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El Salvador - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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El Salvador's Tigo sells tower infrastructure

Although El Salvador is the smallest country in central America geographically, it has the fourth largest economy in the region. Economic potential is limited by the relatively small population, while the country's telecom sector has been restricted by poor infrastructure and unequal income distribution. There have been organisational delays which have retarded the development of telecom services, though during the last two years much progress has been evident, and indeed the telecom sector has been one of the more successful within the overall economy.

El Salvador's fixed-line teledensity is substantially lower than the Latin American and Caribbean average. There has been a significant drop in the number of fixed lines since 2010, particularly in 2017, largely due to the substitution for mobile-only alternatives. Of the estimated total number of telephones in the country, only 6% are fixed while 94% are mobile.

Mobile penetration is remarkably high considering El Salvador's economic indicators, being about a third higher than average for Latin America and the Caribbean. The country was one of the last in the region to provide LTE services, mainly due to the inadequate provision of suitable spectrum. A multi-spectrum auction yet to be held will allow the mobile network operators to improve the reach and quality of their service offerings.

El Salvador's telecom legislation is one of the more liberal in Latin America, encouraging competition in most areas and permitting foreign investment in all areas. However, there are no regulations which promote wholesale broadband, and thus in the DSL market Claro retains a virtual monopoly. The only effective cross-platform competition in the broadband market comes from the few cable operators. There has been some market consolidation in recent years, and in mid-2017 the regulator stepped in to enforce provisions related to the proposed acquisition by Telemovil of the regional cable TV provider Caribena Cable.

Through this process of consolidation a few dominant multinational operators have emerged (notably Millicom's Tigo, America Movil's Claro, and Telefonica's 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 outlook is especially promising for mobile broadband, where competition between Claro, Tigo, and Telefonica will oblige the operators to diversify services and reduce prices.

Key developments:

Regulator again consults on delayed AWS band auction;

Tigo sells tower portfolio on lease-back arrangement;

Competition authority imposes conditions for Telemovil's proposed acquisition of Caribena Cable;

Number Portability gains customer popularity;

Digicel expands reach of HSPA+ services;

Government increases tax on some telecom services to 18%;

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 rebrands cable, broadband and pay-TV services as Tigo Star';

Mobile network operators invest to provide near national mobile broadband coverage;

Report update includes the regulator's market data updates to December 2017, telcos' financial and operating data to Q2 2018, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

America Movil (Claro), Millicent International (Tigo), Telefonica (Movistar), Red, GCA Telecom, Salnet, Amnet, Sky TV.


Table Of Content


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


6. Fixed network operators

6.1 Introduction

6.2 Claro (America Movil)

6.3 Movistar (Telefonica)

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

8. Wholesale

9. Fixed-line broadband market

9.1 Market analysis

9.2 Broadband statistics

9.3 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)

9.3.1 Tigo (Millicom)

10. Mobile market

10.1 Market analysis

10.2 Mobile statistics

10.3 Mobile data

10.4 Mobile broadband

10.5 Regulatory issues

10.5.1 Number Portability (NP)

10.5.2 Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)

10.5.3 Spectrum auctions

10.6 Mobile infrastructure

10.6.1 3G

10.6.2 4G (LTE)

10.6.3 Other infrastructure developments

10.7 Major mobile operators

10.7.1 Tigo (Millicom)

10.7.2 Claro (America Movil)

10.7.3 Movistar (Telefonica Moviles)

10.7.4 Digicel

10.7.5 Intelfon

10.8 Mobile content and applications

10.8.1 Money transfer, m-banking

11. Related reports

Exhibit 1 Tigo/Telemovil company history

List Of Figure

Chart 1 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2005 2018

Chart 2 Internet users and penetration rate 2005- 2018

Chart 3 Broadband subscribers and penetration rates 2002 2018

Chart 4 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2005 2018

Chart 5 Active mobile broadband subscribers 2009 2018

Chart 6 Tigo mobile financial data 2015 2018

List Of Table

Table 1 Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities El Salvador 2018 (e)

Table 2 Evolution of GDP in El Salvador 2000-2018

Table 3 Telecom revenue by sector 2013-2014

Table 4 Telecom revenue and investment (USD ) 2014-2016

Table 5 Historic-Claro fixed lines in service 2003-2007

Table 6 Historical-Fixed lines in service and teledensity 1997-2009

Table 7 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2010-2018

Table 8 International bandwidth 2001 2016

Table 9 Historic-Internet users and penetration rate 1996-2009

Table 10 Internet users and penetration rate 2010- 2018

Table 11 Broadband subscribers and penetration rates 2002 2018

Table 12 DSL subscribers 2003-2018

Table 13 Cable broadband subscribers 2014-2016

Table 14 Fibre and other broadband subscribers 2013-2016

Table 15 Fixed broadband connections by access speed 2012-2016

Table 16 Historic-Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 1997-2009

Table 17 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2010-2018

Table 18 Mobile operators' market share 2003-2012

Table 19 Prepaid/postpaid ratio 2002-2016

Table 20 Prepaid/postpaid subscribers 2008-2016

Table 21 SMS traffic 2013-2016

Table 22 MMS traffic 2013-2016

Table 23 Active mobile broadband subscribers 2009-2018

Table 24 Mobile broadband subscribers by data rate 2013-2016

Table 25 Tigo mobile subscribers 1997 2018

Table 26 Tigo mobile financial data 2015 2018

Table 27 Historic-Claro mobile subscribers 2002-2008

Table 28 Historic-Movistar mobile subscribers 2000-2008

Table 29 Digicel mobile subscribers 2003 2008; 2014-2015

Table 30 Digicel revenue 2012; 2014-2015

Table 31 Historic-RED mobile subscribers 2005-2008

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Products and Companies


paul budde communication, buddecomm, telecomunications research, country profile, Broadband Fixed, Broadcasting, Companies (Major Players), Internet, Mobile & Wireless Broadband and Media, Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure), Regulations & Government Policies, Strategies & Analyses (Industry & Markets), Telecoms Infrastructure, El Salvador, Latin America (Includes the Caribbean)


America Movil (Claro), Millicent International (Tigo), Telefonica (Movistar), Red, GCA Telecom, Salnet, Amnet, Sky TV.