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Paraguay’s regulator to auction 700MHz at end-2017
The state-owned incumbent, Corporación Paraguaya de Comunicaciones (Copaco) retains a monopoly on all fixed-line voice services, including local telephony, international long distance telephony, and VoIP. In the mobile market, however, there has been competition since 1998. The internet market is also open to competition, and there are over a dozen ISPs offering services. Copaco lost its monopoly over the international backbone for internet connectivity in early 2009.
Growth in the number of mobile subscribers has been helped by the poor condition of much of the country’s fixed-line infrastructure. Underinvestment in infrastructure by Copaco has meant that lift Paraguay’s teledensity remains very low for the region. There is little expectation that the situation will be addressed effectively until the operator is restructured.
Another major drawback for Copaco and for Paraguay’s telecom sector generally is the country’s landlocked position, which makes it dependant on neighbouring nations for interconnection with submarine cable networks. This has driven up the price of broadband services, hampered growth in the sector and resulted in relatively low penetration. Available technologies include DSL, cable modem, FttP, and WiMAX. Copaco has a near-monopoly in the DSL market, given that there is little regulatory provision for unbundled local loops and other access mechanisms. DSL is the main fixed broadband technology, but it is unavailable in much of the country due to low teledensity. There is a fast growing fibre broadband market, though the number of subscribers remains small while network builds remain limited to certain pockets within the major cities.
Copaco’s main competitor in the fixed broadband market is Millicom’s Tigo, which offers broadband via cable modem under the brand name Tigo Hogar. The service is available in Asunción and neighbouring towns over a Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC) network. Tigo also provides broadband using WiMAX and FttP technologies.
There is effective competition in the mobile market, which is served by four operators: Tigo (the market leader), Telecom Argentina’s Personal (Núcleo), América Móvil’s Claro, and Copaco’s Vox. These operators have capitalised on the opportunities created by poor fixed-line infrastructure and by consumer demand for mobile voice and data services. There are about 18 mobile phones in Paraguay for every fixed-line in service, the highest proportion in Latin America.
- Regulator schedules 700MHz auction for December 2017;
- Regulator approves updated National Telecommunications Plan 2016 – 2020;
- Tigo to invest $100 million to provide 66% population coverage with LTE by end-2020;
- Paraguay joins the South American fibre ring project developed by the Union of South American Nations;
- Report update includes the regulator’s market data to for 2016, operator data to Q3 2017, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Copaco, Millicom (Tigo Paraguay), Vox, América Móvil (Claro Paraguay), Grupo Clarin, DirecTV, Personal (Telecom Argentina).