CNT to modernise LTE infrastructure and install 5G NSA network

CNT to modernise LTE infrastructure and install a 5G non standalone network

In common with several other mid-sized countries in the region, Ecuador has a small telecom market dominated by the mobile sector.

The evolution of the market has been influenced by the poor fixed-line infrastructure, which has stymied the development of fixed-line broadband services. To some extent poor infrastructure has been the result of topographical challenges which have rendered the cost of deploying networks to remote and mountainous areas prohibitive.

Although Ecuador has seven fixed-line operators and a large number of ISPs, the state-owned incumbent CNT leads the fixed-line market, and thus also the fixed broadband market.

The mobile sector is shared by América Móvil’s Conecel (trading as Claro), which has a 54.8% share of the market by subscribers, Telefónica’s Otecel (trading as Movistar) with about 30.7% of the market, and CNT (previously Telecsa/Alegro) with a share of 14.5%. Thus far the MVNO sector has been slow to develop, partly because the incumbent operators also have their low-cost brands and thus there is little business case for new market entrants.

The government is keen to advance universalisation and improve teledensity, and it is expected that CNT will continue its efforts to expand the country’s fixed-line infrastructure. At the same time, a national broadband plan has been implemented to expand and improve internet access for all Ecuadoreans. The fixed broadband market – including DSL, cable modem and fibre-based services – should continue to grow strongly in coming years, with an anticipated focus on fibre as networks are built out from the more densely populated urban areas. The mobile broadband market is also expected to grow strongly as network operators expand the reach of their LTE services.

BuddeComm notes that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on the telecoms market. On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, has offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect has been a reduced (and sometimes negative) subscriber growth, which will continue into 2021.

Overall progress towards 5G has been postponed or curtailed in some countries.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:

  • CNT selects Nokia to modernise existing LTE infrastructure and install a 5G non standalone (NSA) network;
  • Regulator enables online approval process for cell phones and other terminal equipment;
  • BT Group completes the sale of its operations and infrastructure in Latin America to CIH Telecommunications Americas;
  • Liberty Latin America enters talks with Telefónica to acquire its assets in Colombia and Ecuador;
  • CNT considers the sale of its tower assets to focus on fibre deployment;
  • Mintel initiates programs to provide Wi-Fi to parishes without connectivity;
  • Fifty-two percent of municipalities to provide free internet access points by end-2021;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data to February 2021, telcos’ operating data to Q4 2020, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, recent market developments.

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Developing Telecoms market report summaries are produced in partnership with BuddeComm, the world’s largest continually updated online telecommunications research service.

The above article is a summary of the following BuddeComm report:

Report title: Ecuador - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Edition: April 2021

Analyst: Henry Lancaster

Number of pages: 152

Companies mentioned in this report: Corporacion Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (CNT), Nokia, BT Global Services, BT Group, Liberty Latin America (LLA), Etapa, TVCable (Suratel), Claro (Ecuador Telecom/Telmex), Linkotel, Etapa Telecom, Global Crossing, Grupo Coripar, Starsat, Ministry of Telecoms & Information Society (Mintel), Movistar, PuntoNet, Ecuanet/Megadatos. Easynet, Trans-telco, EmpresaEléctrica Regional Centrosur, Sencinet, Telxius, Tower One Wireless, Transelectric, Telconet

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