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

  • May 2016
  • -
  • Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd
  • -
  • 24 pages

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Suriname's international bandwidth capacity still insufficient, with slow broadband speeds and high pricing keeping broadband penetration low

The smallest nation on the South American continent, with just over 500,000 inhabitants, Suriname is also the only Dutch-speaking nation in South America, and it has closer affinities with the Caribbean than with its continental neighbours. In the wake of various socio/political problems, the country's medium-term economic growth has slowed since 2011, when GDP grew at 5.3%. It has since fallen, to 4.1% in 2013 and an anticipated 3% for 2015.

The state-owned incumbent telco Telesur is the exclusive provider of fixed-line and broadband services in Suriname. However, the company faces strong competition from the mobile sector, which will be exacerbated in coming years as consumers continue to adopt mobile voice and data services in preference to fixed-line services. In 2013 Telesur launched VoIP services under the Telesur Internet Calling' brand.
Suriname's fixed-line infrastructure is reasonably reliable in the more populated coastal region, though poor in the interior. Fixed teledensity and broadband penetration are slightly lower than average for Latin America and the Caribbean, while mobile penetration is significantly above the regional average and much higher than would be expected given the country's relatively low GDP per capita.
Many Surinamese have up to three mobile lines with different providers, pushing penetration figures upward of 190%. The mobile market supports three main players: Telesur (trading as TeleG), Digicel (a significant operator across the Caribbean), and Uniqa. Digicel launched mobile services based on LTE technology during 2014, initially to 85% of the population. UTS in mid-2013 put its loss-making Suriname operation up for sale.

Although other ISPs offer dial-up and webmail services, Telesur is the only provider of fixed broadband, primarily using ADSL technology. It competes with Uniqa, however, in the mobile broadband market. The company since 2013 has built out a fibre network in pars of Paramaribo.

Key telecom parameters 2014 (e)
Sector | Penetration
Fixed-line telephony | 15.7%
Fixed-broadband | 6.6%
Mobile telephony | 165%
(Source: BuddeComm)

Key developments:

UTS sells Uniqa mobile division for a significant loss;
Telesur extends 3G services, offering mobile broadband and phone-based internet browsing over HSPA-based networks.
Smartphones adoption facilitating success of Telesur's Mobile Agent service.
Although boosted by the Suriname-Guyana Submarine Cable System (SG-SCS), bandwidth capacity is still insufficient, and broadband download speeds are the second lowest in South America.
UTS sells commercial property in Suriname as it looks to offload its loss-making local unit Uniqa;
Telesur builds out and expands fibre network in areas of Paramaribo;
Telesur reports a 2.4% increase in revenue for 2013.

This report provides an overview of trends and developments in Suriname's telecommunications market.

Subjects covered include:

Market and industry overviews;
Facts, figures, and statistics;
Government policies and regulatory issues;
Major players (fixed, mobile, and broadband);
Fixed-line market and infrastructure;
Mobile market (including 3G and mobile broadband);
Broadband market.

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