Huge progress on 4G in Latin America
It was only six months ago when GSMA published its annual report for the mobile market in Latin America, The Mobile Economy Latin America and the Caribbean 2016. Among others, analysts noted in the report the huge potential of 4G in the region as coverage of these networks was rapidly expanding. Then, there were 64 live LTE networks across the region (June 2016), covering almost 60% of the population of the region.
A few months later, in March, new data from GSMA Intelligence showed that Latin America has made great progress in a very short time. The number of LTE networks at the end of 2016 had reached 97, covering 68% of the Latin American population. In addition, consumers are very eager to adopt the new technology, through compatible smartphones. The number of 4G connections reached 113 million at the end of 2016 (17 per cent of total connections) gaining 6 more percentage units only in 6 months. 0n an annual basis this reflects a 121% increase, as the number of 4G connection in December 2015 were only 51 million.
Despite this progress, analysts remain very optimist for the future as they expect that the figure of 4G connection will surpass 300 million by the end of the decade, accounting for almost 40 per cent of total connections in the region by this point. At the same time, deployment of 4G networks will remain strong, reaching 83% of the region’s population.
Another report from independent firm, Reportlinker, shares the same optimism with GSMA. Reportlinker published a few days ago a new report (Latin America - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband Forecasts), where it highlights the additional potential for ongoing growth in the region. “This as a result continues to attract investment from international telcos and vendors, which can be seen in upgraded networks, particularly in relation to LTE. Improved mobile network capabilities have stimulated the adoption of smartphones among consumers, which in turn has led to increasing mobile data traffic and consequently the ability of network operators to develop revenue growth”.
On the other hand, GSMA calls governments for a regulatory modernization. This as it says will have a strong impact to the development of the regional digital ecosystem and will promote further innovation and investment. “The future requires a more flexible, technology-agnostic approach to regulation, discarding rules that no longer reflect industry dynamics”.
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