The structure of Bolivia’s fixed telecom market is different from most other countries. Bolivia has a multi-carrier system wherein consumers can choose a long-distance carrier for each call by dialling the carrier’s prefix. A number of operators have also adopted fixed-wireless technologies, and some rent fibre-optic capacity. Local services are primarily provided by 15 telecom cooperatives. Since the market was liberalised the cooperatives have also provided long-distance telephony, while several also offer broadband and pay TV services.
Bolivia is a resource rich country with strong growth attributed to captive markets for natural gas exports – to Brazil and Argentina. However, the country remains one of the least developed countries in Latin America because of state-oriented policies that deter investment.
A lack of foreign investment in the key sectors of mining and hydrocarbons, along with conflict among social groups, pose challenges for the Bolivian economy. In 2015, the Government expanded efforts to court international investment and boost Bolivia’s energy production capacity, passing an investment law and promising not to nationalize additional industries in an effort to improve the investment climate. In early 2016, the Government of Bolivia approved the 2016-2020 National Economic and Social Development Plan aimed at maintaining growth of 5% and reducing poverty.