Ecuador, which has historically lagged behind other Latin American nations in terms of technological growth, has witnessed substantial improvement in internet penetration over the past few years. Despite recent progress, however, Ecuador still faces challenges related to information and communication technology (ICT) development, partly related to its rough geography with the Andes mountain range crossing a large chunk of inland territories. Ecuador has a small telecom market with a dominant mobile sector.
Ecuador had an 80% internet penetration rate by June, 2019. The country features a sophisticated 4G LTE ultra-broadband network. Much of the country’s fixed-line structure is influenced by topographical challenges.
The evolution of the market in Ecuador has been hindered by its poor fixed-line infrastructure. This underdevelopment was partly due o topographical challenges which have significantly increased the cost of deploying networks in remote and mountainous areas. The government is trying to expand basic services to improve teledensity, taking and it is expected that CNT will continue its efforts to expand the country’s fixed-line infrastructure and capitalise on its DSL service, which only took off in 2009. At the same time, a national broadband plan has been implemented to expand and improve internet access for everybody. Ecuador’s state regulatory agency is the National Telecommunications Council (CONATEL), which is part of the Telecommunications Ministry (MINTEL).
From 2002-06 the Ecuadorian economy grew an average of 4.3% per year, the highest five-year average in 25 years. After moderate growth in 2007, the economy reached a growth rate of 6.4% in 2008, buoyed by high global petroleum prices and increased public sector investment, but the government decided to default. Recent economic policies have generated economic uncertainty and discouraged private investment, with China becoming Ecuador’s largest foreign lender.
The level of foreign investment in Ecuador continues to be one of the lowest in the region as a result of an unstable regulatory environment, weak rule of law, and the crowding-out effect of public investments. Faced with a 2013 trade deficit of $1.1 billion, Ecuador erected technical barriers to trade in December 2013, causing tensions with its largest trading partners. In March, 2015 Ecuador imposed tariff surcharges for 15 months on an estimated 32% of imports. In 2015, lower oil prices forced the government to cut the budget twice, with further budget and subsidy cuts expected for 2016.
CNT (Corporación Nacional de Telecomunicaciones) is the public telecommunications company in Ecuador that offers fixed telephony services local, regional and international, Internet Access (Dial-Up, DSL, mobile Internet), satellite television and mobile telephony in Ecuadorian territory. It was founded in 2008 a result of the merger of the extinct Andinatel S.A. and Pacifictel S.A. After its 2010 merger with mobile phone company Alegro, CNT was able to enhance the product portfolio, focusing efforts in the packaging business and converged services technology.