The Head of Planning of the National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel), Carlos Barahona, says private telecoms operators invested a record USD650 million in their Honduran networks in 2008, up from USD356 million in 2007 and USD133.6 million a year earlier. Speaking to the El Heraldo newspaper, Barahona said that he expects the trend will continue in the medium-term as Tigo, Claro, Digicel and Hondutelís fledgling mobile arm Honducel fight for new subscribers in a market where cellular penetration reached close to 75% at the end of last year. At that date the incumbentsí combined user base reached 5,823,915 active lines, up from 4.184 million a year earlier.
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Digicel earmarked a reported USD450 million in its networks and services, including the payment of USD80.1 million for the licence it won in late 2007. Tigo also invested around USD150 million to expand its network, the paper said. In 2009 Digicel is expected to invest between USD150-USD200 million to further improve its reach and service quality, while Tigo has reportedly set aside USD100-USD150 million and Claro USD50-USD100 million.