Digital Ecosystem Country Assessment (DECA) Report

The Guatemala DECA report outlines the key aspects of Guatemala’s digital ecosystem and provides nine recommendations for creating a more inclusive, safe, and enabling environment.

Guatemala does not have a central strategy or policy for the digitalization of government services or systems. However, the recently approved Law for the Simplification of Requirements and Administrative Procedures (Ley Antitrámites) applies to all government entities and aims to advance government administrative management through the digitalization of procedures and forms. While Guatemala is home to relatively high network coverage, gaps in internet use persist and innovative solutions face regulatory barriers. One of the key drivers of this usage gap is low affordability. The digital divide persists across gender, geography, income, education and literacy, and ethnicity, and was highlighted and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the greatest barrier to mobile internet adoption for urban Guatemalans was safety and security while the greatest barrier for Guatemalans living in rural areas was literacy and skills. Nine percent more women than men report that handset cost is a major reason they do not use the internet and four percent more women than men report information security as a key barrier. These gaps widen when gender intersects with indigenous households, especially those headed by women tend to be less economically stable and therefore less able to prioritize internet access given its high cost in Guatemala.

The Guatemala DECA took place between October 2021 and October 2022. It included desk research, consultations with USAID/Guatemala and eight weeks of virtual interviews. A total of 76 interviews were conducted with stakeholders from civil society, academia, the private and public sectors, and international development organizations as well as five focus group discussions with a total of 33 USAID/Guatemala project participants. Eighteen participants were women, they ranged in age from 16 to 67 years old, roughly half of whom identified as being from an Indigenous community.

The USAID/Guatemala Country Development Cooperation Strategy includes three Development Objectives:

  1. Partner with the Government of Guatemala and other stakeholders to increase economic prosperity, inclusion, and stability in areas with high irregular migration
  2. Partner with the Government of Guatemala and other stakeholders to strengthen effective and accountable governance to improve quality of life and reduce irregular migration
  3. Partner with the Government of Guatemala and other stakeholders to improve justice and security to reduce irregular migration

Pillar 1: Digital Infrastructure and Adoption

  • Challenges to policy implementation hampers the inclusive expansion of Guatemala’s connectivity infrastructure.
  • The legal, policy, and regulatory environment for telecommunications face gaps in terms of capacity, transparency, and accountability.
  • Some innovative solutions and business models led by civil society, international cooperation organizations, and the private sector exist for last-mile connectivity, but they are challenged by market and regulatory inefficiencies.
  • The digital divide in Guatemala has several converging dimensions. Key drivers include: geography, gender, and ethnicity with affordability of internet and devices, low digital literacy, and gaps in connectivity coverage

Pillar 2: Digital Society, Rights, and Governance

  • While there is an increased citizen demand for digital government services, government capacity and local-level adoption may require support.
  • Digital rights require greater protection by law; gaps in the legal framework open the door for online harassment with impunity, which is an especially concerning risk for women, LGBTQI+, and children and youth given Guatemala’s history and present-day situation with offline violence against these groups.
  • Cybersecurity has improved when it comes to policy on paper, but policy in action and government, citizen, and organizational cybersecurity capacity could be bolstered.
  • Media, namely radio and television, are dominated by five media conglomerates. However, a vibrant new ecosystem of independent media is emerging online.

Pillar 3: Digital Economy

  • Over the last decade, government entities charged with the development of the digital economy have adopted long-term policies aimed at supporting the inclusive growth of the digital economy. Interviewees from the government and from other public sector entities agree that additional support is needed to ensure that these policies are implemented.
  • Connectivity gaps, insufficient banking infrastructure, lack of locally adapted features in design elements of digital financial products, and low levels of digital and financial literacy in target populations are key drivers of Guatemala’s low levels of digital financial inclusion. However, there may be an opportunity for greater digital financial inclusion in Guatemala’s high volume of remittances.
  • There is unprecedented growth in the FinTech ecosystem, but their innovations do not reach the majority of the population. This is especially true for marginalized and vulnerable populations, especially the considerable proportion of the population that is unbanked.
  • The startup and e-commerce ecosystems are growing, but require a more supportive policy and regulatory environment to fully reach their potential and contribute to national competitiveness.
  • There is a mismatch between the digital skills supplied by Guatemala’s talent pool and those demanded by local and international tech companies. This is underscored by a considerable gender and ethnic inclusion gap in the digital talent pool.

mAccess Indicators & Rankings

The information below is part of the mAccess Diagnostic Tool and is intended to help assess foundational components of Guatemala’s digital ecosystem using indicators on internet availability, affordability, access, and use. Click here to explore the full tool.

Country Snapshot – Guatemala

  • 2G Coverage:


  • 3G Coverage:


  • Cost per SMS in USD for 10,000 bulk SMS:


  • EIU Rank:


  • ITU IDI Rank:


  • Number of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs):


  • Living 2G Coverage ( in million ):


  • Living 3G Coverage ( in million ):


  • No of MBBC:


  • Not using Mobile Internet 2G Coverage:


  • Number of active mobile money agents:


  • Number of active mobile money users:


  • Smartphones 3G Coverage:


  • WEF Rank:


Access – Guatemala

  • Land-lines per 100 inhabitants:


  • Mobile broadband connections per 100 inhabitants:


  • Mobile internet users per 100 inhabitants:


  • Active SIM cards per 100 inhabitants:


Affordability – Guatemala

  • Mobile prepaid 1GB basket:


  • Moblie Prepaid 1GB basket – largest operator:


  • Mobile prepaid voice basket – largest operator:


  • Effective price:


  • GB per GDPC:


  • Mobile prepaid voice basket:


Competition – Guatemala

  • Market concentration:


  • Interconnection: Mobile Termination Rates:


  • Highest MNO EBITDA Margin in country:


  • Mobile-specific taxes / TCMO:


  • Number of Mobile Operators:


  • Market share of largest mobile operators:


Infrastructure – Guatemala

  • International bandwidth per user:


  • Connections per Base stations:


  • Population covered by 3G signal:


  • Population covered by 4G signal:


  • Country level investment per subscriber:


Usage – Guatemala

  • Average revenue per user (Blended ARPU):


  • Facebook users per 100 inhabitants:


  • Mobile Data traffic per active SIM:


  • M2M connections per 100 inhabitants:


  • Minutes of Use per active SIM:


Digital Ecosystem Evidence Map

The information below is part of the Digital Ecosystem Evidence Map (DEEM) and displays up-to-date resources on digital development interventions and the digital ecosystem for Guatemala. Click here to explore the full tool.

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