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Telecommunication in the Dutch Caribbean


Publication number: 2016-21
Authors: K. van Buiren, J. Fijnje, W. Rougoor, T. Smits & V. Kocsis
Commissioned by: Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations
Published by: SEO Amsterdam Economics

The key question in this report is how telecommunication markets in the Dutch Caribbean (Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba) have developed since the transition of the three islands to the new constitutional status. One of the most important developments has been the opening up of the Windward Islands (St. Eustatius and Saba) thanks to the construction of the submarine cable. This has resulted in improved access to high-quality telecommunication services and has increased the Internet speed in Saba sixfold and in St. Eustatius twelvefold. With competition taking place in the market for mobile telephone services only, the product range on the two Windward Islands is limited and the highly concentrated market  and has remained virtually unchanged since 2011. The product offering grows with – but still insufficiently meets – the increased demand for data traffic.

In Bonaire competition in various telecommunication markets has intensified and the product offering has improved since 2011. In the market for fixed Internet the product offering has improved since 2011, with significantly greater Internet speeds and the elimination of data limits. The prices of telecommunication services, however, have not or hardly dropped and remain high in comparison with those in Curaçao, for example. End users experience no improvement in the development of the price-quality ratio.

On all three islands, market participants are concerned about the (costs of) access to submarine cables. The prevailing idea in St. Eustatius and Saba is that the benefits of the constructed submarine cable have been insufficiently exploited to date.


Category: 2017, Ward Rougoor, Tom Smits, Competition & Innovation, Financial Markets & Finance