Snapshot: 2014 updated of mobile/cellular spend across the Caribbean

A 2014 update of our mobile/cellular spend Snapshot, to determine the extent to which mobile/cellular prices have changed across the Caribbean.

Over the past four years, we have been sharing some insights on the likely monthly spend for mobile/cellular services in the Caribbean based on pre-defined baskets of services. In this our latest exercise, we have expanded the pool of countries examined from 16 to 20, by including some of the Dutch Caribbean, namely Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten and Suriname. Once again, we are reviewing mobile/cellular prices across the Caribbean, and examining the extent to which they have changed since our last review in May 2013.

Methodology

Our review of the monthly spend for mobile/cellular service in the Caribbean is being guided by the approach set out in the Revised OECD Telecommunications Price Comparison Methodology (2006). The methodology sets out three service baskets, shown in Table1, which suggest the volume of voice calls, text messages (SMS), and multimedia messages (MMS) generated by hypothetical users.

Service baskets used in mobile spend calculations 2014 (Source- OECD)
Table 1: Service baskets used in mobile spend calculations (Source: OECD)

Subject to availability of the data, the requisite calculations were performed using the prepaid rates advertised by the two largest mobile/cellular operators per country, where possible, and single operators, where there is still a monopoly in the market. Table 2 lists the operators included in our assessment. The rates used were sourced primarily from the operators’ websites, as at May 2014.

Table 2: Telecoms operators included in 2014 mobile/cellular spend Snapshot (Source: ICT Pulse)
Table 2: Telecoms operators included in 2014 mobile/cellular spend Snapshot (Source: ICT Pulse)

Monthly spend is calculated in the local currency and then converted to United States Dollars (USD), using currency exchange rates as at 3 June 2014.

2014 monthly spend results

Using the mobile/cellular calls volumes stated for the three baskets of usage, first we compared the hypothetical monthly spend on mobile/cellular calls only, i.e. calls made on the same network; calls made to other mobile/cellular networks and calls made to the fixed network. Figure 1 shows the results.

Figure 1:  Monthly spend on mobile/cellular calls in select Caribbean countries as at May 2014 (Source: ICT Pulse)
Figure 1: Monthly spend on mobile/cellular calls in select Caribbean countries as at May 2014 (Source: ICT Pulse)

For all call volumes, the lowest monthly spends on calls only, as of May 2014, would be in Jamaica, where the amounts ranged from USD 3.58 per month for Low Volume (LV) users, USD 9.30 per month for a Medium Volume (MV) users, to USD 21.10 per month for High Volume (HV) users.On the other hand, the highest monthly spend across all baskets was recorded in the Cayman Islands, where amounts ranged from USD 18.98 per month for a LV basket of calls, USD 48.51 per month for a MV basket of calls, to USD 100.60 per month for a HV basket of calls.

When the full basket of service was considered, i.e. calls, SMS and MMS, six countries had to be omitted (Aruba, Belize, Curaçao, Guyana, Sint Maarten and Suriname) due to insufficient data. However, for the countries included (Figure 2), again, the lowest monthly spend would most likely be experienced in Jamaica, where the amounts ranged from USD 4.69 per month LV users, USD 10.72 per month for MV users to USD 22.93 per month for HV users. Similarly, the highest monthly spend is anticipated in the Cayman Islands, where spend on a LV basket of services is estimated at USD 23.41; whilst that for a MV basket would be USD 55.02, and for a HV basket would be USD 107.92.

Figure 2:  Monthly spend on mobile/cellular service (calls, SMS and MMS) in select Caribbean countries as at May 2014 (Source: ICT Pulse)
Figure 2: Monthly spend on mobile/cellular service (calls, SMS and MMS) in select Caribbean countries as at May 2014 (Source: ICT Pulse)

Some additional observations:

  • For mobile/cellular calls only across the region, LV users would spend on average USD 11.73 per month; for the entire basket of service (calls, SMS and MMS), the spend averaged across the region would be USD 13.98.
  • On average, MV users across the region would spend approximately USD 29.89 per month, on calls only. For the full basket of services, the average monthly spend would be in approximately USD 32.57.
  • Finally, for HV users, their average monthly spend across the region on calls only would be USD 64.93, but would jump to USD 67.70 when the entire basket of services is considered.

How does the 2014 spend results compare with those for 2013?

Within the past year, there have been noticeable changes in the monthly spend across the three basket of services and across the countries examined, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3:  Percentage change in the monthly spends between May 2013 and May 2014 in select Caribbean countries (Source ICT Pulse)
Figure 3: Percentage change in the monthly spends between May 2013 and May 2014 in select Caribbean countries (Source ICT Pulse)

Virtually all of the countries, with the exception of the Bahamas and Jamaica, experienced some change in prices, which resulted in the following changes in monthly spend:

  • for the LV basket of services, spend changes ranged from approximately -5.2% in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, to +5.8% in Dominica
  • for the MV basket of services, spend changes ranged from a drop of over 6% in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to an increase of over 7% in Dominica
  • for the HV basket of services, changes in monthly spend ranged from an increase by over 8% in Saint Kitts and Nevis, to a decrease of over 7.5% in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Across the group of countries the change in spend ranged was ultimately a net decrease: from -6.32% for the LV basket of services, to -6.84% and -6.66 % for the MV and HV baskets of services, respectively.

 

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