Mobile data, another account in the basic basket in Honduras


More than ever, Hondurans are prioritizing internet use on their mobile devices as an essential part of their budget, going even further than just spending on groceries.

This paradigm shift is reflected in a series of recent statements he presented National Communications Commission (Conatel), which shows a striking trend towards digitalization in the Central American country.

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According to data collected and analyzed by leading data unit LA PRENSA, Honduras saw a significant increase of 4.98% in mobile phone lines at the end of 2022, with the total number of mobile phone lines reaching 7.9 million.

This explosion in mobile adoption translates into a mobile density of 82.7%, meaning that almost 82 in 100 Hondurans have a mobile phone line.

More telling, however, is the change in the usage pattern of these mobile phone lines.

Beyond the traditional mobile phone line (where call traffic fell by 11.56%), Hondurans are increasingly opting for digital alternatives, such as calling and messaging from apps like WhatsApp or Telegram.

This change is also visible in the Internet sector, where a 1.42% increase was observed in the number of subscribers to the mobile Internet service, reaching 6.8 million subscribers. In addition, the density of fixed internet subscribers increased by 10.15%, bringing the total number of subscribers to 471,496, indicating significant growth in the use of home internet services.

This increase in demand for mobile and fixed internet services has led to a reduction in the country’s digital divide by an estimated 2%, reaching 46% of the population.

As for Internet service providers in Honduras, the dominant presence of Tigo and Claro stands out, both in fixed and mobile Internet services; However, in the field of fixed connections and cable TV services, 225 other operators compete strongly for the quality and quantity of broadband.

However, Honduras has the advantage of offering the most expensive internet service in the Latin American region. Data from the Numbeo platform from 2023, analyzed by Bloomberg, shows that the country pays an average of $71 (about 1,700 lempira) per month for 60 MB of internet.

Honduras outperforms Bolivia ($53.35) and the Dominican Republic ($49.84).

For Carlos Orbizo, an economist, internet access is already a basic need for the people of Honduras. He argues that the government should facilitate conditions such as free Wi-Fi throughout Honduras to reduce the cost of living and improve access to communications. “WiFi is like roads: it makes it easier for you to get from one place to another.”

Orbizo emphasizes that international call costs improve over time. In 2005, the cost was 83 cents per minute, and the following year it dropped to 39 cents. Today they cost about 10 cents. “What is the best profit?” The same thing happens with electric energy,” he said, referring to the benefit of getting better commercial benefits from institutions like Hondotel and the National Electric Power Company (ENI).

Ismael Zepeda, another economist, also emphasizes that the connectivity of Hondurans presents an opportunity for the digital economy and to simplify procedures and improve the efficiency of services.

For Zepeda, this “means savings for the states, and it can also mean efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery.”

He also emphasizes that within the basic package, “internet consumption or calling is not positioned as a basic product; Today, however, it is an essential good.

From what experts and statistics say, it appears that Hondurans are prioritizing internet consumption, and that the trend towards digitalization brings challenges and opportunities for the country, which must adapt and develop policies that promote digital inclusion and fair access to internet services throughout the national territory .