Who are the Fastest Growing Networks in Caribbean/Latin America?
Published on: 1st Oct 2007
Note -- this news article is more than a year old.
The majority of the names on the list of the leading operators in Caribbean and Latin America (CALA) by customer numbers reappear on the list of the fastest growing but not the first on the list. This is minor Mexican player Iusacell, which recorded 1.7m additions to take its total to 3.9m. However, the numbers have to be treated with caution the vast majority of this growth came from the acquisition of Unefon which closed during the quarter. Without this, the number of new connections would have been below 0.5m not enough to take a place in the top ten, let alone first.
Iusacell apart, on an organic basis the fastest growing networks were all in Brazil. America Movil's Telecom Americas tops the list with 1.64m organic additions, for a quarterly growth rate of 6.7%. Vivo's 1.21m new connections was just sufficient to take the second place from TIM Brasil, which managed 1.171m. This amounted to 4.5% growth, a faster proportionate rate than Vivo's 4.2% and as a result, it maintained its share of the total at 25.8%, while Vivo declined further, to just 28.4% - less than half the share it enjoyed ten years ago.
In this context, it is interesting to note the comments coming from Carlos Slim, the force behind America Movil. He questions whether Telefonica ought to be allowed to control both Vivo and TIM Brasil, following its acquisition of a stake in TIM's parent company, Telecom Italia. Telefonica's assertions that it has no operational influence on the company are, he thinks, less than wholly convincing... but even were the two to be merged, as he appears to think they may be, their combined market share would still be below the share Vivo enjoyed on its own in the latter part of the last century - and 20 percentage points less than the market share his Mexican company has in its home market. This suggests he may not have too much to complain about.
As it is, Telcel Mexico takes fourth place on this list. It nearly matched TIM Brasil's number, with 1.168m new connections in the quarter. These four - five if Iusacell is counted - were the only companies that managed to add one million or more in the quarter. However, the rest of the list all managed more than 0.5m, starting with Telefonica Mexico, which took fifth place with 0.91m additions. This company has added over 3m customers in just nine months to raise its share of the Mexican market from 14.1% to 16.5% and it may be this performance, as much as anything else, that has sparked Snr Slim's comments about Brazil.
A third America Movil subsidiary takes sixth place - CTI from Argentina. This added some 0.77m new connections to push Telefonica's third representative - Telefonica Moviles Argentina - into seventh place. It connected 0.6m customers, as did the fourth company from the Telefonica stable, Telcel Venezuela. Telecom Italia's associate, Telecom Argentina, came close to matching this with 0.571m new customers, while a fourth America Movil subsidiary took tenth place, with six thousand fewer.