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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.
BuddeComm’s report Suriname - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications market of Suriname, including the latest industry and operator data updates and estimates to 2014.
Suriname is the smallest nation on the South American continent, with just over 500,000 inhabitants. It is the only Dutch-speaking nation in South America, and has closer affinities with the Caribbean than with its continental neighbours. Despite various socio/political problems, the country’s medium-term economic outlook is favourable.
The incumbent telecom operator, Telesur, is 100% state-owned and is the exclusive provider of fixed-line and broadband services in Suriname. It 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 180%.
Suriname’s mobile market has three main players: Telesur (trading as TeleG), Digicel (a significant operator across the Caribbean), and Uniqa. Digicel expected to launch 4G mobile services to 85% of the population initially during 2014, broadening the footprint progressively into 2015. 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.
- Telesur and Uniqa have rolled out 3G services – both operators offer mobile broadband and phone-based internet browsing over HSPA-based UMTS networks.
- Smartphones are becoming increasingly popular in Suriname. Telesur’s Mobile Agent service enables credit payments to be made between devices.
- 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.