Nearshore Americas

4G Takes the Colombian Broadband Market By Storm

The number of broadband customers in Colombia exceeded 9.5 million in 2013, with 4G networks widening to cover most of the urban landscape across the Andean country.

According to date released by the government, Internet penetration has risen by over 19%, a jump of almost four percentage points from 15.3% in late 2012.

Subscription for mobile broadband is growing faster than fixed line subscriptions, with more and more carriers launching wireless telecom services. The number of 3G and 4G subscribers surged 61.7% to 3.8 million, according to the country’s ICT Ministry.

Colombia’s three major telecom operators – Claro, Movistar and Tigo – have launched 4G services in the past few months. Carlos Slim’s Claro  has the largest share of telecom market in this Andean country (57%), while Movistar, a unit of Telefonica, owns about 24%. Claro reportedly lost close to a million subscribers last year, causing its market share to fall from 61%.

Following an auction of the 4G spectrum, telecom carriers are vying among themselves to sign up more customers.  Analysts say the broadband market has largely remained untapped in the country with 47 million people.

The government believes that about two million people will have signed up for high-speed LTE/4G services by the end of this year. LTE networks have been launched in major cities across the country, including Bogota, Cali, Bucaramanga, Medellín and Barranquilla.

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Movistar and Tigo became the first to launch its 4G technology in December last year, but now the smaller operators – such as  ETB, Directv and Avantel – will roll out 4G services in the months to come.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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