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New Market Study, "Central America Telecommunications Report Q1 2014", Has Been Published

New Fixed Networks market report from Business Monitor International: "Central America Telecommunications Report Q1 2014"

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Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/25/2013 -- The Central American region is characterised by a heavy government presence in the telecoms market through state-owned companies. Regulatory authorities may lack independence and this can negatively affect competition in the industry. As growth begins to slow down in the region, governments are interested in boosting competitiveness by adding new players, divesting themselves of their state-owned entities and introducing number portability. Many markets have well over 100% penetration and new methods are needed to grow low average revenue per user (ARPU) levels by deploying higher-value services.

Key Data

- Data from the regulator SIT has resulted in BMI updating its figures for the Guatemalan market for end-2012. Fixed lines in Guatemala grew by 7.22% year-on-year (y-o-y), to 1.7mn in 2012, compared with 1.62mn in 2011, according to a report from the regulator. The mobile subscriber base in the country grew by only 6.7% y-o-y, to 20.78mn in 2012, from 19.47mn in 2011. In the fixed-line market, America Movil-owned Telgua is the market leader, with 70.95% of fixed lines or 1.23mn subscribers, followed by Telefonica with 213,345 subscribers. In the mobile market Tigo Guatemala has the biggest market share, with 48% of the market, followed by America Movil's Claro and Movistar.

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Key Trends And Developments

- In August 2013, telecoms regulatory authority SIGET announced plans to auction nationwide spectrum licences of 40MHz, in order to attract a sixth player into the El Salvador market. SIGET's proposal is aimed at encouraging development and increasing competition in the mobile market, as well as growing internet penetration.
- Telefonica has agreed to sell 40% of its Central American business unit to Corporacion Multi Inversiones (CMI) for US$500mn. The company operates in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama, and has been looking to divest itself of assets to service its large debt. In BMI's Risk/Reward Ratings, Panama and Nicaragua in particular are at the lower end of the table, dragged down by poor Country Risk outlooks due to slow GDP growth rates, as well as political risk and regulatory concerns.
- The deployment schedule of Chinese telecoms operator Xinwei Telecom in Nicaragua has been rescheduled to late July or early August 2013, reports La Prensa. The reason for the delay was not given. The government expects the introduction of the operator to eliminate the Claro-Movistar duopoly. Meanwhile, Xinwei plans to launch a network based on multi-carrier wireless in the local loop SCDMA.
- Mobile number portability will be available in Costa Rica and in Honduras in late 2013.
- Honduras also plans to start the 4G auction process by first holding two public consultations in July 2013.

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