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INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT - SOUTH AMERICA

Tue, 07/31/2007 - 8:30pm
Compiled By Traci Patterson

Some South American countries are leapfrogging into VoIP, Wi-Fi, WiMAX and triple-play services, and mobile subscribers have overtaken their fixed-line counterparts in the region.

SOUTH AMERICAIn June 2006, the Brazilian government adopted the Japanese digital TV standard. The governments of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela are deciding amongst the U.S., European and Japanese versions for a digital standard, but most are expected to follow in Brazil’s footsteps.

What follows is a brief synopsis of South America’s most technologically advanced countries.

Argentina

  • Population: 39 million*
  • 8.6 million fixed telephone lines*
  • 2.8 million cable TV subs*
  • 1.6 million broadband subs*
  • Has the most mature TV market in Latin America (nearly every household owns a TV), a soaring broadband sector (ADSL dominates), low teledensity and a growing VoIP market
  • Major broadband players are Telmex Argentina, Telefónica de Argentina (TASA), Telecom Argentina, FiberTel and Groupo Clarín; major cable operators are Multicanal, CableVisión and Supercanal; DirecTV is the major satellite provider.
  • Government is drafting a new telecom law to facilitate media convergence; the main issue is whether or not telcos should be allowed to offer pay TV services.

Brazil

  • Population: 184.7 million*
  • 38.8 million fixed telephone lines*
  • 6.1 million broadband subs**
  • 2.9 million cable TV subs*
  • Has a booming broadband sector (ADSL dominates), low teledensity, widespread VoIP development, an increasing IPTV service model and several operators offering triple-play services.
  • Major broadband players are Telesp, Embratel, Brasil Telecom and Oi (Telemar); Net, Vivax and TVA are the major cable operators; Sky Brasil dominates the satellite space.
  • WiMAX licenses and triple-play regulations are being debated; the issue is whether or not fixed-line incumbents should enter these markets.

Chile

  • Population: 16.5 million*
  • 3.3 million fixed telephone lines*
  • 1 million broadband subs*
  • 821,100 cable TV subs*
  • Wi-Fi adoption is soaring, there is widespread development of VoIP and IPTV is being tested.
  • VTR Banda Ancha, Telefónica Chile, Entel and Telsur are the largest broadband players; VTR Globalcom and Cable Central are the major cable operators; Telefónica Multimedia Chile and DirecTV dominate the satellite market.
  • In 1999, VTR Globalcom launched Latin America’s first triple-play offering.

Colombia

  • Population: 46.8 million*
  • 7.8 million fixed telephone lines*
  • 1.5 million cable TV subs*
  • 470,000 broadband subs (approximately)*
  • Broadband is expanding, there is low teledensity, WiMAX is being deployed commercially, several companies are offering triple-play services and IPTV launches have commenced.
  • Major cable TV providers are Cablecentro, EPM, Cable Union de Occidente, Superview and TV Cable; DirecTV dominates the satellite space.
  • Signal piracy is a major problem for the pay TV industry; no restrictions on foreign investment make the market a promising growth area.

Peru

  • Population: 28.4 million*
  • 2.4 million fixed telephone lines*
  • 680,000 cable TV subs*
  • 480,000 broadband subs*
  • Has low cable TV and broadband penetration, but nearly every household owns a TV; wireless and satellite broadband have played an important role due to poor fixed-line coverage.
  • Telefónica del Perú holds a virtual monopoly in the broadband space; Cable Mágico, Cable Express, Star Global Com and BestCable are the major cable TV operators; DirecTV and Telefónica del Perú offer satellite TV services.
  • Cable TV is restricted to high-income households in urban areas, and it is plagued by illegal connections.

Venezuela

  • Population: 27 million*
  • 4.3 million fixed telephone lines (approximately)*
  • 1.3 million pay TV subs*
  • 537,300 broadband subs*
  • CANTV dominates the broadband market; Intercable and NetUno offer triple-play services; SuperCable offers converged broadband and cable TV; DirecTV dominates the satellite space.

* As of December 2006; Source: BuddeComm

** As of June 2007; Source: BuddeComm

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