CooTel launches mobile services to break duopoly of Claro and Movistar
Nicaragua is the largest and least densely populated country in Central America. The country's significant GDP growth since 2010 belies the low economic base, given that it has the lowest GDP per capita in the region, with some 60% of the population living below the poverty line. As a result, much of the economic drive has been the result of international assistance, particularly from the World Bank and other agencies.
The efforts underway to build a canal between the Pacific and Caribbean, largely with Chinese funding, which will incorporate deep-water ports, an oil pipeline, railroad and international airport, is an ambitious attempt to bring to deliver greater economic benefits, though the business case for the project remains uncertain.
Nicaragua's telecoms market has mirrored the poor economic achievements, with fixed-line teledensity and mobile penetration also the lowest in Central America. The broadband market remains nascent, with population penetration at about 1.2%. Most internet users are concentrated in the largest cities because the rural and marginal areas lack access to the most basic telecom infrastructure. A number of internet cafes provide public access to internet and email services, but these are also restricted to the larger population centres.
America Movil's Claro has a clear leadership in all of Nicaragua's telecom sectors, including fixed-line, mobile, broadband, and pay TV. Mobile subscribers overtook the country's main lines in early 2002, and now make up the significant majority of all lines.
Telefonica's Movistar is the only company competing with Claro in the fixed-line and mobile market. In the mobile sector, Movistar holds almost one third of the market, but in the fixed-line sector, it has only about 10% of the country's fixed lines in service.
Due to a weak regulatory structure and bureaucratic delays, further liberalisation has been slow to be implemented. The duopoly situation has dampened the competitive drive, and as a result there has been less effort than in neighbouring countries to improve quality and lower prices. However, other companies operating in the market include the Russian state corporation Rostejnologuii, Yota Mobile and IWB Holding.
The fixed-line market will probably continue to be stable, leaving growth principally in the mobile and broadband sectors. Competition in the mobile sector is expected to improve from late 2014 with the introduction of a new China-based operator following the auction of spectrum in the 1800MHz band. The broadband sector will be the main growth engine given the extremely low existing penetration rate coupled with consumer demand for services. In this regard, the longer-term prospect is promising.
Nicaragua Key telecom parameters 2015 (e)
Service: | Penetration
Fixed-line | 6.0%
Internet users | 4.3%
Broadband | 1.4%
Mobile | 95.7%
Movistar Nicaragua and Claro launch LTE services;
Xinwei Nicaragua launches mobile services under the CooTel brand;
Nicaragua's canal project selects preferred route;
New satellite commissioned to provide pay-TV and telecom services, boosting the availability and scale of services both for the country and region.
Claro retaining near-monopoly over broadband;
Telefonica planning to deploy a 3,158 mile fibre cable covering Central America, linking Mexico to Panama via Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica;
Report update includes the regulator's market data, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
America Movil, Movistar, Yota Nicaragua.
This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Nicaragua's telecommunications market. The report analyses the mobile, internet, broadband, digital TV and converging media sectors. Subjects covered include:
Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
Facts, figures and statistics;
Industry and regulatory issues;
Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, ARPU, MoU;
Internet, VoIP, IPTV;
Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
Broadband (FttP, DSL, cable, wireless);
Convergence and Digital Media;
Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
Market liberalisation and industry issues;
Telecoms operators privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;
Mobile technologies (GSM; 3G, HSPA, LTE).
1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
3. Country overview
3.1 Market analysis
3.2 International collaboration
4. Regulatory environment
4.2 Regulatory authority
4.3 Privatisation of Enitel
4.4 Telecom sector liberalisation in Nicaragua
5. Fixed network operators
5.2 Claro (America Movil)
5.3 Movistar (Telefonica)
5.4 Yota de Nicaragua
6. Telecommunications infrastructure
6.1 National telecom network
6.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
6.2 International infrastructure
6.2.1 Interconnection with Central American countries
6.2.2 Submarine cable networks
6.2.3 Satellite networks
6.3 Infrastructure developments
6.3.1 IP and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
8. Fixed-line broadband market
8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
8.2 Broadband statistics
9. Digital media
9.1 Pay TV
10. Mobile market
10.1 Market analysis
10.2 Mobile statistics
10.2.1 General statistics
10.3 Mobile data
10.4 Mobile broadband
10.5 Regulatory issues
10.5.1 Spectrum auctions
10.6 Mobile infrastructure
10.6.1 Digital networks
10.6.2 Other infrastructure developments
10.7 Major mobile operators
10.7.1 Claro (America Movil)
10.7.2 Movistar (Telefonica)
10.7.3 Xinwei Nicaragua (CooTel)
11. Mobile content and applications
11.1.1 Mobile TV
11.1.2 Mobile health
12. Related reports
Chart 1 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2003 2014
Chart 2 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2003 2015
Chart 3 Mobile market share by operator 2002 2013
Exhibit 1 Nicaragua major submarine cable networks
Exhibit 2 Alo PCS history
Exhibit 3 Enitel Movil history
Exhibit 4 Movistar history
Table 1 Country statistics Nicaragua 2014 (e)
Table 2 Telephone network statistics 2015 (e)
Table 3 Internet user statistics 2015 (e)
Table 4 Broadband statistics 2015 (e)
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2015 (e)
Table 6 National telecommunications authority
Table 7 Evolution of GDP in Nicaragua 2004 - 2014
Table 8 Payphones installed in rural and economically depressed areas 2006 - 2012
Table 9 Fixed line market share by operator 2004 - 2011
Table 10 Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity 1996 - 2004
Table 11 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2005 - 2014
Table 12 Internet subscriber market share by operator 2008 - 2011
Table 13 Internet access connections 2000 - 2014
Table 14 Broadband subscribers and penetration rates 2000 - 2014
Table 15 Broadband subscribers by platform, fixed and mobile 2008 - 2014
Table 16 Fixed-line broadband market share by platform 2011
Table 17 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 1997 - 2004
Table 18 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2005 - 2015
Table 19 Mobile market share by operator 2002 - 2013
Table 20 Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio 2003 - 2015
Table 21 Historic - Claro mobile subscribers 2003 - 2008
Table 22 Historic - Movistar mobile subscribers 2000 2008
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