Press Release

Smartphone Sales Soar as Venezuelans Flock to Social Networks

August 6th, 2012

Global Information Inc. would like to present a new market research report, "Venezuela - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts" by BuddeComm.

Substantial improvements in Venezuelas telecom infrastructure have made service availability relatively high compared with the rest of Latin America. The countrys telecom market is expected to grow by at least 10% in 2012, led by 3G including both mobile broadband and phone-based internet browsing. The outlook for 2013 is less promising, as Venezuelas petroleum-dependent economy leaves it vulnerable to sudden booms and busts tied to the global oil market, and oil prices are on the way down. After the October 2012 general elections, an economic slowdown is probable, and this would temporarily put a break on telecom market growth.

Key report findings:

  • Despite a sustained increase in the number of fixed lines in service, Venezuelas fixed-line revenues account for a shrinking portion of total telecom revenues, while the share of mobile, internet, and pay TV revenues has been rising. A number of private operators compete in all telecom sectors, but CANTV, the countrys state-owned telecom incumbent, dominates the fixed, mobile, and broadband markets.
  • Venezuelas teledensity is one of the highest in Latin America, having almost doubled since 2005. In the local telephony market, four companies compete with CANTV: NetUno, Inter, Movistar, and Digitel. NetUno and Inter are primarily cable TV companies, while Movistar and Digitel are primarily mobile operators. NetUno and Inter provide fixed-line services over their cable TV network as part of triple play packages (including pay TV, broadband, and fixed-line telephony). Movistar and Digitel offer local phone services using fixed-wireless technology.
  • Venezuelas fixed broadband penetration and speed are lower than the regional average and less than would be expected based on GDP per capita, which in Venezuela is higher than in Latin America as a whole. Partly due to the economic slowdown and partly to the rising popularity of mobile broadband, growth in the fixed broadband market has slowed.
  • CANTV is the countrys exclusive ADSL provider. A few cable TV companies offer cable modem access and there is one WiMAX provider. The Venezuelan government has launched a National Fibre-Optic Backbone project to guarantee a uniform distribution of high-speed internet access throughout the national territory. CANTV is in charge of implementing the project. The government intends to lease capacity on the National Fibre-Optic Backbone to cooperatives and small companies.
  • Pay TV is the fastest growing telecom sector in Venezuela after mobile broadband, and accounts for 15% of all telecom revenue in the country. The market leaders are DirecTV, Inter, SuperCable, NetUno, Movistar, and CANTV.
  • Mobile penetration in Venezuela is about 7% below average for South and Central America. The mobile market is recovering from the downturn it took during Venezuelas economic recession, but estimated growth is small compared with previous years.
  • Despite the slump in mobile subscriber growth, the volume of data traffic has been increasing exponentially. Spurred by the huge popularity of social networks in Venezuela, the country has experienced an unanticipated surge in the demand for 3G and smart phones. Indeed, Venezuela is the number one country in Latin America for Blackberry handsets.
  • Three major players operate in the Venezuelan mobile market: Movilnet, the market leader and mobile subsidiary of state-owned CANTV; Movistar, the Venezuelan unit of Spains Telefonica; and Digitel, a locally owned private company.

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