2010 Latin American Mobile Voice and Mobile Data Market

Publication Overview

This report covers developments in the mobile voice and data markets of Latin America and the Caribbean. The countries covered in this report include: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela, and the small Caribbean island nations.

Researchers:- Lucia Bibolini and Lawrence Baker
Current publication date:- April 2010 (9th Edition)
Next publication date:- April 2011

Executive Summary

Mobile penetration in Latin America and the Caribbean is almost 90%, which is close to the world average. In South and Central America, the highest mobile penetration rates can be found in Venezuela, Uruguay, Argentina, El Salvador, Suriname, and Panama, which have all passed the 100% milestone. In the Caribbean, most of the small island nations are above the 100% mark and some are over 200%. The highest rate has been registered in Turks & Caicos, which has a baffling penetration of 380%, equivalent to more than three cell phones per person. In these countries, however, subscription numbers are sometimes pumped up by tourists or migrant workers who are not counted as part of the population. There are also places where people have one SIM card for each mobile company. Furthermore, the vast majority of Latin American mobile subscribers are prepaid.

Mobile broadband has become an important option for broadband services throughout Latin America, as it is available in many areas that have no fixed-line broadband coverage. The service is commonly used with either a USB modem that plugs into a computer, or with netbooks, notebooks, or laptops that have a built-in 3G receiver. In 2008/09, several Latin American mobile operators entered into agreements with manufacturers to launch mobile broadband plans with a netbook or notebook included.

In early 2010, there were 54 UMTS networks operating in 25 Latin American and Caribbean countries, with about 14 million subscribers. Most operators use HSPA or HSDPA technology to provide mobile broadband, multimedia downloads, and video calling services. Several companies also offer mobile TV.

Market highlights:

  • Argentina’s mobile market is the third largest in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico. In terms of mobile penetration, Argentina is the leader in South and Central America, although trailing many of the Caribbean islands. Three operators, Movistar, Claro, and Telecom Personal, run a close competition for market share. All three companies have launched 3G services over HSDPA network;
  • Venezuela is the regional leader in terms of SMS traffic, the number of text messages being about double the number of minutes the average Venezuelan talks on a mobile phone;
  • Mexico’s subscriber growth is expected to remain in single figures during 2010/11 due to a slow economic recovery and due to penetration rates exceeding 80%;
  • More and more people own two SIM cards in Chile – one for their cell phone, and one for mobile broadband.

Latin America – mobile subscribers and penetration rate − 2008 - 2009

Year

Subscribers (million)

Annual change

Penetration

2008

454.77

+19%

78.8%

2009 (e)

506.82

+11%

86.8%

(Source: BuddeComm based on ITU and Global Mobile)

Note: in all tables, annual change is the year-on-year change – eg: for 2008 (Sep), annual change is calculated as the 12-month change from Sep 2007 to Sep 2008. Dec is implied if no month is shown. Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Argentina
    • 1.1 Overview of the mobile market in Argentina
      • 1.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 1.2 Regulatory issues
      • 1.2.1 Calling Party Pays (CPP)
      • 1.2.2 Spectrum auctions
    • 1.3 Mobile technologies
      • 1.3.1 Digital
      • 1.3.2 Third Generation (3G) mobile
    • 1.4 Mobile voice services
      • 1.4.1 Prepaid services
      • 1.4.2 Satellite mobile
    • 1.5 Mobile data services
      • 1.5.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
      • 1.5.2 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
      • 1.5.3 Push-to-Talk (PTT)
      • 1.5.4 BlackBerry
      • 1.5.5 iPhone 3G
      • 1.5.6 Mobile TV
    • 1.6 Mobile content and applications
      • 1.6.1 M-Banking
  • 2. Belize
    • 2.1 Overview of the mobile market in Belize
      • 2.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 2.2 Mobile technologies and data services
  • 3. Bolivia
    • 3.1 Overview of the mobile market in Bolivia
      • 3.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 3.2 Mobile technologies
      • 3.2.1 Digital
      • 3.2.2 3G mobile
    • 3.3 Mobile voice services
      • 3.3.1 Satellite mobile
    • 3.4 Mobile data services
  • 4. Brazil
    • 4.1 Overview of the mobile market in Brazil
      • 4.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 4.2 Regulatory issues
      • 4.2.1 Regulatory background
      • 4.2.2 Privatisation of Telebrás
      • 4.2.3 Serviço Móvel Pessoal (SMP)
      • 4.2.4 Carrier preselection
      • 4.2.5 Number Portability (NP)
      • 4.2.6 Mobile consumer rights protection
      • 4.2.7 Mobile spectrum allocation and concession areas
    • 4.3 Mobile technologies
      • 4.3.1 Analogue
      • 4.3.2 Second generation (2G) mobile
      • 4.3.3 3G mobile
      • 4.3.4 Long-term evolution (LTE)
    • 4.4 Mobile voice services
      • 4.4.1 Prepaid cards
      • 4.4.2 Satellite mobile
    • 4.5 Mobile data services
      • 4.5.1 SMS
      • 4.5.2 MMS
      • 4.5.3 WAP
      • 4.5.4 PTT
    • 4.6 Mobile content and applications
      • 4.6.1 Location-Based Services (LBS)
      • 4.6.2 Mobile TV
      • 4.6.3 Gaming
  • 5. Caribbean Countries
    • 5.1 Overview of the mobile market in the Caribbean
      • 5.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 5.2 Satellite mobile
  • 6. Chile
    • 6.1 Overview of the mobile market in Chile
      • 6.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 6.2 Regulatory issues
      • 6.2.1 2G spectrum auctions
      • 6.2.2 3G spectrum auctions
      • 6.2.3 Fixed-to-mobile call charges
      • 6.2.4 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 6.2.5 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
    • 6.3 Mobile technologies
      • 6.3.1 2G mobile
      • 6.3.2 3G mobile
      • 6.3.3 LTE
    • 6.4 Mobile voice services
      • 6.4.1 Prepaid services
      • 6.4.2 Satellite mobile
    • 6.5 Mobile data services
      • 6.5.1 SMS
      • 6.5.2 MMS
      • 6.5.3 WAP
      • 6.5.4 Mobile TV
    • 6.6 Mobile content and applications
      • 6.6.1 Location-Based Services (LBS)
      • 6.6.2 Mobile marketing
  • 7. Colombia
    • 7.1 Overview of the mobile market in Colombia
      • 7.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 7.2 Regulatory issues
      • 7.2.1 Spectrum regulations and auctions
      • 7.2.2 Fixed-to-mobile call charges
    • 7.3 Mobile technologies
      • 7.3.1 Digital
      • 7.3.2 3G mobile
      • 7.3.3 Mobile data
    • 7.4 Mobile voice services
      • 7.4.1 Prepaid
      • 7.4.2 Mobile satellite
    • 7.5 Mobile messaging
      • 7.5.1 SMS
    • 7.6 Mobile broadband
  • 8. Costa Rica
    • 8.1 Overview of the mobile market in Costa Rica
      • 8.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 8.2 Mobile technologies and data services
      • 8.2.1 3G mobile
  • 9. Cuba
    • 9.1 Overview of the mobile market in Cuba
      • 9.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 9.2 Mobile technologies
  • 10. Dominican Republic
    • 10.1 Overview of the mobile (cell phone) market in the Dominican Republic
      • 10.1.1 Cell phone statistics
    • 10.2 Mobile (Cellular) data services
      • 10.2.1 High capacity cellular voice/data services (1xRTT)
      • 10.2.2 GPRS
  • 11. Ecuador
    • 11.1 Overview of the mobile market in Ecuador
      • 11.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 11.2 Regulatory issues
      • 11.2.1 Mobile licence renewals in 2008
      • 11.2.2 Accusations levied against América Móvil
    • 11.3 Mobile technologies and data services
      • 11.3.1 Digital
      • 11.3.2 3G mobile
    • 11.4 Mobile data services
  • 12. El Salvador
    • 12.1 Overview of the mobile market in El Salvador
      • 12.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 12.2 Mobile technologies
      • 12.2.1 Overview
      • 12.2.2 3G mobile
    • 12.3 Mobile broadband
    • 12.4 Mobile satellite
  • 13. Guatemala
    • 13.1 Overview of the mobile market in Guatemala
      • 13.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 13.2 Mobile technologies
      • 13.2.1 Overview
      • 13.2.2 3G mobile
    • 13.3 Mobile voice services
      • 13.3.1 Prepaid
    • 13.4 Mobile broadband
    • 13.5 Mobile satellite
  • 14. Guyana
    • 14.1 Overview of the mobile market in Guyana
      • 14.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 14.2 Mobile technologies and mobile data services
    • 14.3 Mobile voice services
      • 14.3.1 Satellite mobile
  • 15. Haiti
    • 15.1 Overview of the mobile market in Haiti
      • 15.1.1 Mobile statistics
  • 16. Honduras
    • 16.1 Overview of the mobile market in Honduras
      • 16.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 16.2 Mobile technologies and data services
      • 16.2.1 3G mobile
  • 17. Jamaica
    • 17.1 Overview of the mobile market in Jamaica
      • 17.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 17.2 Mobile technologies
  • 18. Mexico
    • 18.1 Overview of the mobile (cell phone) market in Mexico
      • 18.1.1 Mobile market statistics
    • 18.2 Regulatory issues
      • 18.2.1 Regulatory authorities
      • 18.2.2 Competition regulation
      • 18.2.3 Interconnection
      • 18.2.4 Identity regulation
      • 18.2.5 Spectrum auctions
      • 18.2.6 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
    • 18.3 Mobile technologies
      • 18.3.1 Overview
      • 18.3.2 3G mobile
    • 18.4 Mobile voice services
      • 18.4.1 Minutes of Use (MOU)
      • 18.4.2 Prepaid
      • 18.4.3 Satellite mobile
    • 18.5 Mobile data services
      • 18.5.1 SMS Text Messaging
      • 18.5.2 MMS
      • 18.5.3 PTT
    • 18.6 Mobile content and applications
      • 18.6.1 Location-based Services (LBS)
  • 19. Nicaragua
    • 19.1 Overview of the mobile market in Nicaragua
      • 19.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 19.2 Mobile technologies and data services
      • 19.2.1 3G mobile
    • 19.3 Satellite mobile
  • 20. Panama
    • 20.1 Overview of the mobile market in Panama
      • 20.1.1 Mobile statistics
      • 20.1.2 Spectrum auction – 2008
    • 20.2 Mobile technologies and data services
      • 20.2.1 3G mobile
  • 21. Paraguay
    • 21.1 Overview of the mobile market in Paraguay
      • 21.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 21.2 Mobile technologies
      • 21.2.1 Overview
      • 21.2.2 3G mobile
    • 21.3 Mobile broadband
    • 21.4 Mobile satellite
  • 22. Peru
    • 22.1 Overview of the mobile market in Peru
      • 22.1.1 Mobile subscriber statistics
    • 22.2 Regulatory issues
      • 22.2.1 Spectrum regulations and spectrum auctions
    • 22.3 Mobile technologies
      • 22.3.1 Digital
      • 22.3.2 3G mobile
    • 22.4 Mobile voice services in Peru
      • 22.4.1 Prepaid services
      • 22.4.2 Satellite mobile
    • 22.5 Mobile data services
      • 22.5.1 SMS
      • 22.5.2 MMS
      • 22.5.3 GPRS
      • 22.5.4 High capacity mobile voice/data services (1xRTT)
      • 22.5.5 PTT
  • 23. Puerto Rico
    • 23.1 Overview of the mobile market in Puerto Rico
      • 23.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 23.2 Mobile technologies
  • 24. Suriname
    • 24.1 Overview of the mobile market in Suriname
      • 24.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 24.2 Mobile technologies
    • 24.3 Mobile satellite
  • 25. Uruguay
    • 25.1 Overview of the mobile market in Uruguay
      • 25.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 25.2 Regulatory issues
      • 25.2.1 Spectrum auctions
    • 25.3 Mobile technologies
      • 25.3.1 Digital
      • 25.3.2 3G mobile
      • 25.3.3 Mobile data
    • 25.4 Mobile broadband
    • 25.5 Mobile satellite
  • 26. Venezuela
    • 26.1 Overview of the mobile market in Venezuela
      • 26.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 26.2 Regulatory issues
      • 26.2.1 Spectrum regulations and auctions
    • 26.3 Mobile technologies
      • 26.3.1 Digital
      • 26.3.2 CDMA2000 1x
      • 26.3.3 3G mobile
      • 26.3.4 Long Term Evolution (LTE)
      • 26.3.5 Mobile handsets/smart phones
    • 26.4 Mobile voice services
      • 26.4.1 Prepaid
    • 26.5 Mobile messaging
      • 26.5.1 SMS
    • 26.6 Mobile broadband
    • 26.7 Satellite mobile
  • 27. Glossary of Abbreviations
  • Table 1 – Mobile subscribers by operator and annual change in Argentina – September 2008
  • Table 2 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Argentina - 1997 - 2008
  • Table 3 – Mobile operators’ market share in Argentina - 1999 - 2008
  • Table 4 – Evolution of mobile ARPU in Argentina – major operators – 2006 - 2008
  • Table 5 – Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio in Argentina - 1999 - 2008
  • Table 6 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Belize - 1998 - 2010
  • Table 7 – Mobile market share by operator in Belize - 2005 - 2009
  • Table 8 – Mobile subscribers by operator and technology in Bolivia - 2008
  • Table 9 – Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration rate in Bolivia - 1998 - 2008
  • Table 10 – Mobile operators’ market share in Bolivia - 2003 - 2008
  • Table 11 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Brazil - 1997 - 2010
  • Table 12 – Evolution of mobile ARPU in Brazil – major operators – 2006 - 2008
  • Table 13 – Mobile subscribers by technology in Brazil – 2002 - 2009
  • Table 14 – Prepaid subscribers and market share in Brazil – 2002 - 2009
  • Table 15 – Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration in Caribbean countries - 2009
  • Table 16 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Chile – 1999 - 2010
  • Table 17 – Operator market share in Chile – 1999 - 2009
  • Table 18 – Evolution of mobile ARPU in Chile – major operators – 2006 - 2008
  • Table 19 – Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio in Chile – 1999 - 2009
  • Table 20 – SMS messages sent in Chile – 2003 - 2009
  • Table 21 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Colombia – 1997 - 2010
  • Table 22 – Mobile market share by operator in Colombia – 2002 - 2009
  • Table 23 – Evolution of mobile ARPU in Colombia – major operators – 2006 - 2008
  • Table 24 – Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio in Colombia - 2005 - 2009
  • Table 25 – Mobile subscribers by operator and technology in Costa Rica – 2008
  • Table 26 – Mobile subscribers and penetration in Costa Rica - 1998 - 2008
  • Table 27 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Cuba – 1996 - 2010
  • Table 28 – Mobile (cell phone) subscribers and penetration rate in the Dominican Republic – 2000 - 2010
  • Table 29 – Mobile subscribers by operator and technology in Ecuador – 2008
  • Table 30 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Ecuador - 1996 - 2008
  • Table 31 – Mobile operators’ market share in Ecuador – 1996 - 2008
  • Table 32 – Prepaid subscriber ratio by operator in Ecuador – 2002 - 2008
  • Table 33 – Evolution of ARPU in Ecuador – mobile operators – 2006 - 2008
  • Table 34 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in El Salvador – 1997 - 2010
  • Table 35 – Mobile operators’ market share in El Salvador – 2003 - 2009
  • Table 36 – Prepaid/postpaid ratio in El Salvador - 2002 - 2009
  • Table 37 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Guatemala – 1997 - 2010
  • Table 38 – Market share by mobile operator in Guatemala – 2000 - 2009
  • Table 39 – Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio in Guatemala – 2002 - 2009
  • Table 40 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Guyana - 1998 - 2010
  • Table 41 – Mobile market share by operator in Guyana - 2004 - 2009
  • Table 42 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Haiti - 1998 - 2010
  • Table 43 – Mobile subscribers by operator and annual change in Honduras - March 2009
  • Table 44 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Honduras - 1997 - 2009
  • Table 45 – Mobile operators’ market share in Honduras - 2002 - 2009
  • Table 46 – Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio in Honduras - 1997 - 2009
  • Table 47 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change in Jamaica – 2009
  • Table 48 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Jamaica - 2000 - 2010
  • Table 49 – Mobile market share by operator in Jamaica - 2003 - 2009
  • Table 50 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change in Mexico – 2009
  • Table 51 – Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration rate in Mexico – 2000 - 2011
  • Table 52 – Mobile market share by major operator in Mexico – 2001 - 2009
  • Table 53 – Monthly and yearly minutes of use and annual change in Mexico – 2000 - 2009
  • Table 54 – Prepaid / postpaid subscribers and annual change in Mexico – 1997 - 2009
  • Table 55 – Mobile subscribers by operator and annual change in Nicaragua - 2008
  • Table 56 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Nicaragua - 2000 - 2010
  • Table 57 – Mobile market share by operator in Nicaragua - 2002 - 2009
  • Table 58 – Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio in Nicaragua - 2003 - 2009
  • Table 59 – Mobile subscribers by operator and annual change in Panama – 2008
  • Table 60 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Panama - 1998 - 2008
  • Table 61 – Operators’ mobile market share in Panama - 2003 - 2008
  • Table 62 – Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio in Panama - 1998 - 2007
  • Table 63 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Paraguay - 1997 - 2010
  • Table 64 – Mobile operators’ market share in Paraguay - 2002 - 2009
  • Table 65 – Mobile subscribers by operator and annual change in Peru – 2008
  • Table 66 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Peru - 1997 - 2009
  • Table 67 – Mobile market share by operator in Peru – 1996 - 2009
  • Table 68 – Evolution of mobile ARPU in Peru – major operators – 2006 - 2008
  • Table 69 – Mobile market share by technology in Peru – 2004 - 2008
  • Table 70 – Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio in Peru - 2001 - 2009
  • Table 71 – SMS by operator in Peru – 2004 - 2008
  • Table 72 – MMS by operator in Peru – 2004 - 2008
  • Table 73 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Puerto Rico – 2000 - 2010
  • Table 74 – Prepaid versus postpaid market share in Puerto Rico – 2000 - 2010
  • Table 75 – Mobile market share by operator in Puerto Rico – 2003 - 2009
  • Table 76 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Suriname – 1997 - 2010
  • Table 77 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Uruguay - 1997 - 2010
  • Table 78 – Market share by mobile operators in Uruguay - 2000 - 2009
  • Table 79 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Venezuela – 1997 - 2010
  • Table 80 – Market share by mobile operators in Venezuela – 2001 - 2009
  • Table 81 – Evolution of mobile ARPU in Venezuela – major operators – 2006 - 2008
  • Table 82 – Market share of mobile market by technology in Venezuela – 2004 - 2009
  • Table 83 – Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio in Venezuela – 1997 - 2009
  • Table 84 – SMS messages sent in Venezuela – 2002 - 2009
  • Exhibit 1 – PCS auctions in Argentina – 1999
  • Exhibit 2 – Subdivision of Brazil into regions and areas
  • Exhibit 3 – Geographic distribution of frequency bands in Brazil
  • Exhibit 4 – Mobile concessions and original shareholders in Chile – 1989
  • Exhibit 5 – Colombian regions for mobile licensing
  • Exhibit 6 – Licensed mobile companies in Paraguay
  • Exhibit 7 – Mobile telephony in Venezuela – historical overview – 1991 - 2000
  • Exhibit 8 – Mobile telephony in Venezuela – licensing regions

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Number of pages 138

Status Archived

Last updated 14 Apr 2010
Update History

Analyst: Lucia Bibolini

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