This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 8/17/2018
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 advance with connectivity and Information Technology (IT) services.

 20162017 (est.)2018 (est)
Market Value$5.39$6.03$6.29
Exchange RatesCOP 3,053COP 2,951COP 3,000
Source: BMI Research, in billions USD

According to Business Monitor International, IT spending in Colombia will increase 6.8% by 2020. There are several variables that could provide broad support to the IT market in 2018, 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 30 million Internet connections in 2017, with 16 million being subscriptions and 14 million being done through mobile connections. Almost 96% 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 6.26 billion with an optimistic outlook for growth in 2018. IT services sales make up the largest share of the market at 66%, followed by computer hardware sales (18%) and software sales (16%).
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 broadband Internet service. Colombia has gone from 3.1 million Internet broadband connections in 2010 to over 16 million in 2017, and Internet penetration for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) increased from seven percent in 2010 to an estimated 70% in 2018.  

Colombian International Trade in IT Equipment
Colombia’s total imports of IT equipment (Harmonized System Code HS8471: automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers; machines for transcribing and processing coded data) in 2017 amounted to USD 989 million, a seven percent decrease compared to 2016, in part due to the Colombian currency depreciation. Of this total, 67% of imports (USD 666 million) came from China, followed by Mexico at 15% (USD 149 million), and the United States at five percent (USD 53 million).

Leading Sub-Sectors
  1. Cloud Computing Services  
  2. Hardware: Upgrading of equipment compatible/enabled for cloud services in private companies; SME and domestic computing and mobile devices, particularly for 4G/LTE services with devices such as smartphones  
  3. Software: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Solutions; Business Intelligence Solutions; Advanced Security Software Solutions
The total value of Colombia’s imported IT products decreased throughout 2017 compared to the previous two years. Imported goods directly from the United States have also decreased over the past several years, leading to a drop in market share in comparison to China and Mexico, though these two countries’ exports to Colombia also decreased in 2017. China’s increase in market share can be explained, in part, by two larger issues: many international and U.S. manufacturers have their production facilities in China and export directly from China, and 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. 

Opportunities for U.S. companies in the Colombian IT market will be driven by increased connectivity and affordability of equipment, multi-sector economic growth, and 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 62.22 million registered lines (in a country of approximately 49 million inhabitants) at the end of 2017. Approximately 80% 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 7.11 million fixed telephone lines in Colombia at the end of 2017, down from 8.99 million in 2016. 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
August 29–31, 2018
Cartagena, Colombia 
Tecnomultimedia infocomm
October 3-5, 2018
Bogota, Colombia
March 5-7, 2019
Cartagena, Colombia
Web Resources                                                                                                                                                                                
U.S. Commercial Service Bogota contact: Rafael Jimenez     
Tel: 57 1 275 2814 
Key Contacts
Ministerio de Tecnologías de la Información y Comunicaciones (MinTIC)
Comisión de Regulación de Comunicaciones (CRC)
Ministerio de Comercio, Industria y Turismo (MinCIT)
Federación Colombiana de la Industria de Software y TI (Fedesoft)
Cámara Colombiana de Informática y Telecomunicaciones (CCIT)

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Colombia Information and Communication Technology Trade Development and Promotion