May 1, 2001
If a Peruvian has a telephone line today, chances are that he or she has Telefónica to thank. Back in 1993, before the Spanish giant plunged into Peru with a $2 billion investment in state-run telecom operators, the average wait for a phone line was nearly 10 years - and the company would have billed clients $1,500 for the privilege of connecting them.
Now the average wait for a line is down to less than two months and it costs a tenth of the 1993 level, according to Osiptel, the industry regulator. Since 1995, the year after Telefónica entered Peru, the number of lines in service has doubled to 1.7 million. The network is now 95% digital.
Developments have been equal
Peru has made considerable progress addressing its severe infrastructure deficit by privatizing telecom, power, and transportation systems. But dreams of becoming a high-tech distribution hub for the Americas remain a fantasy.