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Venezuela’s telcos facing struggle to fund investments into 2017
Venezuela’s fixed-line teledensity remains relatively high for the region, though steady growth in the number of lines in recent years came to an end in 2015, when the number of lines in service fell 3.5% year-on-year.
In the local telephony market, five companies compete with the state-owned incumbent CANTV: Three of these are primarily cable TV companies providing services over their cable TV networks, while two are primarily mobile operators.
With a continuing economic crisis and high inflation, as well as lower prices for the country’s key export commodity, oil, the general outlook for 2017 is not promising. A new government elected in December 2015 plans to amend the Telecommunications Act, while there are indications that it may also privatize CANTV, the main telecom player nationalised in 2007.
Mobile penetration in Venezuela is below the average for South America, while growth in the sector has been set back by the ongoing economic recession. The number of mobile subscribers fell 4.7% in 2015, in line with the fall in fixed-line and internet subscriptions as customers scale back their spending on services. Nevertheless, the volume of data traffic has been increasing steadily, spurred by the popularity of social networks, the prevalence of smartphones and the use of mobile networks for data in preference to fixed-line internet services. Mobile data traffic increased 76% in the fourth quarter of 2015, year-on-year.
Three major players operate in the mobile market: Movilnet, Movistar Venezuela and Digitel, a locally owned private company. In terms of revenue, the mobile sector accounted for almost 60% of overall telecom sector revenue in 2015, compared to 7% for internet services and 14% for subscription TV services.
Venezuela’s fixed broadband penetration is lower than the regional average, while data rates are also relatively low. CANTV has a monopoly on the provision of DSL services, while there a few cable TV companies offer cable broadband access. The government has launched a National Fibre-Optic Backbone project to provide broadband access nationally.
Pay TV is the fastest growing telecom sector in Venezuela after mobile broadband, and accounts for 14% of all telecom revenue in the country. The market leaders are DirecTV (now owned by AT&T), Inter, SuperCable, NetUno, Movistar, and CANTV.
This report provides an overview of Venezuela’s telecom infrastructure, market and regulatory environment, together with profiles of the major fixed-line operators. The report also reviews the broadband and pay TV markets, accompanied by relevant statistics, analyses, and broadband scenario forecasts to 2021. In addition the report covers the mobile market, assessing the performance and strategies of the network operators and proving subscriber forecasts to 2021.
Election of new government prompts consideration of CANTV privatisation;
CANTV completes installation of 5,700kms of new fibre cabling;
Falling GDP and lower revenue from oil exports continue to place a strain on consumer spend for telecom services;
CANTV extends IPTV service;
CANTV’s Wi-Fi program connects 3,000 public spaces;
National Fibre-Optic Backbone project deployment 70% complete;
DTTV subscriber base reaches 850,000 by end-2015;
Telefónica sees dramatic write-down on revenue following currency devaluation;
Regulator defines additional spectrum to be auctioned;
LTE subscriber base increases 22% in Q4 2015, reaching 676,000;
Mobile data traffic grows 76% in 2015, year-on-year;
Report includes the regulator’s market data to December 2015, operator data to Q3 2016, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
CANTV, Movistar Venezuela, Digitel, Inter, NetUno, Alodiga, Multiphone, Totalcom, Convergía, Movilnet, MovilMax, Tesacom, SuperCable, DirecTV.
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