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This report analyses the telecom market in the Caribbean, including recent regulatory measures and statistics, telecom infrastructure updates and developments in key sectors including mobile, broadband, cable TV, IPTV and fixed-telephony. It provides data and analyses on the main fixed-line and mobile operators as well as ISPs, and assesses the state of market liberalisation.
Consolidation strengthens regional players struggling for revenue growth
The telecoms sector in the Caribbean sector remains one of the region’s major growth industries, particularly in the mobile telephony and data sectors. The two main telcos in the region are Cable & Wireless Communications, operating services under the LIME brand, and Digicel. Along with Bermuda-based KeyTech, these operators have spearheaded consolidation in the region through a number of acquisitions. This has been aimed at strengthening their presence across a wider number of markets, as also diversifying their offerings. Digicel in particular has emerged from its mobile-centric platform offering to include pay-TV services through acquiring a number of small cable TV operators and ISPs providing IPTV. For its part, CWC’s recent acquisition of Columbus International represents a continuation of existing collaborations on network assets in the region. The deal provides CWC with greater reach through subsea cable infrastructure which extends to many more markets in the Caribbean, with links to both North and South America.
The countries covered in this are principally dependent on tourism for revenue, and as such their economies can be affected by economic difficulties experienced within the principal client states (the US notably, as also some European countries from where most tourists to the region are derived).
Other than tourism, countries in the region have some small-scale primary industries, to a greater or lesser degree based on fisheries, bauxite and other minerals, and timber. Given the paucity of a manufacturing base, the telecoms sector accounts for a larger proportion of GDP than may be found elsewhere, at between 4% and 6%. Growth in telecoms revenue is expected to be low into 2015, at perhaps 1-2%. Further competition anticipated later in 2015 and in 2016 as a result of new mobile licences, will place additional pressure on pricing and so further dampen the potential for growth among the key regional telcos.
Trinidad and Tobago open an IXP;
Digicel T&T launches FttP services;
MNP in T&T launched in February 2015;
UTS sells loss-making subsidiaries in Suriname and Saint Kitts & Nevis;
Caribbean Research and Education Network (CaribNET) network delivers connectivity to international research stations;
KeyTech acquires TeleCayman and BOTCAT Holdings;
Digicel switches on HSPA in the BVI, providing 95% coverage;
CWC invests $30 million in Cayman Island infrastructure;
ECTEL updates schedule on release of 700MHz spectrum;
CWC reduces ownership of BTC to 49%;
BTC issue of third mobile licence delayed to at least 2018;
Legislative amendments extend jurisdiction of the Barbadian telecom regulator to include mobile services;
Bermuda’s KeyTech acquires Cablevisión;
Bermuda Telephone Company acquired by Digicel;
CWC acquires Columbus International; regulatory developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Cable & Wireless, LIME, Digicel, Orange Caraïbes, United Telecommunications Services (UTS), KeyTech.