom services. Additionally, with the current infrastructure improvements, the associated broadband development is expected to be the watershed in the digitisation of the society, paving the way for more advanced value-added services such as e-health and m-payment. As a matter of fact, the regulation is also de facto encouraging existing players to diversify their offers. DirecTV, a satellite TV provider, is planning to offer modem-based LTE services as an alternative to fixed broadband. ETB, offering satellite services and already providing triple play in Bogota, has launched IPTV in March 2014 to complement its fibre optic offers available since late-2013.

About this extract: These are some of the results presented in the latest update of InfoCom Quarterly Monitoring Services covering developing countries. The service provides with reliable and updated figures of fixed, mobile, broadband and TV markets, with charts and strategic assessments regarding market potential. If you are interested to know more, do not hesitate to get in contact with us. Talk to us. We listen.

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