Uruguay
Feature

Spotlight: The state of play in Uruguay’s telecoms market

Bnamericas Published: Monday, October 17, 2022
Spotlight: The state of play in Uruguay’s telecoms market

Uruguay ended the first half of this year with 12,168km of fiber optics deployed throughout the country, up 188km over end-June 2021. Over a third of this network is concentrated in Montevideo, Canelones and Maldonado departments.

The country’s telecom operators generated 9.10bn pesos (US$221mn) in revenues related to data and internet transmission services in H1, slightly down from the 9.22bn pesos seen in the second half of 2021, the first such sequential decline. 

Pay-TV subscriptions also declined in 1H22 compared with the end of 2021, for the first time at least since 2018.

These are some of the main highlights from regulator Ursec’s statistics report on the country’s telecoms market for the first half of 2022.

BNamericas takes a closer look at the most important figures in the report.

FIXED BROADBAND

Fixed broadband subscriptions grew to 1.12mn at end-June from 1.10mn at end-December and 1.08mn as of June 30, 2021, according to Ursec.

Of the total customer base, 84% were via fiber, 9% DSL cable and 7% other types of technologies.

Ursec’s data shows that state-run telco Antel had 99% of the subscribers, or 1.11mn. The company’s long-standing fixed monopoly, however, is now in jeopardy following changes in the country’s media law being debated in congress.

Enalur, Movistar and Telstar follow with roughly 1% of the market.

MOBILE

The combined revenues of Uruguayan mobile operators were 11.8bn pesos in H1, down from 12.0bn pesos in the previous six-month period. In 1H21, mobile carriers collected 11.6bn pesos.

The country had 6,961 radio base stations (antennas) deployed at the end of June, with 134 added in January-June, according to Ursec.

Of the total, 2,457 antennas transmitted 4G and 2,493 transmitted 3G, the rest being 2G sites. According to the regulator, 93.1% of the country is now covered by 4G LTE services.

Antel owned 46% of the total number of cellular antennas, Claro 28% and Movistar, 26%.

Uruguay had 4.70mn unique mobile telephony subscribers as of June 30, up from 4.69mn on December 31 and 4.60mn at the end of June 2021. Overall mobile accesses were 6.02mn, compared with 5.87mn and 5,68mn in the previous two periods, respectively.

Antel led the market with 48% of all subscribers at end-June, whereas Telefónica had 31% and Claro 21%.

Mobile broadband subscribers were 3.54mn, up 160,000 over the 12-month period. 

Around 54% of the base comprised postpaid users, the regulator said.

PAY-TV AND FIXED TELEPHONY

Revenues for pay-TV services reached 5.98bn pesos in 1H22, down from roughly 6bn pesos in the previous six months and up from 5.82bn pesos in 1H21. 

That was the first decline in these revenues since 2018.

The revenue drop is in line with the decrease in the number of subscriptions, now standing at 582,770 (down from 637,100 the year before). 

Uruguay has been shedding pay-TV subscribers since the end of 2020, data shows.

Nearly 52% of all pay-TV accesses were via coaxial cable and 45% via satellite. The remainder used MMDS (Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service).

DirecTV led the market with 28% of all subscribers at end-June, followed by “others” with 26%, Bersabel (9%), Tractoral (7%), and Riselco and Monte Cablevideo, each with 6%, among others.

Finally, fixed telephony subscribers totaled 1.25mn as of June 30, up from 1.23mn on December 31 and 1.22mn on June 30, 2021. 

Revenues for this service amounted to 2.30bn pesos in 1H22, down from 2.37bn pesos in 2H21 and 2.54bn pesos in 1H21.

Sources: Ursec.

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