Competition and Investment in the Caribbean

RIS’s latest report is on the status of competition and investment in the Caribbean. We find that Caribbean mobile operators are late to the transition to a data-centric business model and relied for too long on voice revenues. Voice traffic and revenue are rapidly declining, and data revenues have not yet made up for the loss in voice revenues. The key to ICT sector growth in the Caribbean is last-mile fibre connectivity.

Mobile prices have declined, but mobile is still expensive compared to other regions. Mobile broadband prices have declined by 50% over the last two years on average, but the Caribbean is still expensive. Uncapped, fixed broadband is offered in several countries at a lower price than 20GB mobile broadband.

Cheapest price for 20GB as % of GNI per capita per month for Q3 2022
Cheapest price for 20GB as % of GNI per capita per month for Q3 2022

Increased last-mile investment has led to significantly faster upload speeds and lower latencies in most Caribbean countries. Fixed broadband penetration is growing in countries where fibre to the home is available and cheaper and faster than mobile broadband.

The report also includes an analysis of mobile operator groups in the Caribbean based on publicly available financial data. We find that Digicel’s financial difficulties are due to factors specific to Digicel. There is an opportunity to grow the ICT sector that is already being taken up by some operators and ISPs and expect the sector to grow in the near future in response to investment by these ISPs and operators. You can download the report here.