Table of Contents

  • This study was carried out by the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry (DSTI) under the auspices of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP, formerly known as the Information, Computer and Communications Policy Committee, “ICCP Committee”) and the Working Party of Communication Infrastructure and Services Policy (CISP Working Party). It was requested by the Government of Colombia, through the Ministry for Information and Communication Technology (Ministerio de Tecnologías de la Información y las Comunicaciones, MINTIC) and the Communications Regulation Communication (Comisión de Regulación de Comunicaciones, CRC), both being in charge of representing Colombia at the CDEP and the CISP Working Party.

  • Telecommunication networks and services and, more generally, information and communication technologies (ICTs) play an increasingly important role in economies and societies. Colombia has rightly recognised the importance of ICT deployment and adoption for increased economic growth and productivity. ICTs, moreover, can also assist in bridging the gap between the rich and the poor and promote inclusive development. In Colombia, telecommunication and ICTs play a major role in the 2010-14 National Development Plan (Prosperidad para Todos), through the country’s flagship national ICT Plan (Plan Vive Digital). This Plan represents an important milestone in Colombia’s ICT policies: it is well resourced, has high political visibility and covers both the demand and the supply side of ICTs.

  • This chapter describes the dimensions and main players in Colombia’s telecommunication market, including fixed-line, mobile, broadband and pay-television, focusing on market size, penetration and competition. Mobile markets are highly concentrated as are fixed telephony and broadband equivalents at the local and regional level. Data are presented on investment, speed and price indicators, which show that Colombia significantly lags OECD countries in terms of broadband penetration and speeds and exhibits higher prices for most telecommunication services.

  • Chapter 2 examines the design of the institutional framework for telecommunication policy and regulation, which was recently reformed (2009). Most regulatory instruments used in OECD countries are present in Colombia’s legal framework, even though some have never been used. The chapter presents recent developments in the areas of ex-ante regulation, competition law, interconnection, universal service, spectrum policy and consumer protection, as well as the new challenges posed by convergence.

  • This final chapter concludes with a set of recommendations that Colombian authorities should follow in order to achieve more efficient telecommunication markets to the benefit of the economy and society. The chapter highlights the importance of having a regulator truly independent from the government with enforcement powers. It also focuses on how Colombia should curb competition concerns in fixed and, especially, mobile markets, which are very concentrated. The chapter outlines a series of measures that should be put in place such as removing barriers to network infrastructure deployment, promoting the consumer interest and calls for a reduction in the sector’s tax burden and a reform in how the ICT Fund (FONTIC) is funded.