Communications in Haiti

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Despite low literacy levels (52%) and wide-ranging poverty, Haiti managed to increase its cell phone coverage rate from 6% to 30% in just one year (May 2006 to May 2007). Haiti is now the driving force in the cell phone growth rate in the Caribbean. Radio still remains the primary information medium for most Haitians.

Contents

Radio

Radio broadcast stations: AM 41, FM 26, shortwave 0 (1999)

Radios: 500,000 (1997)

Television

Television broadcast stations: 4 in Port-au-Prince (plus a cable TV system) (2005)

Televisions: 38,120 (1997)

Telephone

Telephones - main lines in use: 160,000 (2010)[1]

Natcom, the result of the privatization of Télécommunications d'Haiti S.A.M. (Teleco) in 2010, has a monopoly on the provision of landline services throughout the country. The Vietnamese company Viettel bought a 60% share, with the Haitian government keeping the remaining 40% of the company.[2]

Teleco was constantly hobbled by political interference which affected its performance. A net generator of revenues for the government in the 1970s and early 1980s, Teleco's demise started with the Prosper Avril government which spent Teleco's profits on politically-motivated campaigns and outright graft. The practice continued with the Aristide government.

Telephones - mobile cellular: 3.2 million (2010) or 35% coverage rate.[3]

There are three major cell phone providers in Haiti: Digicel, Comcel, and Haitel[4].

Comcel, a subsidiary of Trilogy International Partners, LLC, was a TDMA company which launched its service in September 1999. Haitel, an independent company founded by Franck Ciné, a Haitian-American and former MCI/Worldcom executive, adopted CDMA technology. Digicel Haiti, an affiliate of the pan-Caribbean Digicel Group won Haiti's first GSM license in June 2005 and launched service in early 2006.

In May 2006, Comcel and Haitel had a total of about 500,000 subscribers - that is a cell phone coverage rate of 6% for a population of 8.2 million. Then, Digicel entered the market in May 2006, and revolutionized the cell phone industry with low prices and attractive services so that after just one year of operations, May 2006-May 2007, Digicel went from zero to 1.4 millions subscribers. The other two cell phone providers, Comcel and Haitel, responded by cutting their prices and offering new services such as Voila, a GSM service by Comcel, and CDMA 2000 by Haitel. As a result, Comcel and Haitel increased their subscribers from 500,000 to 1 million. As of October 2010, Digicel has about 2.2 millions cell phone subscribers in Haiti.[5] In May 2007, Digicel started offering two Blackberry services with Internet, one for enterprises and one for individuals.

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