Bolivia strengthens satellite broadband service quality
Bolivia’s fixed broadband penetration is relatively low, at about 9%. This is partly due to the relatively high cost of services in a country with low disposable household income. However, connectivity in many rural and remote areas is poor or non-existent, while it remains patchy in many urban areas.
Bolivia has long relied on a combination of terrestrial cable links via neighbouring countries, and on satellite internet. The incumbent telco Entel owns and operates satellite ground stations across the country to offer telephony and internet services.
Although Bolivia participated in the Satélite Andino project to build a satellite to provide coverage over the region, in the end services were contracted to SES World Skies and coverage over Bolivia was only minimal. To address these limitations, a Bolivian Space Agency (ABE) was created in February 2010, and its own satellite (Túpac Katari) was launched in late 2013. In early 2020 the ABE announced plans to deploy hundreds of satellite antennae to boost connectivity in rural areas. The pandemic brought such plans to a halt, though since early 2021 work on this project has resumed.Key developments:
Companies mentioned in this report:Autoridad de Fiscalización y Control Social de Telecomunicaciones y Transporte (ATT), Entel Movil, Tigo (Telefónica), Viva (NuevaTel), SES World Skies.
- Entel connects Bolivia to the Pacific via a 2,000km cable through Peru;
- International roaming charges for travellers between Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru to be gradually reduced;
- Bolivia’s space agency confirms plans to boost the provision of satellite-based internet in rural areas;
- Entel installs 500 free Wi-Fi points in urban and rural municipalities;
- Communication towers in Yapacani destroyed over Covid-19 conspiracy fears;
- B$125 million investment committed to resume Entel’s network expansion projects in rural areas;
- Iskratel deploys GPON broadband network for the ISP Cotap;
- Report update includes the regulator’s market data to June 2021, operator data to Q3 2021, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, recent market developments.