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Colombia Telecom Meet Focuses on Digital Divide, 5G Launch

    • Colombian telecom operators and government are positive about the outcome of the 5G spectrum auction in December.
    • The government, telecom operators and regulatory bodies want to increase broadband penetration and provide training to Colombians to bridge the digital divide.
    • Telecom operators ETB and Claro shared their plans to leverage 5G to enhance verticals like education, mobility, and B2B services.
    Even as Colombia  looks forward to holding its first 5G auction in December this year, it has much more basic and long-pending telecom sector-related issues that need the attention of all stakeholders, whether the operators or government departments. It is with this in mind that representatives from the Colombian government, regulatory bodies, telecom operators and manufacturers gathered in the nation’s capital, Bogota, at the end of June for the Conecta Colombia summit. The event, which is a part of the series that Conecta Latam organizes in the region, saw discussions on regulation, technology and, of course, business. A team of analysts from Counterpoint was also present at the event. Here are their key takeaways:
    5G and connectivity expansion The potential of 5G technology and its impact on various sectors were essential discussion topics at the event. Telecom operators ETB and Claro shared their plans to leverage 5G to enhance verticals like education, mobility, and B2B services. Investments in broadband and 4G were also emphasized as ongoing priorities alongside the imminent 5G auction. The discussions also recognized the need to focus on network coverage and connectivity expansion, ensuring that before the widespread adoption of 5G.
    Main 5G verticals to be developed in Colombia, including a $166 billion opportunity until 2035 as per Hugo Chang at Nokia.
    Security and digital transformation
    Bridging the digital divide According to the regulators, by the end of Q1 2023, Colombia had 9 million fixed broadband connections, which means that only approx. 61% of households in Colombia have access to fixed broadband. Highlighting Colombia’s digital divide, speakers at the summit emphasized the need to address challenges Colombians have such as lack of technical skills and connectivity. The government, telecom operators and regulatory bodies discussed strategies to increase broadband penetration, provide training to Colombians, involve regional stakeholders in the sector decision-making, and improve job formalization. The focus was on leveraging technology to narrow the digital divide and ensure equal access to digital opportunities.
    “Centros Digitales” at the core of the solution to bridge the digital divide. MinTic aims to reach 85% broadband penetration by 2031 compared to 61% in Q1 2023.
    5G and connectivity expansion The potential of 5G technology and its impact on various sectors were essential discussion topics at the event. Telecom operators ETB and Claro shared their plans to leverage 5G to enhance verticals like education, mobility, and B2B services. Investments in broadband and 4G were also emphasized as ongoing priorities alongside the imminent 5G auction. The discussions also recognized the need to focus on network coverage and connectivity expansion, ensuring that before the widespread adoption of 5G.
    Main 5G verticals to be developed in Colombia, including a $166 billion opportunity until 2035 as per Hugo Chang at Nokia.
    Security and digital transformation
    During 2022 there were 20 billion failed cyberattacks in Colombia as disclosed by a Fortinet study, based on that government officials and telecom operators highlighted the importance of cybersecurity for the industry. Panel discussions emphasized the need for a national entity to coordinate carrier efforts and use artificial intelligence (AI) as a defensive tool. Besides, the event explored the concept of digital transformation within telecom companies, with discussions revolving around employee training, customer experience and the transformation of big data into “mega data” facilitated by 5G. The role of alternative revenue drivers such as VoLTE and MVNO products were also highlighted as options before the 5G benefits come to play.
     
    Saul Kattan, technical consultant of the Colombian presidency leads the panel discussion on the role of a national cybersecurity entity sponsored by the government.
    What is next? On August 1, the regulator will publish the first draft of the auction process, covering the mechanism to be followed and the required technical conditions for the applicants. The second draft will be released one month later and the final in October. In November and December, all the interested parties will submit their applications for the auction, which will start on December 20. 2024 can become the year of the 5G availability in the country.
    5G auction and 4G spectrum renovations chronogram.
    Bridging the digital divide According to the regulators, by the end of Q1 2023, Colombia had 9 million fixed broadband connections, which means that only approx. 61% of households in Colombia have access to fixed broadband. Highlighting Colombia’s digital divide, speakers at the summit emphasized the need to address challenges Colombians have such as lack of technical skills and connectivity. The government, telecom operators and regulatory bodies discussed strategies to increase broadband penetration, provide training to Colombians, involve regional stakeholders in the sector decision-making, and improve job formalization. The focus was on leveraging technology to narrow the digital divide and ensure equal access to digital opportunities.
    “Centros Digitales” at the core of the solution to bridge the digital divide. MinTic aims to reach 85% broadband penetration by 2031 compared to 61% in Q1 2023.
    5G and connectivity expansion The potential of 5G technology and its impact on various sectors were essential discussion topics at the event. Telecom operators ETB and Claro shared their plans to leverage 5G to enhance verticals like education, mobility, and B2B services. Investments in broadband and 4G were also emphasized as ongoing priorities alongside the imminent 5G auction. The discussions also recognized the need to focus on network coverage and connectivity expansion, ensuring that before the widespread adoption of 5G.
    Main 5G verticals to be developed in Colombia, including a $166 billion opportunity until 2035 as per Hugo Chang at Nokia.
    Security and digital transformation
    During 2022 there were 20 billion failed cyberattacks in Colombia as disclosed by a Fortinet study, based on that government officials and telecom operators highlighted the importance of cybersecurity for the industry. Panel discussions emphasized the need for a national entity to coordinate carrier efforts and use artificial intelligence (AI) as a defensive tool. Besides, the event explored the concept of digital transformation within telecom companies, with discussions revolving around employee training, customer experience and the transformation of big data into “mega data” facilitated by 5G. The role of alternative revenue drivers such as VoLTE and MVNO products were also highlighted as options before the 5G benefits come to play.
     
    Saul Kattan, technical consultant of the Colombian presidency leads the panel discussion on the role of a national cybersecurity entity sponsored by the government.
    What is next? On August 1, the regulator will publish the first draft of the auction process, covering the mechanism to be followed and the required technical conditions for the applicants. The second draft will be released one month later and the final in October. In November and December, all the interested parties will submit their applications for the auction, which will start on December 20. 2024 can become the year of the 5G availability in the country.
    5G auction and 4G spectrum renovations chronogram.
    Counterpoint research is a young and fast growing research firm covering analysis of the tech industry. Coverage areas are connected devices, digital consumer goods, software & applications and other adjacent topics. We provide syndicated research reports as well as tailored. Our seminars and workshops for companies and institutions are popular and available on demand. Consulting and customized work on the above topics is provided for high precision projects.

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