2008 Latin America - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in Southern Cone

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Last updated: 4 Mar 2008 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 139

Analyst: Stephen McNamara

Publication Overview

The Southern Cone countries are Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, the most prosperous countries in Latin America. This annual report offers a wealth of information on the trends and developments in fixed-line telephony, mobile telephony, Internet, broadband, digital TV, and converging media including VoIP and IPTV developments. Subjects include:

·         Key satistics and forecasts;

·         Market and industry overviews;

·         Government policies and regulatory issues;

·         Historical information;

·         Major players (fixed-line, mobile, broadband, and pay TV);

·         Telecom infrastructure (national and international, fixed and wireless);

·         Mobile voice and data markets;

·         Internet market and VoIP;

·         Broadband (DSL, cable, wireless);

·         Convergence, pay TV, and developments in digital TV.



Researcher - Lucia Bibolini

Current publication date: March 2008 (7th Edition)

Next publication: February 2009


Executive Summary

BuddeComm’s Annual Publication on the Southern Cone countries, 2008 Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in Latin America – the Southern Cone Countries, profiles the three southernmost nations in Latin America.


Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay are Latin America’s most prosperous countries, and this is reflected in the development of telecommunications. These nations are the regional leaders in a number of key indicators, such as standard of living, quality of life, adult literacy, teledensity, and Internet uptake. Argentina and Uruguay have the highest mobile penetration in Latin America, bar a few Caribbean islands, and Chile is the region’s Internet and broadband leader. All three markets present good investment opportunities, particularly in the more advanced technologies such as 3G, convergence, IP-based communications, WiMAX, and digital TV.


This report presents a concise overview of sector liberalisation and privatisation in the Southern Cone sub-region, government initiatives, and regulations in the telecom industry, the development of product offerings for fixed-line, mobile, broadband, and pay-TV technologies, essential country and operator statistics in all telecom sectors, and the emergence of convergence and triple play.


Key highlights

·         While Chile and Argentina have fully privatised and liberalised their telecoms markets, Uruguay’s local fixed-line sector remains a state-owned monopoly. Nevertheless, Uruguay enjoys the highest fixed-line teledensity in Latin America, and its other telecom markets are fully open to competition.

·         The fixed-line sector in the Southern Cone suffers from fixed-mobile substitution. Argentina, with 23% teledensity, is the only country where fixed lines in service are growing, but only by 3% annually. For the country overview, see chapter 1, page 1.

·         Mobile telephony, on the other hand, has been soaring in the Southern Cone, especially in Uruguay, which had a late development in the mobile market. Competition between operators is keen in all three countries, and penetration has either reached or is close to reaching the 100% mark. For the country overview, see chapter 3, page 100.

·         The broadband market has been booming, particularly in Chile, where penetration is the highest in Latin America. Argentina’s penetration is the second highest, and Uruguay is not far behind. Although all three markets are open to competition, lack of local loop unbundling has given the incumbent operators a dominant position, particularly in Uruguay, where there is no cable modem broadband.

·         All three countries have developed WiMAX networks. Telmex Chile launched Latin America’s first mobile WiMAX e service in October 2007. And all three countries have witnessed the launch of 3G mobile services – Chile in December 2006, Argentina in May 2007, and Uruguay in July 2007.

·         Convergence has had a different development in each one of the three countries. Chile is the regional leader, with VTR – Latin America’s first triple player – and several other companies all offering triple play packages. In Argentina, a telecom company must ally with a cable TV operator to offer converged services. And in Uruguay, cable TV companies are not allowed to offer either Internet or voice services, and have not been able to develop any convergence solutions.

·         Telefónica Chile was the first company in Latin America to launch IPTV, in June 2007. Uruguay’s Antel hopes to launch IPTV services, but in Argentina, regulations prevent telcos from providing pay TV services.


Mobile penetration and annual change in Southern Cone countries – September 2007



Annual change










(Source: BuddeComm)


For those needing high-level strategic information and objective analysis on this region, this report is essential reading and gives further information on:

·         Regulatory developments and spectrum auctions;

·         Fixed-line developments, including the adoption of alternative technologies such as VoIP;

·         Mobile telephony growth, launch of 3G, and the up-take of mobile data services;

·         Broadband growth and the incursion into wireless technologies such as WiMAX;

·         Convergence, triple play, High Definition TV, IPTV, and other new technologies;

·         Scenario forecasts for the fixed line, mobile, and broadband markets and of Argentina and Chile.


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