Peru’s telecom sector struggles to retain traction following Covid-induced lockdowns

Peru’s telecom sector struggles to retain traction following Covid-induced lockdowns

After suffering a sharp retraction in the number of subscriptions and revenue during 2020 due to the Covid-19 crisis, Peru’s telecom sector managed to stage a small recovery in the first half of 2021. The extent of the decline, however, will take some time to recover from fully.

It will likely be two to three years before penetration rates return to the peak levels last seen in 2018. This is especially true given the overwhelming influence of mobile on Peru’s telecommunications market, which now commands almost 95% of all connections.

Peru’s fixed-line teledensity continued its slow but relentless decline into obscurity, dropping below 7% at the start of 2021. Investment in network infrastructure, where it exists, is mainly focused on rolling out fibre cable for fixed broadband services in (mainly) urban areas. Fixed broadband penetration inched higher to reach 8.4% at the end of 2020, a positive result that reflected the shift to working from home during enforced lockdowns at the start of the year. Yet Peru has a relatively low level of computer use, and prices for fixed broadband services are among the highest in Latin America. The overwhelmingly preferred internet access platform will remain the smartphone, with a further 8.6% growth in the number of mobile broadband subscriptions expected in 2021.

One drawback to success in the mobile broadband market has been the decision in January 2021 by Google’s parent company Alphabet to shut down Project Loon. This global endeavour involved the use of high-altitude balloons to provide internet access to remote, underserved areas around the world. In Peru, Loon had signed a deal with Telefónica to provide internet services in areas of the Amazon rainforest as part of the Telefónica/Facebook ‘Internet para Todos’ (IPT) project launched in 2018. However, Alphabet was unable to make the venture financially sustainable.

Key developments:

  • 5G services launched using existing concessions, but spectrum auctions delayed to late 2021.
  • Regulator fines Movistar and Claro for breaching MNP rules, imposes new requirements on Movistar to provide customers with greater transparency, announces $415 million investment to extend LTE coverage to 2,600 underserved areas.
  • MTC issues Fibertel with a 20-year MVNO licence to offer B2B-focused services and dark fibre access over a nationwide fibre network.
  • Pacific Cable lands at Lurin.
  • Eutelsat Communications enters JV with Telespazio allowing the latter to use Ku Band capacity on the EUTELSAT 117 West B satellite to provide telecom services to 1,300 underserved areas in the Peruvian Amazon.
  • This report includes the regulator's market data reports to march 2021, telcos' financial and operating data updates for H1 2021, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of Covid-19 on the telecoms sector, and other 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: Peru - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Edition: August 2021

Lead Analyst: Henry Lancaster

Number of pages: 193

Companies mentioned in this report: Telefónica del Perú (Movistar), América Móvil (Claro Perú), Americatel Perú (Entel), Viettel Peru (Bitel), Gilat To Home Perú, Flash Mobile, Cuy Móvil, Fibertel

Single User PDF Licence Price: US$1390

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