For the last 20 years, the Dominican Republic has been one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America. The economy rebounded from the global recession in 2010-16, and the fiscal situation is improving.
The Internet penetration rate was 56% at the beginning of 2017. Fixed-line teledensity is about 13 per 100 persons; there are multiple providers of mobile-cellular service with a subscribership of over 80 per 100 persons. The country is a landing point for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1), Antillas 1, AMX-1, and the Fibralink submarine cables that provide links to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US.
The Dominican Republic was considered a country with a promising future in developing advanced telecommunications infrastructures in Latin America. Since 2010, however, the growth rate has slowed. The cost of ICT services has increased and is now as high or higher than the cost of comparable services in other countries of the region; as costs have risen, the overall quality of services has also deteriorated. Large companies like Codetel and Orange (FR) dominate the telecommunications market. Broadband DSL represents about 56% of the total Internet subscribers. There is access to regular ADSL, G.SHDSL, and services only on metropolitan areas, costs are high and service is decent. Cable Internet is offered by a couple of cable companies at lower costs than ADSL but the service is very deficient and unreliable. The Instituto Dominicano de Telecomunicaciones (INDOTEL) is the regulatory agency of the telecoms market.
The Dominican Republic was for most of its history primarily an exporter of sugar, coffee, and tobacco, but over the last three decades the economy has become more diversified as the service sector has overtaken agriculture as the economy’s largest employer, due to growth in construction, tourism, and free trade zones. The mining sector has also played a greater role in the export market since late 2012 with the commencement of the extraction phase of the Pueblo Viejo Gold and Silver mine, one of the largest gold mines in the world.
A tax reform package passed in November 2012, a reduction in government spending, and lower energy costs helped to narrow the central government budget deficit from 6.6% of GDP in 2012 to 2.6% in 2016, and public debt is declining. Marked income inequality, high unemployment, and underemployment remain important long-term challenges; the poorest half of the population receives less than one-fifth of GDP, while the richest 10% enjoys nearly 40% of GDP.
The economy is highly dependent upon the US, the destination for approximately half of exports and the source of 40% of imports. Remittances from the US amount to about 7% of GDP, equivalent to about a third of exports and two-thirds of tourism receipts. The Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement came into force in March 2007, boosting investment and manufacturing exports.
Claro (formerly CODETEL) is the largest telecommunications company in the Dominican Republic and provides local, long-distance, and wireless voice services, as well as Internet and IPTV services, to approximately four million customers.
(None reported as of June 2018)