Nicaragua - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

Nicaragua - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

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Executive Summary

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%

(Source: BuddeComm)

Key developments:

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;

Infrastructure developments;

Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, ARPU, MoU;

Internet, VoIP, IPTV;

Mobile Voice and Data Markets;

Broadband (FttP, DSL, cable, wireless);

Convergence and Digital Media;

Mobile ARPU;

Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;

Market liberalisation and industry issues;

Telecoms operators privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;

Mobile technologies (GSM; 3G, HSPA, LTE).



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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications


1. Executive summary

2. Key statistics

3. Country overview

3.1 Market analysis

3.2 International collaboration

4. Regulatory environment

4.1 Background

4.2 Regulatory authority

4.2.1 Telcor

4.3 Privatisation of Enitel

4.4 Telecom sector liberalisation in Nicaragua


5. Fixed network operators

5.1 Introduction

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)

7. Wholesale

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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