Main trends

Two main trends should be highlighted in the field of telecommunications in Venezuela: First, the booming use of social networks and messaging apps, especially Twitter and WhatsApp, as information sources, fields in which Venezuela is leader among Latin-American countries (Rodríguez & Fernández, 2017); and second, the use of Internet for banking activities, placing the online sites of banks in Venezuela among the most visited pages (Espinoza, 2018) and with 89% of the users of internet conducting banking activities online. They are both explained by the social, political and economic crisis of the country. The lack of confidence in traditional media has made Venezuelans look for information in channels that are harder to control, such as the two mentioned. At the same time, the lack of cash and hyperinflation has forced population to use Internet even for the smallest transactions and purchases. These trends are less common in rural areas and among older or underprivileged population.

The deficiencies in the telecommunications infrastructure and connectivity are avoiding a further development of these services. And it also explains the deceleration, or even decrease, of Internet and mobile phone penetration rates, unlike most countries in the world.

A last trend, or rather a particularity of the Venezuelan context, is the different approaches shown by the two groups in which the population can be split, those for and those against the government; as it is, government supporters tend to adopt a more optimistic perspective, also in what affects telecommunications, acknowledging the developments in the introduction of new technologies and services, while government critics offer a more negative view of the situation, complaining about the lack of investments and development in this field. This is a raw simplification that aims to show how the polarisation and politicisation of the country also affects the behaviours and views about the telecommunication system.