Mobile network ecosystem
Mobile telephony began in Colombia in the late twentieth century and quickly went from being a relatively expensive service reserved for a certain economic elite, to become popular to such an extent that the vast majority of citizens have and use cell phones. According to DANE, the proportion of people aged 5 years and over who own a cell phone in Colombia for year 2017 was 73.2 percent and 86.3 percent used this type of device.
Different operators offer different types of coverage and are distributed nationwide. In this way, operators such as Avantel have a coverage focused on the large cities of the country and do not reach rural areas. ETB does not cover a large part of the national territory. The same happens with Móvil Éxito, Movistar and Tigo, which have very poor coverage in the South of the country and in the plains area, but still have more nationwide coverage than operators such as Virgin Mobile.
Mobile phones are available at the points of sale of operators and in specialised technology stores, and access to them is relatively easy. Moreover, a great variety of plans is offered from very economic prices that have allowed the high proliferation of devices. In this way, it is possible to activate a cell phone from less than US$2 and make refills of US$1. There are plans that include cellular telephony and data plans for Internet access from US$10 to more than US$100 monthly. Today, Colombia manages 2G, 3G and 4G networks, depending on the service the user desires. The use of mobile telephony is a widespread practice, even among many indigenous and minority groups in the national territory. There are no taboos or beliefs that inhibit the use of this way of communication in the country.
Although there are certain areas where coverage is limited, there are government plans to improve the offer of services. For example, the National Optic Fiber Project, which has benefited 788 municipalities in Colombia and 2000 public institutions for a total of 4,602,090 beneficiaries.