New GSMA Study: Mobile Ecosystem Worth $10 Billion to Colombian Economy

Mobile Accounted for 3.8 Per Cent of GDP and 64,000 Jobs in Colombia in 2016;
GSMA Proposes Regulatory Recommendations to Foster Colombian Digital Ecosystem
 and Promote Innovation and Further Investment

Cartagena, Colombia: Mobile technologies and services accounted for 3.8 per cent of global GDP in Colombia in 2016, equivalent to $10 billion of economic value, according to a new GSMA report. The study ‘Country overview Colombia – Mobile industry collaborating with government to promote entrepreneurship and innovation’ was published today at the Congreso Latinoamericano de Telecomunicaciones 2017 (CLT17), being held 20-23 June 2017 in Cartagena, Colombia.

Local mobile operators have been driving the Colombian digital agenda, investing $9 billion in networks and spectrum since the start of the decade, according to the new report. As a result of these investments, mobile broadband coverage in Colombia now reaches more than 92 per cent of the population for 3G and 65 per cent for 4G. It is forecast that capital investments will total more than $5 billion over the next four years (2017 through 2020), as operators continue to extend reach and add extra capacity.

GSMA Intelligence forecasts that the value of the mobile sector to the Colombian economy will increase from $10 billion in 2016 (3.8 per cent of total GDP) to $13 billion (4.2 per cent of projected GDP) by 2020. This GDP impact includes both direct and indirect contributions, as well as the productivity gains made possible by mobile technology and services. The mobile ecosystem supported around 64,000 jobs (direct and indirect) in Colombia 2016, and contributed $2.3 billion to public sector funding in the form of taxes and other regulatory fees.

“Although the government has been supportive of the digital economy, primarily through its infrastructure and inclusion programmes, further regulatory modernisation is needed to ensure a dynamic, competitive environment for all ecosystem players, encouraging investment and innovation,” said Sebastian Cabello, Head of Latin America at the GSMA.

The GSMA has identified six key recommendations designed to modernise and update Colombia’s regulatory framework:

  • Promote convergence and remove barriers to providing converged services, maximising the benefits for users;
  • Level the playing field in the digital ecosystem to give users the same level of protection regardless of the communications platform they use;
  • Enhance user experience by encouraging competition in quality of service;
  • Create a single converged regulator to act across the digital ecosystem;
  • Remove sector-specific taxes to allow greater affordability and universality of services; and
  • Optimise radio spectrum as a key input for industry development.

Colombia is the fourth-largest mobile market in Latin America behind Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, according to GSMA Intelligence data. There were more than 32.3 million unique mobile subscribers in Colombia at Q1 2017, representing 66 per cent of the population. There were 52.8 million total mobile connections in Colombia by this point, almost half of which (46 per cent) were smartphone connections. Smartphones are forecast to account for 67 per cent of the 61.5 million mobile connections expected in 2020.

The GSMA and mobile operators are united to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in Colombia. The report showcases a series of case studies that highlight how mobile is playing a key role in tackling various social and economic challenges around poverty eradication, education, employment, infrastructure, inequality reduction, safer cities, responsible consumption and production, and environment protection, among others. All these aspects will be discussed at the CLT17 in Cartagena, where the GSMA will lead a panel discussion with speakers including: Daniel Quintero Vice Minister of ICT of Colombia; Alfonso Gómez Palacio, President of Telefónica Colombia; Ana Lucia Lenis, Senior Manager Government Affairs and Public Policy Andean and Central Region at Google; and Martha Castellanos, Manager of the National Education Plan 2016-2025 at the Ministry of Education of Colombia.

The new report, ‘Country overview Colombia – Mobile industry collaborating with government to promote entrepreneurship and innovation’, was authored by GSMA Intelligence, the research arm of the GSMA. To access the full report and related infographics, please visit:



About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Mobile World Congress Americas and the Mobile 360 Series of conferences. 

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.

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