EMPLOYMENT and investment in the electronic communications sector has seen yet another increase in Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) Member States.
That’s among the key findings of the most recent review of the electronic communications sector in ECTEL Member States comprising countries in the Windward and Leeward Islands.
For the second year running, sector investment recorded double digit growth. Following the 35 per cent rise in the previous period, investment in the telecommunications sector surged a further 29 per cent to $157 million.
The Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) produces this review of the electronic communications sector annually. The report provides information on the performance and economic contribution of the sector, as well as information on deployment and use of electronic communications infrastructure in the ECTEL Member States.
ECTEL said this was again driven by infrastructure upgrades for the launch of 4G/HSPA+ mobile broadband series in the Member States.
Fixed broadband subscription growth also accelerated. The number of fixed broadband subscriptions rose 11 per cent to 97,000 resulting in a fixed broadband penetration rate of 19.2 per cent up from 17.2 per cent in the previous period.
The annual electronic communications review for the period March 2014 to 2015 also indicated that 4G/HSPA+ mobile broadband service is now available in all ECTEL Member States.
At the end of March 2015, mobile broadband via HSPA+ technology was finally available in all ECTEL Member States. As consumers in the Member States migrated from 2G to 4G service, the number of mobile broadband subscriptions grew by more than 400 per cent to 205, 000, according to the review.
Call volumes from fixed and mobile networks fell 10 per cent. Fixed originated local calling minutes, fell 9 per cent to 497 million minutes and local calling minutes from mobile networks was 11 per cent less than in the previous period. Overall, consumers generated just over 1 billion local calling minutes.
There was some good news for employment in the sector in at least two Member States. Following a 22 per cent contraction in the number of persons employed full time in the telecoms sector, there was a 1 per cent increase in sector employment.
At March 2015, there were 945 persons employed by telecoms operators. This increase in sector employment was driven by growth in sector employment in Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines.