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Digicel to Challenge Movistar's Mobile Market Position in Panama

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By 2015, new entrants Claro and Digicel are expected to increase their mobile phone market share in Panama to 11.7 percent and 21.3 percent, respectively, helping to boost competition levels in the market still dominated by C&W and Movistar, according to a new report from Pyramid Research.

Growth in Panama's mobile segment is expected to be supported by a growing demand in data services, as the mobile voice segment approaches a saturation point, at an expected mobile penetration rate of 137 percent at year-end 2010. "In the coming years, the entry of new cellular operators Claro and Digicel is expected to erode C&W and Movistar's market shares, arriving with aggressive pricing strategies mainly focused on the pre-paid segment, where competition is fierce," says Eulalia Marin-Sorribes, Analyst at Pyramid. "The implementation of mobile number portability in 2011 is expected to intensify this trend even more, allowing Claro and Digicel to speed up their market expansion."

Pyramid believes that Digicel's rapid market expansion compared to Claro's is mainly due to the fact that Digicel entered the market a few months before Claro, gaining first-mover advantage. This move has been reinforced with an aggressive pricing policy on prepaid products and data offers. "Digicel's rapid market advance is expected to add extra pressure on Movistar, which could eventually lose its second position in the market, although Pyramid does not see this happening during the forecast period," says Marin-Sorribes.

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Tags: claro  movistar  digicel  Panama