This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 8/1/2017
Overview
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector presents opportunities for U.S. companies able to offer the products and services the Colombian market needs to move forward with connectivity and Information Technology (IT) services penetration.

According to Business Monitor International, IT spending in Colombia will increase by 5.9 percent in 2017. There are several variables that could provide broad support to the IT market in 2017, including peso appreciation against the US dollar, which will increase the affordability of imports.

The Colombian Ministry of Information Technologies and Communication (MinTic) has consolidated Internet access and ICT for the majority of Colombians, with more than 15 million Internet connections in 2016 (seven times more than in 2010). Almost 96 percent of municipalities are covered by fiber optic networks and high speed networks have been deployed in many remote areas of the country.

Industry sources forecast Colombia’s total IT market to reach a value of USD 2.8 billion with an optimistic outlook for growth in 2017. Computer hardware sales make up the largest share of the market at 48 percent, followed by services sales (33 percent) and software sales (19 percent).

 
Colombia IT Market Value Data, 2014
IT Market Sub-SectorTotal Annual Sales (USD)
Computer Hardware$1.6 billion
Service$0.8 billion
Software$0.4 billion
Total IT Market Value$2.8 billion
Source: U.S. Commercial Service - Bogotá & Business Monitor International Industry Report
 
Colombia IT Market Value Data, 2015
IT Market Sub-SectorTotal Annual Sales (USD)
Computer Hardware$1.4 billion
Service$0.8 billion
Software$0.5 billion
Total IT Market Value$2.7 billion
Source: U.S. Commercial Service - Bogotá & Business Monitor International Industry Report
 
Colombia IT Market Value Data, 2016 (estimated)
IT Market Sub-SectorTotal Annual Sales (USD)
Computer Hardware$1.3 billion
Service$0.9 billion
Software$0.5 billion
Total IT Market Value$2.7 billion
Source: U.S. Commercial Service - Bogotá & Business Monitor International Industry Report
 
Colombia IT Market Value Data, 2017 (estimated)
IT Market Sub-SectorTotal Annual Sales (USD)
Computer Hardware$1.4 billion
Service$1.0 billion
Software$0.6 billion
Total IT Market Value$3.0 billion
Source: U.S. Commercial Service - Bogotá & Business Monitor International Industry Report

Government of Colombia figures show that IT service penetration continues to trend upward, creating opportunities for continued supply and distribution of value-added services.

Internet penetration in the country has grown significantly in recent years, promoted by the government’s “Vive Digital” initiative which aims to create jobs, grow the economy, and reduce poverty by increasing access to broad band Internet service. Colombia has gone from 3.1 million Internet broadband connections in 2010 to over 10 million in 2016, and Internet penetration for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) increased from seven percent in 2010 to more than 60 percent in 2016.

 
Colombia IT Services Penetration Data, 2016
IT ServiceSubscribers per 100 Citizens (%)
Fixed Internet12.20%
Mobile Internet13.06%
Mobile Telephony120.40%
Source: Colombian Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications

Colombian International Trade in IT Equipment
Colombia’s total imports of IT equipment (Harmonized System Code HS8471) in 2016 amounted to USD 1.06 billion, a 21 percent decrease compared to 2015, in part due to the Colombian currency depreciation in 2015. Of this total, 68 percent of imports (USD 720 million) came from China, followed by Mexico at 14 percent (USD 148 million), and the United States at six percent (USD 63 million).

 
Colombia IT Goods Import Data, 2014
YearTotal Annual IT Goods Imports (USD)
2014$1,959 million
2015$1,348 million
2016$1,066 million
Source: U.S. Commercial Service- Bogotá & Global Trade Atlas data
 
Colombia IT Goods Imports by Country, 2014
CountryAnnual Colombia IT Goods Imports (USD)
China$1,314 million
Mexico$214 million
United States$108 million
Other Countries$322 million
Source: U.S. Commercial Service- Bogotá & Global Trade Atlas data
 
Colombia IT Goods Imports by Country, 2015
CountryAnnual Colombia IT Goods Imports (USD)
China$852 million
Mexico$200 million
United States$73 million
Other Countries$223 million
Source: U.S. Commercial Service- Bogotá & Global Trade Atlas data
 
Colombia IT Goods Imports by Country, 2016
CountryAnnual Colombia IT Goods Imports (USD)
China$720 million
Mexico$148 million
United States$63 million
Other Countries$134 million
Source: U.S. Commercial Service- Bogotá & Global Trade Atlas data

The total value of Colombia’s imported IT products decreased throughout 2016 compared to the previous two years. Imported goods directly from the United States have also decreased over the past three years, leading to a drop in market share in comparison to China and Mexico, though these two countries’ exports to Colombia also decreased in 2016. China’s increase in market share can be explained, in part, by two larger issues:

1) Many international and U.S. manufacturers have their production facilities in China and export directly from there.

2) Chinese companies continue to expand aggressively into Latin America through now familiar brands such as Huawei and Lenovo.

Nevertheless, the IT sector in Colombia is expected to continue growing above overall economic output (GDP) rates and promising prospects are developing for U.S. companies to take advantage of the benefits derived from the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement. 

Colombian Government Policies on IT
The Government’s “Vive Digital” program has been extended until 2018 and will now focus on four basic pillars:  applications, users, services, and infrastructure. The specific objectives within each of these pillars will drive business opportunities in the coming years, in particular for IT service providers that are able to partner with local companies to bid on projects that cater to the government’s goals.

With regard to services, the Government of Colombia’s goals are to provide mass access to Internet services, develop affordable computers, and implement regulations for the management of electronic equipment waste.

In December 2016, the Government of Colombia published decree 2142, which reversed a prohibition on imports of mobile devices and parts via courier. In previous decree 2025 of October 2015, Colombia’s Ministry of Commerce limited the import and export of smart phones and their parts and prohibited all imports and exports of mobile devices and parts via courier. The objective of the ban was to discourage theft of cellphones and limit trade in stolen electronic devices and components, but the result had a negative impact on legitimate shipments of cellphones for repairs and service. 

Leading Sub-Sectors
1. Hardware:
a. Medium Corporate: Upgrading of equipment compatible/enabled for cloud services.
b. SME and Domestic: Computing and mobile devices.

Opportunities
Opportunities for U.S. companies in the Colombian IT market will be driven by three main factors:
  1. Increased connectivity and affordability of equipment;
  2. Multi-sector economic growth;
  3. Government programs for institutional and regional modernization.  
Low-income consumers are likely to prefer a smartphone for consuming content from the Internet rather than a tablet. Tablets will have an important niche in the educational field, and consumers willing to use a tablet will look for more power and productivity with convertible tablets or even compact laptops.

There is demand in Colombia for IT investments and services that boost efficiency and/or increase flexibility in diverse sectors, such as financial and manufacturing. According to MinTic, Colombia has an infrastructure capable of handling world-class operations, with 10 submarine cables that allow the use of 4G technology. 

Telecommunications and the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement
Colombia’s ICT market continues to be driven by government programs aimed at increasing access and penetration. The broadest coverage can be found in the mobile telephone segment, where there were 58.58 million registered lines (in a country of approximately 48.2 million inhabitants) at the end of 2016. Approximately 79 percent of the lines work through prepaid services, according to the latest MinTic quarterly report.

The number of fixed lines in Colombia has seen a gradual decline over the last decade. There were 7.1 million fixed telephone lines in Colombia at the end of 2016, down from 7.8 million in 2007. Although demand for voice services is declining, mobile data is expanding rapidly and helping to drive the market.

In May 2012 the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) came into effect, including a chapter dealing specifically with ICT services. This chapter regulates access to the use of public telecommunication services and stipulates a series of obligations pertaining to suppliers of public telecommunication services, including interconnection, resale of services, number portability, and dialing parity. It also defines the obligations for major suppliers of ICT services, such as treatment by major suppliers, competitive safeguards, resale of services, unbundling of network elements, interconnection provisions, co-location, provisioning and pricing of leased circuits services, and access to poles, ducts, conduits, and rights of way.

The TPA telecommunications chapter also regulates the operation of submarine cable systems. It establishes conditions for the supply of information services, the operation of independent regulatory bodies and government-owned telecommunications suppliers, and the resolution of telecommunications disputes, among others. In general, the Telecommunications chapter fosters transparency, equal treatment, and a clear framework for U.S. companies operating in Colombia, and vice versa.

Trade Events
ANDICOM (Influential Latin American ICT Congress and Industry Event)  
August 23–25, 2017
Cartagena, Colombia
 
Tecnomultimedia Infocomm (Audio/video Congress and Trade Show)
November 14-16, 2017
Bogotá, Colombia
 
Andiana Link Cartagena (Andean Regional Telecommunications Trade Show)  
March 6-8, 2018
Cartagena, Colombia
 
Web Resources
Rafael Jiménez
U.S. Commercial Service Bogotá
Phone: 57 1-275-2814
Email: Rafael.Jimenez@trade.gov

Key Contacts
Business Monitor International
Business Monitor International - Industry Forecasts
Colombian Chamber of Information and Telecommunications
Colombian Statistics Bureau (DANE)
Commission for Communications Regulation (CRC)
Euromonitor International
Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Toursim – Productive Transformation Program)
Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Toursim (MinCIT)
Ministry of Information Technologies and Communication (MinTIC)
MinTIC- Live Digital Program (Vive Digital)
National Planning Department (DNP)
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Private Competitiveness Council (CPC)
ProColombia (Export Promotion, Tourism and Investment)
World Economic Forum - Network Readiness Index

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Colombia Information and Communication Technology Trade Development and Promotion