Telecom market evolution in Colombia

author: MedUX

Telecommunications service consumption habits in Colombia are increasingly digital and interactive

  • Market evolution in the telecommunications sector in Colombia has been very relevant, increasing both the number of connections as well as the user experience quality.

The Communications Regulation Commission of Colombia (CRC), that measures the quality of the fixed and mobile telecommunication services from the  end users perception or Quality of Experience (QoE) since 2015, supported by MedUX and Nae, submitted the report about the IT and Postal Sectors 2018, which offers an updated vision on the market evolution. 

Since 2015, the IT sector in Colombia has grown exponentially, both in infrastructure improvement as well as market penetration. “We are at the right time for the technology deployment to focus on much more efficient technologies that offer a better user experience, so Colombia will be consolidated as an inclusive digital economy and an international reference that has digital entities and citizens that incorporate the IT developments”, concluded Carlos Hugo Silva, Commissioner and Executive Director of the CRC.

In fact, since 2018, the IT industry experienced a penetration rate increase in all telecommunications services, excluding landline, being mobile internet the one that had the highest growth (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Penetration rate of IT services by population, mobile and fixed services.| Source: CRC Colombia

Mobile Internet service

Mobile Internet consumption is growing exponentially, driven by increasingly digital and interactive consumer habits. In Colombia, mobile Internet traffic during 2018 has increased a 43.1% from the data registered in 2017, and 4G accesses have increased a 43% regarding 2015. This means that during 2018 the access rate by 4G technology was almost 60% of the total Internet accesses, with regard to 2G and 3G (see Figure 2). Due to the improvement in the telecommunication networks, users have experienced an improvement in the quality of experience that they receive. MedUX supports the CRC monitoring the quality of mobile service due to their MedUX MOBILE devices installed in moving vehicles in ten Colombian cities, making active tests that simulate the users’ behaviour.

Figure 2: Percentage of mobile Internet accesses, classified by technology. | Source: data from Colombia TIC, prepared by CRC.

According to the CRC report, “this data is the result of the modernization process of the mobile networks in the country, a higher number of mobile Internet users are experiencing faster connection speeds, low latency and higher data exchange”.

“These measures have a positive effect on the market ,since the improvement of the quality at a global level is constant. Plus, CRC’s measures, as well as those carried out by the most advanced regulators, include customer experience data that goes beyond the download speed. However, the latest results indicate that capacity should increase in the main cities, which could be a lever for 5G ”, explains Joaquín Guerrero, director at NAE.

Fixed Internet service

During the last year, Internet access penetration in the Colombian homes was 46,4%. In figure 3 it is observed that cable is the access technology with a higher deployment rate (58.2%), followed by xDSL, with 24.7% and fibre with a 13%.

It should be noted that the fibre deployment increased almost 10% since 2015, at the expense of xDSL technologies. Within fiber accesses, 49.7% of them are FTTH (Fibre To The Home).

Figure 3: Fixed Internet access by technology. | Source: data from Colombia TIC, prepared by CRC.

In terms of quality of service of fixed networks, considering the analysis of the upload and download speeds, it can be seen that the download speed has increased substantially. In 2018 the 53.4% of the fixed Internet connections had speeds equal or greater than 10 Mb, which supposes an increase of almost 27 percentage points.

Figure 4: Average download speed of fixed Internet accesses.| Source: data from Colombia TIC, prepared by CRC.

Furthermore, upload speed data show that more than 50% of the Internet connections have average speed lower than 2Mbps, while in figure 5 it can be observed how during 2018 average upload speeds in general were greater than 2017’s.

Figure 5: Average upload speed of fixed Internet accesses.| Source: data from Colombia TIC, prepared by CRC.

“This trend on speeds, along with the sustained growth of fiber accesses show that the fixed Internet service in Colombia is in a technological renovation process and in transition to higher speeds, in order to fulfill the user’s increasing needs and demands, in terms of quality and service availability” according to the CRC. 

“The improvement in download speeds for fixed accesses is also being widespread. Again, the information published by the CRC goes beyond bandwidth and it can be verified that web browsing times grow slightly in the main cities”, highlights Joaquín Guerrero.

As explained in the post about the regulatory guarantees of telecom user experience in Colombia, MedUX supports the CRC monitoring the quality of fixed services thanks to its MedUX HOME Devices deployed in the main Colombian cities. 

MedUX measures, analyzes and predicts in real time the Quality of Service of fixed and mobile telecom networks based on data measured with our ecosystem based on the end user perspective. This way, regulators can focus on checking the quality offered to end customers and support their empowerment.  Telecommunication operators also use MedUX to validate internally that they comply with regulatory requirements as well as that they are able to allocate resources to improve quality and the KPIs that most affect the quality offered to users. At the same time, operators can reduce costs and improve their value proposition, anticipating the problems of network performance and avoiding complaints in order to keep their customers satisfied.

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