Chapter 8. Regional integration

This chapter covers broadband access and regional integration. It addresses how broadband policy makers and regulators can benefit from closer regional co-ordination by sharing experiences, setting common principles or through harmonisation, if that is justified by economics of scale. Good practices to promote infrastructure deployment are also discussed, as well as competition and international connectivity among countries in the region and farther afield. Finally, the discussion turns to the question of how broadband access policy makers can advance regional integration, by responding to the challenges and opportunities of the developments in international mobile roaming and the Internet of Things (IoT).


Regional integration can be defined as the process of increasing social and economic relations among the countries in a given geographical area. This relates to broadband policies in two different ways. First, policies to increase broadband use and access can help regional integration, by lowering barriers for the exchange of information among businesses and people in different countries. In particular, policies for developing international broadband connectivity, through cross-border backbones and international submarine cables, and through services such as international mobile roaming, are critical tools for regional integration. Second, collaboration between policy makers and regulators in a region, through participation in policy and regulatory networks, can also be useful for improving regulatory frameworks, improving trans-border services and encouraging investment.

This chapter addresses several issues associated with regional integration in the context of broadband policy: regional co-ordination among policy and regulatory authorities, international connectivity infrastructure (both regional and international), international mobile roaming and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Broadband serves not only as a general-purpose network that can help increase regional integration, but also as an arena for public policy in which regional negotiations can be conducted and models and good practices disseminated. This chapter assesses the space it offers for regional public policy arena and the need for regional co-ordination mechanisms that can harmonise information and communication technology (ICT) and broadband public policy, regulatory frameworks and technological standards.

With broadband services, data typically flows seamlessly across national borders for business and consumers. Many applications and content are located in data centres overseas. This means that inadequate or inefficient international connectivity can become a bottleneck for broadband services, reducing the quality of service (through congestion and reduced speed) and raising the cost of the final delivery of services. The availability of international connectivity infrastructure and services (e.g. regional terrestrial backbones, international submarine cables and international gateways), and the need to encourage competition in these markets are thus key questions for policy and regulatory attention.

Internet exchange points (IXPs) are a fundamental building block for increasing local content and developing a competitive ecosystem of more affordable broadband services (OECD, ISOC and UNESCO, 2012). IXPs serve as interconnection hubs for Internet service and content providers and network operators at large. IXP participants benefit from exchanging traffic directly, rather than using transit providers to exchange traffic in foreign countries, which increases speeds and lowers the cost of the transaction. Use of IXPs can dramatically reduce the cost of Internet service supply, enabling lower prices for end users and make Internet connectivity more reliable and robust within a given country or region. An additional area for regional co-operation is in the allocation and management of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, managed by the Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Centre (LACNIC). Implementation of IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) is another issue for attention, not just for regional integration, but also for ensuring international connectivity under extended IP address schemes and helping stakeholders to tackle issues arising from the depletion of IPv4 addresses (OECD, 2014a, 2008).

In a digital and globalised economy, convenient, affordable access to telecommunications services when travelling abroad is a necessity in commercial and social exchanges. Lower prices for international roaming reinforce economic integration within the region and overseas. Regulatory measures to encourage the use of international roaming services, and especially mobile broadband access, also need to be addressed.

Finally, encouraging the deployment and use of the IoT, which is discussed in this chapter, makes it possible to extend the benefits of broadband to the physical world through machine-to-machine (M2M) interactions in a growing number of activities, such as health care, transport and agriculture. Although policies to encourage IoT development are mainly national, the area demands regional and international collaboration in policy domains such as spectrum availability, numbering, double taxation when roaming and standardisation. Economies of scale involving millions of devices are critical for innovation, investment and development.

Policy objectives in the LAC region

Policy makers and regulatory authorities should cultivate the sharing of good practices and approaches and, when possible, their experience with demonstrable outcomes. Co-ordination among LAC countries will ultimately lead to better policies and encourage economies of scale, investment and competition in the region.

In general, and in the context of regional integration, broadband policy should aim to lower barriers and increase competition for the use of cross-border broadband services, optimise cross-border data flows and develop a regional market. Common public policies should attract investment to the region, where economies of scale are in place, and improve cross-border trade.

As for international connectivity, policy goals should focus on encouraging (and funding when needed) deployment of regional terrestrial backbones, submarine cables and international gateways. Effective regional co-operation is essential for co-ordinating the effort to build international connectivity infrastructure. Countries should also aim to develop a competitive marketplace for Internet traffic exchange to meet domestic demand for Internet bandwidth and self-sufficiency in a cost-efficient way. IXPs are the key tool in this respect. Above all, competition should be encouraged and dominance issues addressed so all players can benefit from international connectivity (Chapter 4 on competition and infrastructure bottlenecks addresses issues related to dominance and regulatory measures).

Regional integration implies that a flow of people, goods and data should be efficiently facilitated across borders. In a data-dependent world, users travelling abroad and connected machines operating across borders to facilitate trade and travel should not be burdened with uncompetitive international roaming prices. Policies governing international roaming should focus on good practices, as discussed below: promoting transparency for customers and awareness of substitutes for international roaming; protecting them from inadvertently high bills (“bill shock”) and inadvertent roaming; developing trans-national roaming offers; ensuring a competitive wholesale market, and promoting competition at the retail level.

Finally, any regional integration policy should adopt a long-term perspective, preparing for future demand and emerging cross-border services. Online services tend to defy national boundaries. Given the increasing number of connected devices, including for vehicles, policy makers should anticipate future challenges and the opportunities for regional agreements as well as for national frameworks. Preparing for the future requires, for example, evaluating policy frameworks to ensure the adoption and deployment of IoT applications and services. Adequate resources (such as spectrum and number identifiers) and solutions that are flexible and that avoid lock-in are essential. The goal is to make sure IoT development is addressed in both national and regional public policy.

Tools for measurement and analysis in the LAC region

As in any other policy area, collecting data and empirical evidence is a vital part of ensuring that policies are hitting their targets and that corrective action can be taken if necessary.

In recent years, various studies have assessed the level of integration in the LAC region. Several indexes aggregate indicators measuring characteristics of the several stages of regional integration (Free Trade Areas, Customs Union, Common Market, Economic Union and Total Economic Integration).1 Work in other regions has looked at indicators to assess variations in the degree of regional free movement of people, trade, co-operation on statistical measurement, governance, industry, investment, energy and infrastructure (as in the case of the Africa Regional Integration Index [African Union, 2014]) or have focused on trade, foreign direct investment, labour mobility and finance indicators to monitor progress on regional co-operation and integration, such as those used to assess integration of firms in global value chains (OECD and World Bank, 2015) or the Asia Regional Integration Indicators Database.2

Despite these efforts, quantifying co-operation with other countries and international organisations is not a simple task. The indexes mentioned above offer a general framework for broadly considering different proxies for tracking regional integration (defined as the outcome of policy decisions). In the context of ICT/broadband policy co-operation and co-ordination, assessments for progress in regional co-operation could include:

  • Qualitative and quantitative assessment of the participation in international/regional forums and organisations, as well as the main issues discussed and policy decisions taken.

  • Periodical assessment of resources (in terms of budget and human resources) and benefits obtained (even if they cannot be quantified) to guide international activity, as well as to set priorities in the allocation of resources for different lines of work.

For international connectivity infrastructure and services, measurement could include:

  • Maintaining an inventory of existing infrastructure providing connectivity to other countries (such as submarine cables, international trunks and international gateways) and publishing aggregated data that protects the confidentiality of sensitive information from operators.

  • Monitoring traffic and prices through regular information requests to operators, complementing this with normalised benchmarking with other similar and/or leading countries. Maintaining regular contacts with operators is also useful for identifying existing bottlenecks or future needs.

Measurement of IXPs should include the following tools:

  • Data collection and benchmarking on domestic Internet bandwidth at IXPs over time relative to other countries, within the region and internationally. Measurements especially useful for supporting policy guidance are: total available capacity at the IXP, total number of connected autonomous system numbers (ASNs)3 and the number of content delivery networks (CDNs)4 hosted at the IXP.

  • Monitoring of membership fees and the conditions for participating in IXPs, to ensure a competitive and neutral interconnection platform.

  • Establishing measurement points at service providers to analyse the performance of the IXPs.

Establishing metrics to trace the progress of IPv6 adoption in the Internet is not a simple task. Over the years, many approaches and associated measurements have been used, reflecting the fact that the Internet is not a single integrated system but a collation of component subsystems, so that IPv6 measurements can be taken in any particular subsystem. The list below compiles several possible measurements, at different sub-systems and thus with a snapshot of the overall transition (OECD, 2010a):

  • Measurements using the routing system: The Internet routing table can be used to track the number of advertised routes that constitute the IPv4 Internet, and compare this with a comparable count for the number of routes in the IPv6: A complementary measure is to compare the number of unique autonomous system numbers contained in the routing table that indicate the number of entities that have IPv6 networks interconnected to the Internet. LACNIC has a portal to assist with IPv6 deployment that includes statistics for the region.5

  • Measurements using the domain-name system: The domain-name system can provide a useful measurement, since only domain names that can be resolved to an IPv6 address can be accessed. One approach is to use the most common source of popular domain names, the Alexa list, and query this set of domains over time to establish what proportion of the names have an IPv6 address. This is public information available to policy makers.6

  • Measurements using Internet traffic statistics: Another option is to look directly at traffic volumes in IPv4 and IPv6. Although most such data is generally considered to be proprietary and is not publicly released, an increasing number of Internet exchange points publish data about their volume of IPv6 traffic, to make it possible to estimate the number of adoptions over time.7 Regulators could request this type of information from IXPs.

  • Measurements of end-client capabilities: For a client end system to be able to make a connection using IPv6, all the Internet subsystems must also be able to support IPv6. One simple way of measuring the number of IPv6-capable clients is to use a dual-stack service point and offer both IPv4 and IPv6 capability. Counting the number of systems that prefer IPv6 to IPv4 provides a good indication, if the sample is large enough. Another measurement technique includes carrying out IPv6 connectivity tests with a sample of clients to determine their preferences. Both measurements are regularly carried out by some content providers8 and regional Internet registries9 and can be accessed by policy makers.

Policy making and regulatory action in the area of international roaming should also be based on evidence, such as by monitoring the evolution of prices, volumes and revenues for each roaming service, and – when available – data on real costs for international roaming services. To collect these data from operators, communications regulatory authorities must have the corresponding powers specified in the regulatory framework. Benchmarking with other countries can also identify trends and specific characteristics of national markets. Publishing costs and price comparisons should not lead to disclosure of confidential commercial information, for which aggregation of data can be considered. The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) is a useful reference on the type of measurements and indicators that can be used to monitor prices and volumes for international roaming services (Box 8.1).

Box 8.1. Measurement of International Roaming by BEREC

The European Union’s regulations on international roaming require regulatory authorities in each country to collect relevant data on the evolution of prices for international roaming services, both at the retail and the wholesale level. While the monitoring obligations are addressed to individual regulatory authorities, the European regulatory authorities agreed to co-ordinate the specific data requested from operators, as well as to compile a common unique benchmark report through the Body of European Regulators or Electronic Communications (BEREC). This gives a better picture of the evolution of international roaming volumes and prices across the EU, simplifies the process of collecting and processing data, saves resources in all regulatory authorities and applies the same data collection model, as well as simplifying the data collection efforts for operators.

Over 150 providers of international roaming services supplied information for the latest 14th BEREC Benchmark Report on International Roaming. These include virtually all of the mobile network operators in the EU (and the European Economic Area and European Free Trade Association countries), as well as a significant number of mobile virtual network organisations (MVNOs) that provide EU roaming services. The information gathered for BEREC’s report covers both retail and wholesale prices and volumes for voice, SMS and data roaming services. Each network national regulatory authority (NRA) aggregated individual provider data, to provide BEREC a national aggregate. Only national aggregated data appears in the BEREC report. This information is public and available on the BEREC website (BEREC, 2016a), which shows data produced by BEREC on the evolution of prices for international roaming data services at the European level.

Figure 8.1. Evolution of average price (EUR) per megabyte for retail EU/EEA and rest of the world (RoW)

Source: BEREC (2015a), “International Roaming BEREC Benchmark Data Report April 2014-September 2014”,

Finally, monitoring the development of IoT can be done by:

  • Using proxy measures, such as the number of SIM cards dedicated to IoT services (i.e. M2M). Despite the limitations of this approach, it provides an idea of the use of IoT and makes subscriptions aimed at traditional mobile services more relevant for the intended use (which is not possible if consumer and M2M subscriptions are bundled).

  • Keeping track of market developments and spectrum use in licensed and unlicensed frequency bands, to ensure sufficient spectrum is available to meet the increasing demand for M2M/IoT services.

Overview of the situation in the LAC region

Regional co-ordination among policy makers and regulatory authorities

The American and Caribbean region has one of the very earliest regional intergovernmental organisations in the world, the Organization of American States (OAS), which was established in 1890. The linguistic, cultural and political commonalities of Latin America and the Caribbean have inspired a significant number of attempts to increase economic, commercial and political co-operation in the region. However, the complexity and heterogeneity of the LAC region has also prompted different sub-regional co-operation and integration initiatives, with varying degrees of success. In the area of broadband policy, the multiplicity of memberships and the number of regional bodies has equally had mixed results in advancing regional integration and a common digital agenda.

In addition to international organisations with members around the world, including those with regional programmes or presence, the LAC region has several regional co-ordination bodies with some mandate over issues related to the supply and demand for broadband.10 A summary of these regional bodies and resources, with more information on their work, can be found in Table 8.1. An additional table showing the membership of these institutions appears in Annex 8.A1 of this chapter. Some of these bodies have a broader mandate and strive to establish a more integrated Latin American market in general (e.g. MERCOSUR and the Pacific Alliance). Others specifically focus on the ICT sector and a co-ordinated approach towards ICT policies (e.g. CITEL, REGULATEL).

Table 8.1. Regional bodies with mandates on telecommunications issues in the LAC region




Asociación Latinoamericana de Integración (ALADI)

ALADI is a regional organisation created in 1980 to promote a common market through preferential tariffs and regional agreements.

Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation’s Telecommunications and Information Working Group (APEC-TELCWG)

APEC is a regional forum created in 1989 to promote sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. APEC-TELWG is APEC’s Telecommunications and Information Working Group, established in 1990.


Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI)

CABEI is a regional development bank, established in 1960, to promote socioeconomic development and economic integration in Central America.

Development Bank of Latin America (CAF)

CAF is a regional development bank, created in 1970, to promote sustainable development and regional integration in Latin America.

Andean Community (CAN)

CAN is a regional organisation for integration of the Andean region created in 1969. Its telecommunication branch is executed by CAATEL, created in 1991.


Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM)

CARICOM is a regional organisation, created in 1973, to accelerate socio-economic development and establish economic relations in the Caribbean region.

Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)

CELAC is a regional organisation, created in 2011, to promote improvement in the dialogue and political agreement in Latin America and the Caribbean. Parlatino is the Latin American Parliament, created in 1964, which has been considered the Legislative Branch of CELAC since 2011.


Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL)

CEPAL is the UN Regional Commission in LAC for regional integration and UN goals. The eLAC (Digital Agenda for LAC) is its action plan on ICT issues.


Comisión Técnica Regional de Telecomunicaciones (COMTELCA)

COMTELCA is a regional organisation for technical co-operation between telecommunication regulators in Central America.

Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO)

CTO is the Commonwealth organisation focused on ICT/telecommunications issues.

Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU)

CTU is a regional organisation to facilitate the development of the regional information and ICT sector in the Caribbean.

Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL)

ECTEL is a regional regulatory body for telecommunications for Eastern Caribbean telecommunications authorities established in 2000.

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

The IDB is a regional development bank seeking to enhance development and regional co-operation in the LAC region.

Iniciativa para la Integración de la Infraestructura Regional Suramericana (IIRSA)

IIRSA is a regional body for co-operation on regional infrastructure.

Latin America and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC)

LACNIC is a nongovernment organisation responsible for assigning and administering Internet numbering resources in the LAC region.

Mercado Común del Sur (MERCOSUR)

MERCOSUR is a regional forum intended to create common commercial opportunities and regional investment in South America.

Organisation of Caribbean Utility Regulators (OOCUR)

OOCUR is a regional body whose objective is to facilitate the improvement of utility regulation and understanding of regulation in the Caribbean.

Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL)

CITEL is the OAS telecommunications and ICTs body, a regional organisation to strengthen collaboration among member states. The OAS Cyber-Security Programme on cyber-security issues works in collaboration with CITEL.

OAS Cyber Security Program

Pacific Alliance

The Pacific Alliance is a regional organisation to promote joint businesses, foreign investment and regional integration for economic growth.

Foro Latinoamericano de Entes Reguladores de Telecomunicaciones (REGULATEL)

REGULATEL is a regional organisation to promote co-ordination and co-operation between telecommunications regulatory authorities in the LAC region.

Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA)

SELA is a regional organisation whose goal is to promote a system of consultation and co-ordination for economic strategies in the LAC region.

Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA)

SICA is a regional organisation aiming to enhance regional integration in Central America.

Union of South American Nations (UNASUR)

UNASUR is a regional organisation seeking to build a space for cultural, economic, social and political regional integration in South America.

Several factors drive regional integration in the LAC countries. They include geographical proximity, engaging political leaders to help disseminate regulatory models and good practices, and the existence of the regional organisations that co-ordinate and collaborate on ICT and broadband issues. One such example recently is the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC’s) Digital Agenda for LAC (Box 8.2). Meanwhile, the global telecommunications operators present in the LAC region promote the adoption and use of good practices. The benefits of economies of scale in the region have attracted increasing attention, especially in Caribbean countries (Katz, 2013).

Box 8.2. eLAC2018 objectives related to access and infrastructure

The Economic Commission for Latin America’s Digital Agenda for Latin America and the Caribbean (eLAC2018) includes as an area of action “access and infrastructure”. The objectives of the proposed agenda are:

  • Objective 1: Scale up and achieve universal access to digital services and content production, ensuring the inclusion of vulnerable groups and mainstreaming the gender perspective in policy implementation.

  • Objective 2: Promote regional co-ordination in the allocation and efficient use of the radio spectrum to facilitate the development of telecommunications services and to take advantage of economies of scale.

  • Objective 3: Strengthen the regional and sub-regional telecommunications infrastructure by deploying fibre- optic and wireless networks, including user-centred community networks and deep-sea cables; encourage the establishment of new Internet exchange points (IXPs); and promote the installation of content distribution networks (CDNs).

  • Objective 4: Promote investment in next-generation broadband networks for substantial improvements in service capacity and quality, with a special emphasis on rural, vulnerable and isolated areas.

  • Objective 5: Support and co-operate processes to adopt digital terrestrial television (DTT) in the region.

Source: ECLAC (2015), “Digital Agenda for Latin America and the Caribbean (eLAC2018)”,

Despite the effort to increase regional co-ordination on broadband policy and to find more effective spaces for doing so in the LAC region, progress has been slow and many policy objectives remain unrealised. This is partly due to divergent national interests and political and economic approaches that favour different regulatory models. Regional initiatives for long-term broadband policy integration have lacked sustained political and financial support.

International connectivity

Despite significant improvements in the last few years, persistent gaps in LAC region’s infrastructure deployment remain, posing a major challenge to inclusive growth and the provision of public services. In communications infrastructure, the situation is no different. For historic reasons, much of the data traffic between LAC and the rest of the world, or even among LAC countries themselves, went through the United States (IDB, 2011a), notably Florida and the West Coast (Jordán, Galperin and Peres, 2013). Around 85% to 90% of communications with Europe, for example, still rely on undersea cables going to the United States, since the existing cable between Latin America and Europe is outdated and is only used for voice transmission. A public-private partnership initiative to deploy a new submarine fibre-optic cable between Europe and South America, linking Lisbon (Portugal) with Fortaleza (Brazil), is under discussion (EC, 2015).

The region has recently seen improvements, through efforts to deploy regional submarine cables, terrestrial connections and IXPs. However, the lack of competition, redundancy, high-capacity connections and shorter communication paths to and, more important, among LAC countries still constitutes a major infrastructure bottleneck for regional integration of the LAC region’s digital economy.11

There are multiple potential landing points for submarine cables in the LAC region, and only one country out of 26 with ocean access does not have a submarine cable.12 Regulatory barriers do not seem to be an impediment for additional international cable deployment. The lack of submarine cables and infrastructure may be due to the lack of financial incentives for private investment. This could justify state or region-led initiatives, including public-private partnerships to improve infrastructure deployment. Experience elsewhere suggests that increased broadband penetration and the demand for services associated with greater competition is a strong driver for the private sector to increase international cable capacity.

Initiatives have been mounted to expand the connectivity capacity and pathways of LAC countries with other regions of the world. Submarine cables have connected South America with the Pacific region (South America Pacific Link, or SAPL) Brazil and Europe (EULALINK) and Brazil and Africa (South Atlantic Express, or SAEx, South Atlantic Cable System, or SACS, and Cameroon-Brazil Cable System, CBSCS). Projects of a terrestrial fibre connecting South America and Central America, will also address this strategic infrastructure challenge.

The Caribbean region has suffered several major natural disasters in recent years, which have hampered domestic investment in telecommunications infrastructure. It does, however, have the natural advantage of its position between the two much larger markets of South America and the East Coast of the United States, which has brought a number of submarine cables that land in the region.

Some of these initiatives have been slow to progress. Terrestrial connections, for example, have faced considerably more obstacles due to co-ordination problems among countries and operators. The following section on good practices provides more details of some of these infrastructure initiatives. An overview of the regional situation follows, for other key components of international connectivity such as IXPs and CDNs.

IXPs are key elements of Internet infrastructure. According to Packet Clearing House, there are 480 Internet exchange points operating worldwide, but 84 countries do not yet have an IXP (PCH, 2015; Cisco, 2015). The number and distribution of IXPs are largely the result of the availability of demand and supply, market conditions and the policy and regulatory environment in each country.

Broadly speaking, the LAC region has a small number of large Internet service providers (ISPs), many of which are dominant operators acting as multinational regional carriers. The relatively low rate of entry of new ISPs within the region hampers the growth rate and competition in the industry overall by comparison with other regions.

Even at a time when IP transit service prices continue to decline throughout the world, significant price and performance disparities persist between primary Internet traffic hubs (such as London, Los Angeles and Miami) and those in the LAC region. Prices have fallen much more slowly, and transit is more expensive in regions that remain largely dependent on long-haul links to Europe or the United States to gain access to international connectivity. In the LAC region, many service providers still incur the high costs of transport to and from Miami for national traffic, and must set much higher prices than when using local IXPs for domestic traffic exchange. There are, however, positive signs of change.

In recent years, the South American broadband environment has seen significant improvement. Firstly, a major infrastructure building effort led by Brazil and Argentina has resulted in a total of 42 IXPs in these two countries. Secondly, the advent of content distribution networks (CDNs) at the exchange points has promoted a more active peering community, increasing the opportunities for local and regional traffic exchange. As a result, the fibre previously used in Miami for domestic traffic exchange between neighbouring countries is now used more efficiently to route international traffic to North America and Europe.

The relatively few attempts at localising traffic exchange in Central America have met with mixed success. Panama, Nicaragua and El Salvador have deployed IXPs that are either no longer active or are not growing. Belize and Guatemala have not yet attempted to form exchanges. By contrast, the ICT Ministry of Costa Rica (MICIIT), together with multiple stakeholders, as well as the regulator in Honduras, initiated IXP projects in 2014 that have led to exchanges neutrally managed by nonprofit associations. Despite the ongoing refusal of incumbents to participate in the exchange, the CRIX, for example, now has 21 participants.13

In the Caribbean, several countries have formed IXPs that have attracted enough interest to grow significantly, as in Sint Maarten (2008), Curaçao (2009) and Grenada (2011). In 2014, IXPs in Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica were built with the help of regional players like the Caribbean Telecommunication Union (CTU), Packet Clearing House (PCH) and LACNIC. Other IXP attempts in the region have had limited success, given the divergent interests of the incumbent and the major mobile players operating in the region.

Eleven LAC countries still do not have their own IXP and rely on slow, expensive international connections for internal traffic. The number of active IXPs in each country is illustrated here (Figure 8.2).

Figure 8.2. IXPs in the LAC region, by country (September 2015)

Source: OECD research on individual IXP websites; PCH (2015), Internet Exchange Directory,

Besides IXPs, CDNs have become increasingly relevant for international connectivity. By 2019, Cisco predicts that they will carry nearly two-thirds of global Internet traffic, up from 39% in 2014 (Cisco, 2015). Akamai, the leader in the content delivery sector, estimates that between 15% and 30% of the world’s web traffic is delivered today through their platform.14 In recent years, an increasing number of content providers and content delivery networks (CDNs) such as Google, Akamai and others, have been entering the markets in the LAC region by interconnecting to ISPs at existing IXPs. In the LAC region, content delivery networks currently have infrastructure deployed at IXPs in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador and Peru. In Costa Rica, discussions are ongoing with several content providers.

IXPs are an efficient way to establish direct interconnections with a large number of networks in the same location, increasing quality of service for the traffic (direct paths and low latencies). The number of CDNs participating in IXPs can be a proxy for the presence of CDNs in the region. Results show that CDNs and content operators are operating in Brazil, Argentina and Curaçao, although not in comparable proportions (Table 8.2).

Table 8.2. CDNs and IXPs in the LAC region




AMS-IX Caribbean

CABASE Buenos Aires





NAP do Brasil
























Total CDNs




Total IXPs




Note: Summary of the results for Akamai, Cloudflare, Limelight, Google, Netflix, Yahoo and Facebook, based on their own public peering records. Except for Limelight, which was not found to be active in any IXP in Latin America and the Caribbean, all other networks are present at IXPs.

Source: OECD, based on PeeringDB (2015), Peering Database,

The results on CDN deployment at IXPs in Brazil and Argentina are in line with the and Cámara Argentina de Internet (CABASE) efforts to facilitate the construction and operation of neutral IXPs in each country. As for the Caribbean, AMS-IX Caribbean, in Curaçao, seems to be the only location chosen by two CDN and content players to serve the sub-region.

Brazil stands out in the LAC region, and in the world, with its 13 CDNs connected to 27 IXPs. Most traffic to the Brazilian market should therefore be hosted in Brazil, to stimulate consumption, given that CDNs use high-speed connections to other networks via those IXPs.

International roaming

Although progress has been made in recent years, and several providers have introduced initiatives to reduce retail roaming prices, international roaming prices in the LAC region, as in many other locations, remain high and unrelated to costs. This is an area of concern for regulators in the region, prompting several studies in the region with the support of the IDB. A few LAC countries are moving to implement bilateral agreements to reduce prices for international roaming services, such as Colombia with Peru and Ecuador, and Chile, Argentina and Peru.15 An agreement in the context of the Pacific Alliance was reached between regulators in Mexico, Colombia and Chile to share information and conduct studies of roaming services in the region (REGULATEL, 2016). It is worth nothing that currently no LAC country applies price regulations for international roaming services.

Some countries in the region, such as Chile, Colombia, and Costa Rica, have regulation on blocking roaming by default, to reduce “bill shock” and inadvertent roaming. These issues have also been addressed in Chile, Peru16 and Costa Rica. In Colombia and Costa Rica, a consumption cap is set by consumers, together with SMS notification by operators when 80% of the cap is reached and a daily SMS is available informing users of incurred charges. Billing per second and per kilobyte is mandated in Chile, to avoid unfair charging. Brazil, Chile and Costa Rica have also imposed the obligation for operators to send an SMS when roaming is activated, informing users of the price of each specific service, as well as the implementation of limits for data consumption.

Apart from the preceding examples, however, most LAC countries do not have transparency and “bill shock” regulations for international roaming. The first roam-like-at home (RLAH) offers, or plans that offer such features at an additional charge, have begun to emerge in the region, but – as elsewhere – they are still very much the exception (ICR News, 2015; Murray, 2015). In addition, some of the countries included in these plans are outside the LAC region, which, while a welcome development, is ahead of including LAC countries. To date, the most notable RLAH offers have been between Mexico and the United States, though some are offered linking Costa Rica and Central American and North American countries. Experience shows that such plans emerge where competition is increasing in response to customer demand for more integrated plans that include regional roaming.

Double taxation on roaming (indirect taxes both in the visited country for wholesale services and the home country for retail services) is still an important issue in the LAC region, as are general issues on the government charges and taxation for all broadband services addressed in Chapter 6. Double taxation applies to 72% of roaming routes in Latin America (IDB and REGULATEL, 2013a). According to the GSMA, this results in price increases of up to 40% (GSMA, 2013).


The use of devices, applications and services under the terms “IoT” and “M2M communication” is expected to grow significantly around the world, as well as in the LAC region. The total number of connected devices in use globally is projected to grow from 10 billion in 2013 to anywhere from 19 billion to 40 billion by 2019 (Castillo and Thierer, 2015).

LAC countries see IoT as an emerging opportunity. Policy makers are increasingly interested in promoting and monitoring its growth, removing barriers to it and considering both consumer protection and taxation and the potential privacy and security risks. Colombia’s national regulatory agency is currently analysing technological and legal ramifications of the growth of its digital ecosystem, so that it can implement and recommend policies to increase use of IoT. Colombia has already studied mobile numbering policies, without adopting any specific measures. Brazil recently passed legislation to stimulate IoT deployment. In May 2014, a special tax regime for M2M systems without human intervention was introduced, increasing M2M connections in Brazil from 161 000 to 2.3 million in 2015 (Figure 8.3).

Figure 8.3. Number of standard and special M2M connections in Brazil (May 2014 – May 2015)

Source: ANATEL (2015), Telefonia Móvel – Acessos – Dados,

Good practices for addressing opportunities/challenges/objectives in the LAC region

Regional co-ordination among policy makers and regulatory authorities

Regional and international co-ordination among LAC policy makers and regulatory agencies can help ensure co-ordinated, consistent approaches on cross-border issues. A culture of sharing policy and regulatory approaches among peers not only leads to better policies, but can encourage investment. It can also promote agreements on issues where economics of scale might encourage investment and innovation and help formulate common LAC positions in international fora, to negotiate common LAC positions at international forums (e.g. at the UN and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN). Helping to apply common views on policy aspects can lead to a more predictable, stable regulatory framework.

Steps for enhancing the effectiveness of regional co-ordination forums might include:

  • Building stronger and more transparent organisations. A concentrated effort should be made to build stronger and more transparent organisations. The LAC region could benefit from drawing on good practices identified by international bodies. Countries should ensure their interests are reflected in the constitution of the regional co-ordination body. Stronger ownership in regional institutions will increase the benefits of membership, making a forum more stable and relevant. A careful assessment of existing bodies might reveal whether some could be merged to bundle resources and capacities.

  • Moving beyond intentions. The goal should be to set up clear action plans with concrete project outlines, timelines for action and performance indicators, supported by realistic mid-term programmes for work and budgets.

  • Identifying common problems to explore common solutions. Countries should attempt to strengthen regional co-ordination mechanisms so they can share their experiences and conduct peer reviews to identify good practices for the region.

  • Involving national experts. National experts working on policy making and/or regulatory measures should take a leading role in the analytical work of regional forums. Expert groups could meet regularly to discuss relevant issues, either physically or virtually. Relying only on a secretariat may not be feasible for regional organisations subject to budgetary constraints. Meanwhile, outsourcing work to consultants limits the benefits of sustained interaction between experts from a region’s different national authorities. The direct involvement of experts in regional co-ordination organisations helps create a strong network of peers that can play an important part in sharing common solutions and building regional integration.

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) is one example of a well-functioning regulatory forum for sharing information among regional regulatory authorities (Box 8.3).

Box 8.3. The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC)

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) is the main regulatory network in Europe bringing together national regulatory authorities (NRAs) for electronic communication services in the European Union. It helps the internal market for electronic communications networks and services develop and function more effectively. Its goal is to ensure consistent application of the European Union (EU) regulatory framework and to promote an effective internal market in telecommunications, for the benefit of both consumers and businesses.

BEREC is a key forum for sharing information among European regulatory authorities on best practices. It provides them with assistance on regulatory issues, delivers opinion on EU draft decisions, provides advice and assists European institutions. Work is conducted via expert working groups (EWGs). These focus on key regulatory issues (such as next-generation access, market and economic analysis and network neutrality) and are conducted with the collaboration of national experts. Experts meet regularly, but most of the work is done by e-mail. Small drafting teams may organise audio and videoconferences. This close interaction reinforces linkages among experts in specific areas of knowledge within Europe.

Of several working groups, the benchmarking EWG is in charge of collecting data and preparing statistics at the European level. This is useful for NRAs, as it facilitates peer and regional comparisons. Moreover, it is possible that NRAs themselves take the initiative when analysing specific regulatory issues to send questionnaires to other NRAs. Responses are aggregated and shared with the group. This is a quick and effective way of benchmarking specific issues across countries. Although some studies are commissioned by external organisations, most BEREC reports are prepared directly by experts on issues under analysis within NRAs, which helps increase collaboration between NRAs. BEREC reports are available online, and the most relevant are subjected to public consultation before they are finalised.

Source: BEREC website,

International connectivity

Encouraging investment and competition on international connectivity in the LAC region requires a broad strategic programme, involving analysis of existing and estimated capacity needs, estimating timeframe and costs for infrastructure provision, and deployment of submarine cables and terrestrial backbones. Adapting regulatory frameworks should, among other objectives, reduce regulatory and administrative barriers to encourage investment and competition. For regulatory frameworks, the following issues are worth considering:

  • Terrestrial international interconnection. A competitive environment allowing alternative operators to use existing connectivity infrastructure at reasonable rates should be encouraged, addressing dominance issues when present. If necessary, measures could be taken to implement alternative gateways, using public-private partnerships and setting open access conditions for all actors, with the monitoring of regulatory authorities.

  • Submarine cables. Considerations similar to those for terrestrial interconnections apply to submarine cables. The existence of alternative connections is crucial, especially in the case of the Caribbean, where submarine cables are vital for providing international connectivity. As is the case for terrestrial backbones, dominance issues should be addressed through regulatory measures to ensure access to submarine cables. Introducing redundancy to cope with cable failures and public funding when needed should also be considered.

  • Internet interconnection (peering and transit). A market-led environment is preferable for Internet interconnection, and regulation for access operators is not in general recommended in this area, but intervention could be justified if competition problems are detected and competition law is not enough to address these problems successfully (see Chapter 4 on competition and infrastructure bottlenecks). Regular monitoring of the market and eliciting stakeholders’ feedback is key information for formulating regulatory decisions as necessary.

  • International termination rates. When possible, market-led approaches are preferable in dealing with international termination rates. These should be monitored by regulatory authorities, and regulation may be needed to avoid high termination rates that are not related to costs. Letting innovative businesses reduce communication costs can increase trade, develop service industries and enhance competitiveness. Conversely, policies aiming to raise payments from foreign carriers by increasing international termination rates may have the undesirable effect of reducing competitiveness and trade, and even reduce termination revenue, because it suppresses demand (OECD, 2014b).

Infrastructure deployment connecting multiple countries requires co-ordination between stakeholders. Installing regional fibre cables (whether terrestrial or submarine) can be carried out in the context of bilateral or multilateral agreements, although regional organisations can play a key role in facilitating dialogue. Extending broadband infrastructure is the key to increasing investment, competition and demand.

Policy makers seeking to strengthen projects on regional connectivity should, in general:

  • advance actions to improve feasibility studies and other scoping projects in order to attract different sources of financing

  • ensure that these projects are contracted and conducted in a transparent and open manner, setting up a fair and competitive environment for all operators

  • streamline co-ordination between the national institutions responsible for governmental decisions, particularly among ministries of Communication/Infrastructure and ministries of Planning/Economy.

Several projects of this nature are under way or in the planning phase in the LAC region. In Central America, the Autopista Mesoamericana de la Información (AMI) project aims to connect Central-American countries from Guatemala to Panama (Box 8.4).

Box 8.4. The Mesoamerican Information Highway (AMI)

The Mesoamerican Information Highway (AMI) is an initiative launched in January 2015 to connect six Central-American countries (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama) with 1 800 kilometres (km) of high-capacity fibre. The network is being deployed using passive infrastructure of the Electric Interconnection Central American System (Sistema de Interconexión Eléctrica de América Central, or SIEPAC), so as to save resources. The initiative has been completed and is part of the broader framework of the Mesoamerican Project, launched in 2008, which seeks to strengthen regional integration and promote economic and social development in the region.

The AMI initiative was co-ordinated by COMTELCA, financed by the IDB, CABEI, CAF and CEPAL, and is being executed by REDCA (Red Centroamericana de Fibras Ópticas), a public-private partnership. The initiative was planned in two phases, the first integrating the backbone of Central America and then, in a second phase, connecting it to Mexico, Colombia and to national networks, and includes three components: fibre backbone connecting the main cities in the region; complementary fibre connecting other cities to the backbone stations, and IXPs in each country.

Source: Proyecto Mesomerica website,

In South America, the design of a fibre-optic “ring” is being carried out within the framework of a broader infrastructure integration plan for the region supported by COSIPLAN, which plans to connect 13 countries (Box 8.5).

Box 8.5. Connecting South America


The South-American Connectivity Network for Integration (or Red de Conectividad Suramericana para la Integración) aims to integrate the fibre networks of South American countries, to guarantee safer, more efficient and less costly traffic in the region. The initiative is intended to connect the 13 countries of South America. When completed, it should extend over 10 000 km. It also hopes to attract servers and data centres to increase the production and sharing of local content in the region.

The project is led by the Working Group on Telecommunications of COSIPLAN (Consejo Suramericano de Infraestructura y Planeamiento), the co-ordinating council responsible for implementing the objectives of infrastructure integration of Union of South American Nationals (UNASUR), and assisted by the IIRSA (Iniciativa para la Integración de la Infraestructura Regional Suramericana), the technical forum for physical integration of COSIPLAN.

An initial segment of the regional connectivity initiative was inaugurated in June 2013, connecting the municipality of Santana do Livramento in Brazil to Riviera in Uruguay, through a partnership between Brazil’s Telebrás and Uruguay’s ANTEL. The remaining segments are being studied by a UNASUR partnership with the Corporación Andina de Fomento.


Internexa is a subsidiary of the Colombian Electric Company, ISA (owned 51% by the Colombian government), and aims to be the regional backbone of the LAC region. It is currently operating the first open network to support IPv6 and connect six countries (Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil) with 29 000 km of fibre deployed over electric grids and access to seven submarine cable landing points.

Source: Internexa website,

The establishment and operation of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) is largely market-driven and led by the private sector. Internet service providers and network operators usually decide the location and the conditions upon which they interconnect and exchange traffic. Governments have not traditionally been involved in the construction of IXPs, but in recent years, they have taken a pro-active role in creating and enabling an environment conducive to the emergence of IXPs. This trend has been particularly true in the LAC region, in which many countries have a small number of players with limited incentives to compete.

In some cases, particularly in countries without an IXP, governments can play an important role in stimulating dialogue among the different market players: network operators, ICT businesses and providers, universities and government agencies (Box 8.6).

Box 8.6. Governments’ role in promoting dialogue

Regulators in Latin America and the Caribbean have had success in facilitating a policy dialogue forum among Internet service providers and other actors in the highly competitive sector of telecommunications.

In Costa Rica, the telecommunications ministry, along with other stakeholders, including the regulator, initiated a project in 2014 to establish an IXP. One of its early achievements was to identify the national domain registry, NIC.CR, as a neutral entity responsible for administering and operating the IXP. Once this had been determined, the stakeholders handed over responsibility for the process, but remained part of the project, as NIC.CR drew up its agenda. Several roundtables and meetings with the potential IXP participants then decided on the location and policies of the IXP. A year later, the IXP was operational, including 21 participants, including domain-name system root zone services. The only remaining task, currently under negotiation, is to connect the incumbent’s network to the exchange point, which could be accomplished by designing a requirement for players successful in receiving Universal Service Fund (USF) funding.

In Honduras, the national telecommunications regulator has also taken a leading role in facilitating dialogue among industry players to build the necessary trust among them. In 2014 and 2015, several stakeholder meetings with national players and international experts from LACNIC and Packet Clearing House (PCH) have resulted in the establishment of an IXP in Tegucigalpa. The regulator is now analysing which entity can operate the exchange to hand over the responsibility.

In Colombia, the national communications regulator, CRC, and the National Planning Department (DNP) are reviewing the state of traffic exchange and IXPs in the country. Currently, it has only one significant IXP (Network Access Point Colombia in Bogotá), which has a relatively low volume of traffic and is only open to ISPs. In addition, it charges a high member fee. The CRC published a recent report (CRC, 2015) in which it acknowledged this situation and noted that it is investigating ways of increase network efficiency in the country. It concluded that more open and efficient traffic models are necessary and that regional approaches should be considered. It also noted that players in the Internet value chain rather than the government should take the lead and that solutions should be developed through a multi-stakeholder approach. A public consultation was launched to solicit the views of stakeholders in the country.

Sources: (Costa Rica); CONATEL (Honduras); CRC (Colombia).

In some LAC countries, despite the existence of IXPs, the number of service providers connecting to the IXPs is limited. In such cases, it is good regulatory practice to remove artificial barriers such as high entry fees, or to require that members of the IXP have an international licence. In other cases, incumbents have declined to participate in the exchange point, stalling efforts to establish an IXP. It is not advisable to force players to use domestic IXPs, but rather, to create an environment where the benefit for those connecting becomes increasingly evident to all players.

Governments should also promote national and regional dialogue between Internet service providers and other stakeholders by encouraging seminars and forums with national and international experts to promote the benefits of IXPs (Box 8.7).

Box 8.7. The Caribbean ICT Roadshow

Since 2009, the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) has conducted a continuous travelling “ICT Roadshow” promoting telecommunications self-sufficiency and local production in each of the countries in the region. Such initiatives have helped governments and regulators understand the nexus of routing economics and regulatory policy. It has also prompted governments to take a more informed and active role in developing the telecommunications industry and digital economy.

Workshops, forums and educational activities organised as part of the roadshow aim to build capacity in technical and regulatory policy areas, and increase awareness of the role of IXPs in economic and social growth. The initiative aims to cultivate a spirit of innovation in developing ICT-based practical solutions, to raise awareness and to harmonise efforts to adopt ICT solutions for inclusive economic and social development. CTU is working collaboratively with its members, partners and other interested organisations and institutions, such as the regional Internet registry, LACNIC, and Packet Clearing House (PCH). The aim is to design a programme that demonstrates the transformative power of ICT innovation.

Sources: Caribbean Telecommunication Union website (; Connected Caribbean CarPIF Forum (

Without a critical mass at the IXP, CDNs and content operators have little incentive to deliver traffic directly to the exchange point. Measures to facilitate the interconnection of new participants at the IXP, such as incentives to deploy fibre terminations or general subsidies to compensate for the initial operational expenditure might be considered to support the initial phase of the exchange. However, the costs of establishing IXPs are modest and members can quickly recoup their investment in the lower costs. This is why the most successful ISPs are voluntary and industry-driven (Box 8.8). Lack of an IXP generally points to insufficient competition.

Box 8.8. Some examples of good practices in IXP governance in the LAC region

The Cámara Argentina de Internet (CABASE), the Argentinean Internet services industry association, founded the first Latin American IXP in Buenos Aires in 1998. Today, it operates a nation-wide network of 15 exchanges, with 12 planned over the next few years. Participants joining one exchange are required to peer with all CABASE participants. This strategy provides an incentive to use the IXP for small and medium players, facilitating growth and decentralisation in the sector at the expense of larger players. In June 2015, CABASE reported that 68% of the total network capacity is available in Buenos Aires, leaving 32% of the country, a vast geographical scope, yet to be covered.

The Brazilian Internet Steering Committee or (Comitê Gestor da Internet no Brasil) is a public-private partnership funded principally by revenue from domain-name registrations within the .BR country-code top-level domain. One of its flagship projects is the PTTMetro (Punto de Troca de Trafego, or traffic exchange point) which promotes and co-ordinates the creation of IXPs in the country. From 4 IXPs in 2006 to 27 in 2015, Brazil now interconnects 3 493 networks. Of these, 25.3% use the largest regional exchange point, the PTTMetro São Paulo, in São Paulo state, which leads the expansion of the Internet market in Latin America.

In April 2014, Mexico was the final OECD country to establish an Internet exchange point, though much of its domestic traffic is still being exchanged in the United States, Latin America or Europe. The first neutral Internet exchange was set up in Mexico’s Federal District by the Corporación Universitaria para el Desarrollo de Internet (CUDI), the Mexican National Research and Education Network. In 2016, there are prospects of building other IXP facilities in Guadalajara, Querétaro and Monterrey, which could improve performance and lower costs.

Sources: CABASE website (; website (; CITI (

Neutral Internet exchange points with good governance and following best operational practices will attract CDN players. As with any other network, content providers and CDNs select their interconnection locations according to a number of criteria. Besides the cost-benefit advantages, the neutrality of the IXPs also plays a role, since networks interconnected there can be certain that the IXP is operated with good governance and transparency.

The introduction of IXPs creates opportunities to develop content and services hosted by local data centres. First, high-speed, low-latency connections among ISPs improve the quality of service for transit of local content inside the country. Secondly, ISPs have a strong economic incentive to access local content, exchanging traffic through peering agreements without having to pay for expensive international transit.

The availability of local data centres also provides an incentive for IXP deployment. Promoting deployment of local and neutral datacentres is the key for encouraging growth in the local content industry and this, in turn, encourages further deployment of IXPs, allowing for the reduction of international transit to access content. In sum, IXP deployment and the development of local data centres are interrelated, and policies to foster IXPs and local data centres should be co-ordinated.

With the emergence of CDNs, the structure and organisation of Internet networks has changed for some players in recent years from a hierarchical model to a flatter one. The incorporation of specialised intermediary networks delivering content is the key factor in this transformation. Large content operators increasingly use CDNs to reach their customers in a cost efficient way. Content operators and CDNs have to interconnect with other networks to exchange traffic. The physical locations, number and types of interconnections are critical elements for the CDNs, because they influence their ability to deliver their customers’ traffic in the most cost-effective way.

CDN interconnection at IXPs is beneficial for both the participating networks and the CDN. First, IXPs aggregate individual demand, so that it becomes financially and technically viable for CDNs to provide direct interconnection. Second, traffic accessed locally improves the user experience, with lower latencies, and also reduces the average per-bit delivery cost for the networks. Third, the network effect produced at the IXP by several ISPs accessing popular content improves the efficiency of the CDN (multiple downstream, with just one upstream). Regulators should also monitor CDNs to identify barriers to competition and potential dominant positions and abuses by global CDN players.

Successfully run IXPs can become regional references for IP-related connectivity services. LINX, AMS-IX and DEC-IX are regional hubs for Europe and bring together a large number of networks with regional coverage. In practice, IXPs become regional, as networks find them efficient and cost effective, and grow as the market develops. In the LAC region, the PTT Metro of São Paulo has the largest concentration of networks (local, national and regional) and traffic exchange on the continent. Other IXPs also aim to become attractive to regional players, such as NAP CABASE in Buenos Aires and the Mexican IXP.

International mobile roaming

International roaming services offer convenience and productivity for those travelling abroad. In the context of social and economic globalisation, not to mention regional and international integration, international roaming has become increasingly important. This is especially true for broadband access when roaming in other countries, as the use of smartphones and growing requirements of online applications become ubiquitous.

Extensive work has been done by the OECD on good policy and regulatory practices on international roaming (OECD, 2010b, 2011, 2013b, forthcoming a). The IDB, in collaboration with the Foro Latinoamericano de Entes Reguladores de Telecomunicaciones (REGULATEL) has produced a large number of reports, listed in the section on documents and references for good practices. Of the work done by the OECD, the recommendation of the Council on International Roaming Services summarises key good practices in this area (OECD, 2012b).

LAC countries should take an active role in improving consumer education and protection and promoting consumer awareness of prices, functionality and substitutes for roaming services (such as Wi-Fi, acquisition of SIM cards in the countries visited, and use of VoIP applications), so consumers may select the best option for them.

Policy makers and regulators should encourage domestic communication providers to make information on prices and features available. Collaboration with consumer organisations to disseminate information on alternatives and price comparisons may also be useful. Finally, regulators and policy makers can also take an active role in providing such information to consumers on their websites, as well as providing information to consumers in the media. The information provided to consumers by the Office of Communications (Ofcom), the British regulator,17 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)18 on their website, as well as video information provided by CRC, the Colombian regulator, to consumers19 are good examples. ComReg, Ireland’s regulatory authority, has created a simple tool to help consumers predict their expenses20 .

Usage of mobile data services is in general difficult to estimate. Relatively simple tables and tools can be developed to help consumers estimate consumption of data services, based on simpler parameters such as browsing webpages, music downloading, minutes of video streaming or number of e-mails accessed while travelling abroad, such as the one developed by AT&T21 .

Awareness of roaming prices can also be reinforced by requesting operators to send an SMS to consumers when roaming is activated, informing them about prices in the visited country, as Brazil, Mexico and Chile have started to do. Experience shows that this, while not necessarily reducing prices, allows consumers to make more informed choices and can be implemented rapidly by network operators.

In many situations, especially for data services, consumers are not aware of the costs they are incurring when using international roaming services. Given the relatively high prices, this may inadvertently result in high bills when travelling abroad. “Bill shock” prevention measures can help consumers to set limits on their consumption (typically in monetary terms, as is the case in Colombia) and setting default limits applicable to all consumers (as in the European Union). Such measures usually include notifications when a certain consumption threshold is reached (typically 80% of the limit). “Bill shock” measures resulting from the decision on international roaming (Box 8.9) have been implemented by all European countries, allowing customers to better control their consumption.

Box 8.9. Inadvertent roaming in the European Union

Regulation of inadvertent roaming in the European Union

Regulation No 531/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 June 2013 on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the European Union states in its Article 14.4: “Roaming providers shall make available information to their customers on how to avoid inadvertent roaming in border regions. Roaming providers shall take reasonable steps to protect their customers from paying roaming charges for inadvertently accessed roaming services while situated in their home Member State”.

Source: European Parliament (2012), Regulation No 531/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 June 2013 on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union,

Measures taken by operators in the European Union to protect customers against inadvertent roaming

  • co-ordination with neighbouring operators to plan the radio network, as well as optimising location and power in border areas

  • offering customers the possibility of explicitly requesting to block the use of networks in neighbouring countries, to avoid inadvertent roaming

  • use of border roaming gateways to prevent registration on foreign networks where home coverage is available

  • information about being connected to a foreign network in the start page for customers when using data roaming services

  • offering specific tariffs with relevant discounts for neighbouring countries if an operator has a footprint from another operator that is part of the same group

  • checking the terminal regularly to verify if the home public mobile network (HPMN) is available and if so, redirecting it to the home site

  • sending customers e-mails when abnormally high use is detected, and/or refunding inadvertent roaming charges on a case-by-case basis.

Source: BEREC (2013, 2015a, 2015b, 2016a).

Citizens living in border areas must be protected from inadvertent roaming, and policy makers should encourage operators to offer tariffs adapted to the use of mobile services in the border areas. Inadvertent roaming issues in the LAC area, as well as best practices applied in the region, are the subject of a study by the IDB and REGULATEL (IDB and REGULATEL, 2013b). The report’s recommendations are a good reference for regulators and operators. In general, inadvertent roaming can be prevented by co-ordinating frequencies, location of base stations, allowing consumers to block roaming and the use of border gateways. Regulators may also publish specific regulations to ensure that operators take reasonable steps to avoid inadvertent roaming in border regions. As the technical measures to be taken may vary and evolve depending on technical evolution and standardisation of roaming features, general provisions combined with regular monitoring are usually enough to ensure that inadvertent roaming is effectively addressed by operators (Box 8.9).

Additionally, policy makers should look into options that help reduce prices for international roaming. International roaming is a sophisticated service involving networks from at least two countries as well as signalling, transmission, billing and customer care co-ordination. Although this complexity may result in costs somewhat higher than domestic services, prices paid by consumers not only in the LAC region, but in most of the world, usually force consumers to pay much higher prices than the underlying costs of providing the service. High prices for roaming services inhibit its use, discouraging social and economic exchanges among countries and regional integration.

A first reason for these high prices is the lack of competition at the retail level for roaming services. Roaming services are sold in a bundle with domestic services, and the relative weight of roaming services in the bundle is low, making it less likely that those who do not travel frequently will choose their mobile network operator based on prices for international roaming.

In an increasingly global world, however, people are travelling more and more, and use of broadband mobile access is increasing (for access to mail, social networks, maps, etc.). Consumers are starting to become more sensitive to international roaming prices, and specific offers for international roaming at local prices in all regions, including the LAC, area are gaining momentum, as operators have identified a market opportunity in this area (Box 8.10). Although the number of “Roam Like at Home” (RLAH) offers in the LAC region are still few, and mainly based on add-ons to be paid by consumers, in the future this type of offer will probably increase.

Box 8.10. “Roam Like at Home” (RLAH) offers in the LAC region


Since July 2015, Telcel has offered its post-paid customers local prices for traveling in the United States and Canada, paying about USD 3 per month (MXN 50 per month, tax included) to use voice, SMS and data. From June 2015, Telefónica has offered unlimited calls/SMS in Mexico, the United States and Canada and a shared data communication allowance in the United States, starting at about USD 12 per month.

El Salvador

In August 2015, Tigo started to offer RLAH plans with unlimited voice/SMS and shared local data communication allowance, valid for the United States and seven LAC countries, starting at USD 24.99 per month.

Central America

In April 2015 in Central American countries (Panama, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua), the mobile operator Claro started to offer RLAH plans based on add-on monthly payments valid among these Central American countries. In November 2015, the plan was expanded to include Canada and the United States.

Sources: Operators’ websites.

Some market actors, such as Apple22 or Xiaomi23 , are introducing virtual SIMs that allow for convenient use of international roaming services without changing the SIM card in the terminal device. In the future, virtual SIMs can exert competitive pressure on traditional operators. More generally, the GSMA’s Embedded SIM Specification provides a single, de-facto standard mechanism for the remote provisioning and management of M2M connections, allowing the “over the air” provisioning of an initial operator subscription, and the subsequent change of subscription from one operator to another. There are trials underway to use this technology for which the GSMA sees many beneficial aspects (GSMA, 2016).

These SIM developments should be monitored to ensure that there are no regulatory barriers for their use, to increase competition. Where such services are available, they are offered in co-operation with operators in those markets. Operators are free to set wholesale or retail prices depending on whether the service is sold directly to an incoming roamer or via wholesale offers to an intermediary, such as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), using agreements negotiated by their home mobile network operator (MNO).

A second reason for high prices for international roaming services is the high prices for wholesale services. A high wholesale price for roaming services in a visited country sets a high minimum level for retail prices. The market for international roaming services is far from perfect, as the number of operators selling these services is limited and affected by bilateral issues (buyers and sellers often exchange traffic). Lack of price transparency is also a factor. However, competition for wholesale services has improved in recent years, due to the availability of steering techniques and the increasing demand for data services, reducing prices at least in markets where there is price monitoring, as in the European Union.

To ascertain whether retail roaming prices are justified, regulators need to be aware of the wholesale prices in the countries visited. This can only be accomplished if regional regulators agree to obtain and share information. By monitoring wholesale prices, regulators can apply pressure on mobile network operators to reduce retail roaming prices. Since there is little competitive pressure on international wholesale termination rates in many countries, a significant reduction in roaming prices may require co-ordinated regulatory intervention at a regional level. Any price regulation measure should consider a wide body of evidence in setting the level of retail and wholesale price caps, ensuring consistency of both caps, and especially that no margin squeeze arises.

One relevant issue to consider is the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) principle of the WTO General Agreement for Trade in Service (GATS). The MFN principle means, in essence, that countries should not discriminate among the services and services suppliers of other members, so that any country granting more favourable conditions to another country (as would be the case for an agreement to cap prices for wholesale services) should extend this more favourable treatment to third countries. The MFN principle may be waived in some cases, if an adequate Free Trade Agreement (FTA), for example, exists between two or more countries.

The European Union offers the best example of a multilateral agreement on the regulation of international roaming. Its aim was not only to reduce high prices for intra-European roaming, but to build an internal market in Europe. The European legislators have imposed common regulations on all EU members. A whole set of regulatory measures aims to address issues such as transparency, bill shock, inadvertent roaming, as well as wholesale and retail prices. The next regulatory round in June 2017 will abolish intra-European roaming charges, when a transition period in force since June 2015 ends, subject to fair-use policy and sustainability. European consumers will then be able to benefit from domestic prices when roaming in any country of the European Union.

Another interesting reference for the LAC region is the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which implemented an agreement using price caps with price reductions staggered over 2010 and 2011. The agreement, which was fully implemented by February 2012 and which covers price regulation for outgoing roaming calls, resulted in price reductions of up to 70%. The GCC Roaming Working Group is proposing to extend the existing regulation to cover incoming calls, SMS and mobile data roaming (see OECD, 2013 for more detailed information on bilateral and multilateral agreements). Australia and New Zealand agreed in February 2013 to regulate high trans-Tasman mobile roaming rates through a bilateral agreement, and released a joint report that recommended that the regulators in both countries be provided with the authority to co-operate and to intervene in the international mobile roaming (IMR) market. This would allow regulators to apply price caps on wholesale and retail roaming charges, regulated terms of access and mobile-local access services (MBIE and Australian Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, 2013).

Many of the LAC countries are members of regional organisations, have signed trade agreements within the area (e.g. Mercosur or CARICOM) or have included countries in other regions (such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP) that could be used as platforms for multilateral agreements. The Mercado Comun do Sul (Mercosur) and the TPP are addressing international roaming issues, with the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement explicitly considering regulation of wholesale roaming services (Box 8.11).

Box 8.11. International Roaming in MERCOSUR/MERCOSUL and the TPP


MERCOSUR/MERCOSUL is a common market (Southern Common Market: Mercado Comun do Sul) based on the Treaty of Asunción, signed by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay on 26 March 1991. Its aim is to promote free trade of goods, services and production inputs.

A project initiated by MERCOSUR, whose member states are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela, is attempting to address the issue of roaming in border areas between members. The MERCOSUR and the 2010 Citizenship Statute aims to consolidate rights and benefits for citizens of these countries. About 15 million people live in remote border areas between the countries, where incomes are generally low. Intense cross-border movement and a certain level of commercial integration have created an identified problem with roaming, in particular inadvertent roaming. The 2010 Citizenship Statute stipulates reduced prices for fixed and mobile communications among MERCOSUR member states, including roaming services. The intent is to extend Resolution 66/97, which requires that fixed service calls in border areas be charged as local calls, whether or not they originate in cities from different countries. This “charge as a local call” rule for wireless telecommunications in border areas is expected to be achieved chiefly by network infrastructure sharing. The limitation in the fixed-call context is that the connections must cover distances of less than 50 km as the crow flies.

Source: OECD (2013).

Trans-Pacific Partnership

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim countries (including Chile, Mexico and Peru) on a variety of economic policy issues. It was reached on 5 October 2015, after seven years of negotiations. The agreement’s stated goal was to “promote economic growth; support the creation and retention of jobs; enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness; raise living standards; reduce poverty in our countries; and promote transparency, good governance, and enhanced labour and environmental protections”.

The telecommunications provisions in Article 13.6 of the TPP trade pact explicitly address international roaming issues. They note their relevance for promoting trade among the parties, the need for transparency and competition and the possibility of co-operation among countries in the partnership on regulating wholesale roaming services.

Source: Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement,

Finally, attention should be paid to cases where double taxation affects international roaming prices. This when the government in a visited country taxes wholesale services provided to foreign operators, and the government in the home country taxes retail international roaming services, using the wholesale services that have already been taxed. This increases the prices for international roaming even more than taxes applied for domestic services.

The IDB-REGULATEL report (IDB and REGULATEL, 2013a) analysed different regulatory options that could be applied to solve the issue of double taxation, ranging from bilateral/multilateral agreements among countries to tax exemptions and reclassification of wholesale international roaming services as exported services. In any case, discussion on co-ordinating measures at regional forums is advised, to prevent double taxation. This would encourage regional trade and social exchanges among countries in the LAC region, as well as with countries in other regions.


In recent years, the ITU,24 OECD (2012a, forthcoming b)25 and BEREC (2016b) have examined potential initiatives and approaches to IoT services to identify barriers to their deployment, and have produced work aimed at ensuring competition, interoperability and consumer benefits. A growing number of regulatory authorities are also considering these issues. Some good practices in this area include:

  • Ensuring that spectrum is readily available for IoT services. While most regulatory bodies do not consider spectrum availability to be a major barrier to the development of the IoT in the short term, more spectrum may be needed in the longer term to cope with the increasing demand of IoT traffic. Some regulators, such the United Kingdom’s Ofcom, are taking steps to make additional spectrum available and to monitor its use to predict significant changes in spectrum demand in the long term (Box 8.12).

  • Ensure adequate numbering space for the emergence of IoT services. The identifiers used for IoT applications in public networks are E.164 (e.g. MSISDN) and E.212 (IMSI) numbers, as well as IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. In the short and medium term, E.164 and E.212 numbers will continue to be used to identify IoT entities, and regulators should make sure the numbering space can accommodate future growth. In the long term, however, the use of IPv6 might become the preferred solution, and regulators should encourage the migration of service providers to IPv6.

  • Adapt numbering policies to ensure effective competition and avoid lock-in. Some IoT applications might require the operation of millions of IoT devices. A major issue for competition is consumers’ ability to switch between connectivity service providers. A potential solution, already adopted in the Netherlands and being introduced by Belgium, is to reform the numbering policies to allow large-scale IoT users to be directly allocated E.212 identifiers (IMSI numbers) effectively becoming Private Virtual Network Operators (OECD, 2015).

  • Ensuring that existing policies do not hinder development of the IoT. Existing regulations in sectors such as tax, health or transport could impede the adoption of innovative approaches such as smart-metering, remote health monitoring or self-driving vehicles. Some countries are also adapting their tax policies to provide incentives for IoT services, to encourage mass adoption (Box 8.13). Another way to encourage the adoption of IoT is to facilitate experimental programmes in innovative topics. Allowing experimental temporary licences and numbering could reduce the regulatory burden for research and development of new services.

Box 8.12. Ofcom’s experience in the UK of spectrum management for the IoT

In the United Kingdom, Ofcom is responsible for the efficient management of radio spectrum, including assessing future demands for spectrum and the mechanisms by which it can be made available for a range of uses. In a recent report, “Promoting investment and innovation in the Internet of Things”, the regulator analysed the role of spectrum as an enabler for the IoT market in the United Kingdom and offered the following insights:

  • IoT networks will use a range of technologies and spectrum options. The diversity of applications and their requirements (e.g. range and penetration, power consumption, throughput, number of supported devices) are likely to require a range of technologies (e.g. GSM, LTE, SIGFOX, Weightless, ZigBee, WiFi, Bluetooth) and spectrum bands.

  • Spectrum availability is unlikely to be a barrier to the development of IoT in the short to medium term. However, spectrum continues to be a key enabler for the IoT, and Ofcom has made available licence-exempt access to the band at 870 megahertz (MHz) and 915 MHz. It has also proposed to allow high duty-cycle network relay stations to operate on a light licensed basis in the 870-873 MHz band.

  • More spectrum may be required in the long term as the IoT matures. Later generations of IoT devices are likely to transmit greater volumes of data if significant demand for video-based services emerges. Some suggestions raised were to accommodate an IoT allocation as part of any future release of spectrum at 700 MHz, additional spectrum for licence-exempt use below 1 gigahertz and greater use of spectrum on a shared basis.


Box 8.13. Brazil’s use of tax breaks to boost adoption of M2M

In May 2014, the Brazilian Government Decree 8/234/2014 created a new category of special M2M connections for “systems without human intervention” that would benefit from a special tax regime. The decree reduced two fees in the Telecommunications Inspection Fund (FISTEL): the Installation Inspection Tax (TFI), which is charged when a SIM is first activated, and the Operation Inspection Fee (TFF), an annual charge on each active SIM. This is the equivalent of a combined reduction of 80% of the previous tax.

The FISTEL tax has been applied to all telecommunications equipment since the General Telecommunications Law was passed in 1999. Brazil does not have a single VAT, since the country operates on a multiple rate and indirect tax system. Each of the 26 states and Federal District have their own legislation and indirect taxes. FISTEL is just one of the tax regimes, but in this complex scenario, any tax cut can have a very dramatic effect.

According to M2M data published by the regulatory body ANATEL, Brazil now has approximately 11 million M2M connections, the fourth-highest in the world and the largest by far in Latin America. Of these, 2.3 million are special M2M connections and 8.7 million are standard M2M connections. The rapid growth of connections between May 2014, when the decree took effect, and July 2015 shows impressive growth in the “special” category, from 161 000 to 2.3 million; while “standard” connections have fallen from 8.8 million to 8.7 million.

One question that has inspired debate is how to separate M2M involving human intervention and M2M that does not, for example for environmental sensors, car control systems or home appliances. The law defines the scope of M2M as “those devices that, without human intervention, use telecommunication networks to transmit data to remote applications, with the objective to monitor, measure and control that same device, the environment around or data systems connected to it by this network”. Some analysts suggest that applying the tax break to all M2M applications will remove the uncertainty over which services qualify and which do not, to continue to boost momentum in the sector.

Source: ANATEL (2015), Telefonia Móvel – Acessos – Dados, Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações,

Policy considerations that prepare LAC countries for the future, whether on IoT or convergent services (as discussed in Chapter 7), should aim to ensure that existing and evolving connectivity and usage gaps continue to be mitigated. IoT has the potential to contribute to broader policy objectives such as public health, energy and water management (through smart grids), and environmental monitoring (addressed in Chapter 1); and to maximise the dividends of ICTs throughout LAC economy and society.


This chapter covered such aspects of regional integration as regulatory and policy regional co-ordination, international connectivity, international mobile roaming and the IoT. Policy makers and regulators in LAC countries should seek to share their experiences, common principles and harmonised rules, when feasible and justified. The region would benefit from closer regional co-ordination and integration.

Governments, in co-ordination with regulatory agencies, should take an active role in promoting and funding national, regional and international backbone and wireless infrastructures under open and competitive processes. Increasing competition and lowering prices for international connectivity, such as internalising national traffic via IXPs, should be a priority, to increase the quality of broadband service.

Consumer protection measures to protect consumers from bill shock and inadvertent international mobile roaming charges should be enforced. Monitoring prices, complemented by regulatory action if necessary, is also advisable.

Policy makers should encourage the development of new services, such as the IoT, removing administrative barriers and ensuring that numbering or spectrum are not a hindrance for future development. Migration of service providers to IPv6 should be encouraged and supported.


African Union (2014), “Africa Regional Integration Index”, Working Document presented at the 7th Conference of African Ministers in Charge of Integration, 14-18 July 2014, Swaziland,

Akamai (2015), Visualizing Global Internet Performance, Akamai, (accessed on 13 October 2015).

ANATEL (2015), Telefonia Móvel – Acessos – Dados, Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações,

Balassa, B. (1961), The Theory of Economic Integration, George Allen & Unwin, London.

BEREC (2016a), “International Roaming BEREC Benchmark Data Report April-September 2015”, BoR, No. 16, Vol. 28, Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications, Riga,

BEREC (2016b), “Enabling the Internet of Things”, BoR, No. 16, Vol. 39, Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications, Riga,

BEREC (2015a), “International Roaming BEREC Benchmark Data Report April 2014-September 2014”, BoR, No. 15, Vol. 29, Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications, Riga,

BEREC (2015b), “International Roaming BEREC Benchmark Data Report October 2014-March 2015”, BoR, No. 15, Vol. 134, Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications, Riga,

BEREC (2013), “BEREC International Roaming Compliance Report”, Regulation (EU) No 531/512 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 June 2012 on Roaming, Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications, Riga,

Castillo, A. and A. D. Thierer (2015), Projecting the Growth and Economic Impact of the Internet of Things, George Mason University – Mercatus Center, Arlington, Virginia,

Cisco (2015), “The Zettabyte Era: Trends and Analysis”, Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI), Cisco, San Jose, California,

CRC (2015), “Condiciones de intercambio eficiente de tráfico de Internet”, Documento de consulta – Regulación de Infraestructura”, Comisión de Regulación de Telecomunicaciones, Bogotá,

Dorrucci, E. et al. (2002), “European Integration: What Lessons for Other Regions: The Case of Latin America”, Working Papers Series, No. 185, European Central Bank, Frankfurt,

EC (2015), “The EU-Latin America Submarine Cable: Boosting the Connection Between our Continents”, Digital Single Market News, European Commission,

ECLAC (2015), “Digital Agenda for Latin America and the Caribbean (eLAC2018)”, Fifth Ministerial Conference on the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean, Economic Commission for Latin America, Mexico City,

European Parliament (2012), Regulation No 531/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 June 2013 on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union, European Parliament, Brussels,

GSMA (2016), “Remote SIM Provisioning for Machine to Machine”, Connected Living, GSMA, London, (accessed on 1 April 2016).

GSMA (2013), Roaming Services in Latin America, GSMA, London,

ICR News (2015), “Claro announces mobile calling to United States, Canada at same rate as local calls”, Inside Costa Rica News,

IDB (2011a), El Problema de los Costes de Conectividad Internacional: Recomendaciones y Lecciones Aprendidas Inter-American Development Bank, Washington D.C.,

IDB and REGULATEL (2013a), La Doble tributación del IVA en el Roaming Internacional en la Región Américas, Inter-American Development Bank and Foro Latinoamericano de Entes Reguladores de Telecomunicaciones,

IDB and REGULATEL (2013b), Estudio sobre Roaming Fronterizo Inadvertido, Inter-American Development Bank and Foro Latinoamericano de Entes Reguladores de Telecomunicaciones,

Jordán, V., H. Galperin and W. Peres (2013), Banda Ancha en América Latina: Más Allá de la Conectividad, Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC), Santiago de Chile,

Katz, R.L. (2013), “The Emergence of Regional ICT Regulatory Spaces”, IBEI Working Papers 2013/44 Telefonica Chair Series, Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals, Barcelona,

MBIE and Australian Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (2013), Trans-Tasman roaming Final Report, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Wellington, New Zealand,

Murray, C. (2015), “Facing AT&T, America Movil pledges free roaming, $6 billion network upgrade”, Reuters,

OECD (forthcoming a), Monitoring the Council Recommendation on International Mobile Roaming, OECD Publishing, Paris.

OECD (forthcoming b), The Internet of Things: Seizing the Benefits and Addressing the Challenges, OECD Publishing, Paris.

OECD (2015), “Emerging Issues: The Internet of Things”, OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2015, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2014a), “The Economics of Transition to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6)”, OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 244, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2014b), “International Cables, Gateways, Backhaul and International Exchange Points”, OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 232, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2013), “International Mobile Roaming Agreements”, OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 223, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2012a), “Machine-to-Machine Communications: Connecting Billions of Devices”, OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 192, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2012b), Recommendation of the Council on International Mobile Roaming Services,

OECD (2011), “International Mobile Data Roaming”, OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 180, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2010a), Internet Addressing – Measuring Deployment of IPv6, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2010b), “International Mobile Roaming Services: Analysis and Policy Recommendations”, OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 168, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2008), “Internet Address Space: Economic Considerations in the Management of IPv4 and in the Deployment of IPv6”, Ministerial Background Report, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD and World Bank (2015), “Inclusive Global Value Chains: Policy Options in Trade and Complementary Areas for GVC Integration by Small and Medium enterprises and Low-Income Developing Countries”, Report prepared for submission to G20 Trade Ministers Meeting – Istanbul, Turkey, 6 October 2015,

OECD, ISOC and UNESCO (2012), The Relationship Between Local Content, Internet Development and Access Prices,

PCH (2015), Internet Exchange Directory, Packet Clearing House, (accessed on 13 October 2015).

PeeringDB (2015), Peering Database, (accessed on 13 October 2015).

REGULATEL (2016), “Acuerdo alcanzado por los entes reguladores de México, Colombia y Chile”, Noticias, Foro Latinoamericano de Entes Reguladores de Telecomunicaciones,

Xiaomi Advices (2015), “Xiaomi MIUI 7 is official in China, brings new themes and a unique roaming app”, Xiaomi Advices,

Further reading

APEC (2012), “Submarine Cable Information Sharing Project”, Reports, No. 212-TC-01.1, Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation – Telecommunications and Information Working Group, Singapore,

BEREC (2014), “BEREC Report on Transparency and Comparability of International Roaming Tariffs”, BoR, No. 14, Vol. 170, Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications, Riga,

CAF (2014), Expansión Infraestructura para la Interconexión de Tráfico de Internet América Latina, Conrporación Andina de Fomento, Caracas,

CITEL (2013) “Informe de Diagnóstico sobre Roaming Internacional a partir del Cuestionario sobre los Servicios de Roaming Internacional”, Inter-American Telecommunication Commission, Washington D.C.,

IDB (2014), La Integración de la Infraestructura Regional en los Países Andinos, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington D.C.,

IDB (2011), Análisis y Recomendaciones para Promover una Mayor Interoperabilidad en Unasur, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington D.C.,

IDB and REGULATEL (2013a), Estudio de Impacto para Roaming de Voz y de Datos y Roaming Prepago en la Región, Inter-American Development Bank and Foro Latinoamericano de Entes Reguladores de Telecomunicaciones,

IDB and REGULATEL (2013d), Plan de Acción e Instrumentos para la Armonización Regional de los Servicios de Roaming, Inter-American Development Bank and Foro Latinoamericano de Entes Reguladores de Telecomunicaciones,

IDB and REGULATEL and (2013e), Estudio sobre Roaming en México, Centroamérica y República Dominicana, Inter-American Development Bank and Foro Latinoamericano de Entes Reguladores de Telecomunicaciones,

IDB and REGULATEL (2012), “Informe Final de Roaming Fronterizo. Experiencia Piloto en la Frontera entre Brasil y Perú, Inter-American Development Bank and Foro Latinoamericano de Entes Reguladores de Telecomunicaciones,

IDB and REGULATEL (2012), Informe Final Estandarización de Roaming Móvil Internacional en Latinoamérica, Inter-American Development Bank and Foro Latinoamericano de Entes Reguladores de Telecomunicaciones,

ITU (2014), Análisis regulatorio de los servicios de itinerancia móvil internacional, International Telecommunications Union, Geneva,

ITU (2013), Study on International Internet Connectivity: Focus on Internet Connectivity in Latin America and the Caribbean, International Telecommunication Union, Geneva,

OECD (2014), International Regulatory Co-operation and International Organisations: The Cases of the OECD and the IMO, OECD Publishing Paris,

OECD (2014), “International Traffic Termination”, OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 238, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2013), International Regulatory Co-operation: Addressing Global Challenges, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2013), “Building Blocks for Smart Networks”, OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 215, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2007), Good Practices in Internet Exchange Point Documentation and Measurement, OECD Publishing, Paris,

Sutherland, E. (2010), “International mobile roaming in the Caribbean”, Info, Vol. 12, No. 4 pp. 39-53,

Weller, D. and B. Woodcock (2013), “Internet Traffic Exchange: Market Developments and Policy Challenges”, OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 207, OECD Publishing, Paris,

ANNEX 8.A1. Regional and international bodies with regional presence in LAC

Notes: This table does not include British overseas territories, US territories, constituent countries of the Netherlands, French departments, nor other dependencies. Bullets in gray are non-members, but hold a special status in these organisations by virtue of being either associate members, in the process of adherence, observers or beneficiaries. Other international organisations with regional presence are mostly UN agencies, such as UNCTAD, UNESCO and WHO. They are not included in the table, since their membership includes all selected countries.


← 1. Balassa (1961), in his seminal contribution, identifies these five main stages of regional integration. Dorrucci et al. (2002) use this framework to construct an institutional index of regional integration and compare the path taken and status of the European Union and Mercosur.

← 2. See

← 3. An Autonomous System (AS) is a group of IP networks operated by one or more network operator(s) that has a single and clearly defined external routing policy. Each public AS has a globally unique number, an AS Number, associated with it. This number is used both in the exchange of exterior routing information (between neighbouring ASs) and as an identifier of the AS itself.

← 4. A content delivery network (CDN) is a globally distributed network of proxy servers deployed in multiple data centres. The goal of a CDN is to deliver content to end users with high availability and high performance.

← 5. See In addition, the Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC) measures the number of IPv6 enabled networks per country.

← 6. Lars Eggart started a study using such an approach in 2007. See current results at

← 7. PCH maintains a directory of Internet exchanges with traffic statistics for IPv4 and IPv6 subnets.

← 8. Google measures the number of end hosts preferring to use IPv6 on their service infrastructure.

← 9. APNIC Labs measures IPv6 capability per country using such a technique.

← 10. The intergovernmental organisations with mandates to work on broadband supply and demand include the ITU, OECD, World Bank and UNESCO, as well others that use broadband in their work, from health to transport.

← 11. See Latin America and Caribbean international submarine cables map.

← 12. El Salvador is the only country in the region with access to the ocean and no submarine cable. The Plurinational State of Bolivia (hereafter “Bolivia”) and Paraguay also have no submarine cable, but are land-locked.

← 13. Members of the Costa Rica Exchange point, (accessed on 11 January 2016).

← 14. Akamai’s CDN platform delivers 15% to 30% of global web traffic (Akamai, 2015).

← 15. According to information provided by OSIPTEL, the Peruvian regulator, Peru has signed agreements on international roaming with Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia and Colombia.

← 16. Besides SMS, the operator can inform users through a phone call and/or a similar mechanism, at no cost to the consumer. In addition, for roaming data with consumption limits, the operator suspends data access when a subscriber reaches the contracted data volume.

← 17.

← 18.

← 19.

← 20. ComReg’s online roaming calculator can be accessed on

← 21. AT&T “International data calculator” can be accessed on

← 22. In October 2014, Apple introduced a new feature for its iPad: the Apple SIM. This SIM card is reprogrammable, allowing consumers to choose an operator to provide roaming from among those that have reached an agreement with Apple. This allows customers to choose operators from country to country without purchasing a separate SIM card in each. Only a limited number of operators have so far participated in this programme, and the Apple SIM was not available in any LAC country at the time this report went to press, but in the long term, the system may be adopted in more countries by more operators.

← 23. Xiaomi, a Chinese smartphone manufacturer, announced in August 2015 that it would introduce virtual SIM function in its newest operating system, MIUI7, valid in 36 countries, including OECD member countries such as Canada, Japan and the United States (Xiaomi Advices, 2015).

← 24. Several related reports are available at

← 25. Several other related reports are available at