Suriname - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Suriname - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

  • April 2020 •
  • 80 pages •
  • Report ID: 3846612 •
  • Format: PDF
The smallest nation on the South American continent, with just over 500,000 inhabitants, Suriname is also the only Dutch-speaking nation in South America, and it has closer affinities with the Caribbean than with its continental neighbours, and indeed is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

The state-owned incumbent telco Telesur is the exclusive provider of fixed-line and broadband services in Suriname. However, in the mobile sector the company faces effective competition from Digicel, which in 2016 acquired the only other operator in the sector, Uniqa.

Suriname’s fixed-line infrastructure is reasonably reliable in the more populated coastal region, though poor in the interior. Fixed teledensity and broadband penetration are slightly lower than average for Latin America and the Caribbean, while mobile penetration is significantly above the regional average and much higher than would be expected given the country’s relatively low GDP per capita.
Many Surinamese have up to three mobile lines with different providers, which has pushed up penetration figures although the number of subscribers has fallen in recent years as consumers have responded to economic pressures. The mobile market supports only two players: Telesur (trading as TeleG), and Digicel (part of Digicel Group, a significant operator across the Caribbean region). In early 2015 Digicel acquired the only other operator, Uniqa, which only had about 5,000 subscribers. In January 2017 Digicel signed a deal to host the MVNO Transatel, which operates in a number of markets across the Caribbean and Latin America.
Although other ISPs offer dial-up and webmail services, Telesur is the only provider of fixed broadband, primarily using DSL technology. The company since 2013 has built out a fibre network in pars of Paramaribo.

The analyst notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.
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, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.
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:
Digicel has international link to Guyana cut;
Transatel enters the market as an MVNO on Digicels network;
Telesur extends mobile broadband services;
Smartphones adoption facilitating success of Telesurs Mobile Agent service,
Telesur expands fibre network;
Report update includes recent market developments, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, ITU and regulator data to 2017.
Assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector.
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