As El Salvador has a small economy and population, growth in its telecom sector has been limited by poor infrastructure and unequal income distribution. There have been organisational delays which have retarded the development of services, though much progress in these areas has been recently evident. The telecom sector has been particularly successful within the overall economy.
The Internet penetration rate was 57% in 2017. Of the estimated total number of telephones in the country, 10% are fixed and 90% are mobile.
El Salvador’s fixed-line teledensity is substantially lower than the Latin American and Caribbean average. However, there has been a significant drop in the number of fixed lines since 2010, largely due to the substitution for mobile-only alternatives. Mobile penetration is remarkably high considering El Salvador’s economic indicators, being about a third higher than average for Latin America and the Caribbean. El Salvador’s telecom legislation is one of the most liberal ones in Latin America, encouraging competition in most aspects of the telecoms sector, and it is open to foreign investment in all areas.
The smallest country in Central America geographically, El Salvador has the fourth largest economy in the region. With the global recession, real GDP contracted in 2009 and economic growth has since remained low, averaging less than 2% from 2010 to 2014, but recovered somewhat in 2015-17 with an average annual growth rate of 2.4%. El Salvador’s public debt, estimated at 68.1% of GDP in 2017, has been growing over the last several years. Total external debt was about 60% of GDP in 2017.
Claro was introduced in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua in September 2006 as a rebranding of the former PCS Digital, Alo, Personal and Enitel. Claro is an international subsidiary of Mexico-based América Móvil and it is the leading provider of integrated telecommunications services in Latin America. Outside of China, it is the fourth largest company in terms of wireless subscribers. In El Salvador’s DSL market, Claro still retains a virtual monopoly.
(None reported as of June 2018)