Mobile subscription penetration of the population in Ecuador reached 91.8% in 2018, 21 percentage points below the regional average. We expect mobile subscription penetration will reach 97.2% by 2023, driven by the increasing adoption of smartphones and the gradual expansion of wireless connectivity across the country.
Smartphone subscriptions will grow from 8.7 million in 2018 to 11.7 million (or 71.6% of total handsets) by the end of 2023. Growth will be mainly driven by the increasing availability of smartphones, as operators’ offer device-bundle plans with various payment options. For instance, Movistar Ecuador currently offers up to 18 monthly instalments on all mobile devices.
Meanwhile, the ongoing 4G LTE/LTE-A network expansions by operators are boosting wireless data services. For instance, Claro is seeking to strengthen its wireless networks with the launch of LTE-Advance service in April 2018, which offers up to 50% higher browsing speed than 4G LTE for services such as online games and streaming videos. The network will initially be available for users in Ambato, Babahoyo, Quito, Guayaquil, Machala, Ibarra and Quevedo.