The dynamic telecoms market of Colombia

Colombia has around 30 local telephone providers, partly private, and partly owned by the municipalities where they operate. It also has an ever-growing number of private long-distance and broadband operators, and four mobile phone companies. The incumbent, Colombia Telecom, has been taken over by Telefónica and renamed Telefónica Telecom. The second-largest fixed-line company, state-owned ETB, has been seeking a strategic partner to help finance its investment needs.

Local telephony operators need a concession only if they use radio spectrum, while long-distance operators can offer services by obtaining a Convergence Licence and a multicarrier access code. In fact, a single Convergence Licence allows providers to offer long-distance telephony, Internet access, broadband, and other value-added services. Competition will receive a further boost from number portability, to be implemented by 2012.


Key highlights  of the new BuddeComm Report:

  • Although lower than average for South America, Colombia’s fixed-line teledensity measures up favourably with the country’s GDP per capita. The basic telephony market, however, is stagnant, with customers opting for alternative technologies and mobility in preference to traditional phones.
  • Colombia’s mobile penetration is considerably higher than would be expected given the country’s general economic indicators, largely thanks to the mobile rates, which have been among the lowest in Latin America.
  • Colombia’s broadband penetration is only slightly below average for Latin America and has been growing at an impressive rate, but the market may flatten as a result of the global financial crisis. WiMAX, originally welcomed enthusiastically in Colombia, is suffering from the economic downturn.
  • Pay TV companies have experienced a wave of consolidation. Triple play solutions are popular, offered by the three telecom incumbents as well as by Telmex. Several operators have launched or are planning to launch IPTV, and the country has selected the European DVB standard for Digital Terrestrial TV.


BuddeComm’s annual publication, Colombia – Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts, profiles the third most populous country in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico. This report presents a concise overview of sector liberalisation and privatisation in Colombia; government initiatives and regulations in the telecom industry; company profiles for the major operators in the various telecom sectors; the development of mobile and broadband technologies; the emergence of convergence and IP solutions; essential country and operator statistics in all telecom sectors; and scenario forecasts for the fixed-line, mobile, and broadband markets. For more information see: Colombia – Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts.

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