Latin America - Mobile Infrastructure

Publication Overview

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

For information on Latin American Mobile Operators see separate report:- Latin America - Mobile Network Operators and MVNOs

Researcher:- Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- June 2016 (2nd Edition)

Executive Summary

Spectrum auctions improving LTE rollouts across Latin American

In recent quarters mobile network operators in Latin America have been under increasing pressure to develop revenue growth. This can partly be attributed to unfavourable currency exchanges, but it is also exacerbated by poorly performing economies. Most countries in the region have seen stagnant or at best low economic in 2015 and into 2016, while those of Brazil and Venezuela have been particularly badly affected. Political turmoil in these countries suggests that potential economic recovery is some time off. The telecom sector has been impacted by these pressures, as customers gear down spending on services.

In addition to economic pressures, operators are seeing lower revenue as a result of regulated voice and data tariffs, ongoing reductions in terminations rates, and lower SMS traffic in the wake of customer adoption for OTT messaging services. Operators are responding by maintaining investment programs aimed at further developing mobile data and broadband services. As a result, non-SMS data revenue is steadily increasing as a proportion of total mobile revenue.

With 3G almost universally available, the emphasis has been on developing the capabilities of HSPA and LTE infrastructure. Most operators by mid-2016 provided LTE population coverage of between 60% and 80%. This will be extended further to the end of 2016 and into 2017. Following a number of recent spectrum auctions, including that in Mexico in February 2016, additional spectrum resources are being made available to operators which will enable them to improve network capacity. Most licences have conditions attached, which often include requirements to host MVNOs but also, commonly, to extend coverage to rural and underserved regions.

A range of technologies are being deployed to improve network infrastructure. In May 2016 Telefónica Mexico deployed Ericsson’s Radio Dot System to improve mobile coverage and signal strength in areas such as shopping malls, airports and commercial buildings in Mexico City. Vendors are also deploying carrier aggregation technologies to push data rates to 300Mb/s and upwards, as also LTE Broadcast technology which is expected to be widely deployed during the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

These efforts are helping to keep up with demand as consumers increasingly adopt OTT video services, themselves facilitated by the popularity of smartphones equipped with larger screens which are beginning to supplant tablets in the device market. Commonly, data traffic doubled or tripled for most operators in the region in the year to March 2016. This trend is set to continue for the next few years, and though market competition and pricing pressure will slow data revenue growth the data sector will soon become the key component of total mobile revenue, thus further stimulating investment in mobile infrastructure.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Regional statistical overview of mobile subscribers
  • 2. Argentina
    • 2.1 Market analysis
    • 2.2 Digital networks
      • 2.2.1 Third Generation (3G; UMTS)
      • 2.2.2 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
    • 2.3 Other infrastructure developments
      • 2.3.1 Mobile satellite
  • 3. Belize
    • 3.1 Overview of Belize’s mobile market
    • 3.2 LTE
  • 4. Bolivia
    • 4.1 Market analysis
    • 4.2 Third Generation (3G)
    • 4.3 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
  • 5. Brazil
    • 5.1 Market analysis
    • 5.2 Mobile technologies
    • 5.3 Analogue networks
    • 5.4 Digital networks
      • 5.4.1 GSM
      • 5.4.2 3G
      • 5.4.3 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
      • 5.4.4 5G developments
    • 5.5 Other infrastructure developments
      • 5.5.1 Femtocells
      • 5.5.2 Satellite mobile
    • 5.6 Machine-to-Machine (M2M)
  • 6. Chile
    • 6.1 Market analysis
    • 6.2 Overview
    • 6.3 Digital networks
      • 6.3.1 GSM
      • 6.3.2 Third Generation (3G) mobile
      • 6.3.3 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
    • 6.4 Other infrastructure developments
      • 6.4.1 Mobile satellite
  • 7. Colombia
    • 7.1 Market analysis
    • 7.2 Digital networks
      • 7.2.1 GSM
      • 7.2.2 3G/UMTS
      • 7.2.3 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
    • 7.3 Other infrastructure developments
      • 7.3.1 Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE)
      • 7.3.2 Satellite mobile
  • 8. Costa Rica
    • 8.1 Market analysis – latest developments
    • 8.2 Overview
    • 8.3 Digital networks
      • 8.3.1 Third Generation (3G)
      • 8.3.2 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
  • 9. Cuba
    • 9.1 Overview of Cuba’s mobile market
  • 10. Dominican Republic
    • 10.1 Market analysis
    • 10.2 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
    • 10.3 High capacity mobile voice/data services (1xRTT)
    • 10.4 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
  • 11. Ecuador
    • 11.1 Overview
    • 11.2 Digital networks
      • 11.2.1 GSM/CDMA
    • 11.3 3G
    • 11.4 LTE
  • 12. El Salvador
    • 12.1 Market analysis – latest developments
    • 12.2 Overview
    • 12.3 Digital networks
      • 12.3.1 Third generation (3G)
      • 12.3.2 Mobile satellite
      • 12.3.3 HSPA
  • 13. Guatemala
    • 13.1 Market analysis
    • 13.2 Analogue networks
    • 13.3 Digital networks
      • 13.3.1 Third generation (3G) mobile
      • 13.3.2 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
    • 13.4 Other infrastructure developments
      • 13.4.1 Mobile satellite
  • 14. Guyana
    • 14.1 Market analysis
    • 14.2 Digital networks
    • 14.3 GSM
      • 14.3.1 Satellite mobile
  • 15. Haiti
    • 15.1 Market analysis
  • 16. Honduras
    • 16.1 Market analysis
    • 16.2 Digital networks
      • 16.2.1 GSM/3G
    • 16.3 Third generation (3G) mobile
    • 16.4 LTE
  • 17. Jamaica
    • 17.1 Introduction
    • 17.2 Long-term-Evolution (LTE)
  • 18. Mexico
    • 18.1 Market analysis
    • 18.2 Digital networks
      • 18.2.1 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
    • 18.3 Other infrastructure developments
      • 18.3.1 Open networks
      • 18.3.2 Satellite mobile
      • 18.3.3 Push-to-Talk (PTT)
  • 19. Nicaragua
    • 19.1 Market analysis
    • 19.2 Digital networks
      • 19.2.1 Third generation (3G) mobile
      • 19.2.2 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
    • 19.3 Other infrastructure developments
      • 19.3.1 Mobile satellite
  • 20. Panama
    • 20.1 Overview of Panama’s mobile market
    • 20.2 Overview
    • 20.3 Third Generation (3G) mobile networks (UMTS)
    • 20.4 HSPA+
    • 20.5 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
    • 20.6 Satellite broadband
  • 21. Paraguay
    • 21.1 Market analysis
    • 21.2 Digital networks
      • 21.2.1 Third generation (3G) mobile
      • 21.2.2 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
    • 21.3 Other infrastructure developments
      • 21.3.1 Mobile satellite
  • 22. Peru
    • 22.1 Market analysis
    • 22.2 Introduction
    • 22.3 Digital networks
      • 22.3.1 Second Generation (2G) mobile (GSM/CDMA/iDEN)
      • 22.3.2 Third Generation (3G) mobile (UMTS)
      • 22.3.3 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
    • 22.4 Other infrastructure developments
      • 22.4.1 Mobile satellite
  • 23. Puerto Rico
    • 23.1 Market analysis
    • 23.2 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
  • 24. Suriname
    • 24.1 Market analysis
    • 24.2 Overview
    • 24.3 Other infrastructure developments
      • 24.3.1 Mobile satellite
  • 25. Uruguay
    • 25.1 Market analysis
    • 25.2 Digital networks
    • 25.3 3G
    • 25.4 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
    • 25.5 Mobile satellite
  • 26. Venezuela
    • 26.1 Market analysis
    • 26.2 Digital networks
      • 26.2.1 Third Generation (3G) mobile
      • 26.2.2 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
    • 26.3 Other infrastructure developments
      • 26.3.1 CDMA
      • 26.3.2 Mobile satellite
      • Table 1 – Latin America – total mobile subscribers and penetration - 1998 – 2016
      • Table 2 – Latin America countries – mobile subscribers, penetration - 2012 – 2016
      • Table 3 – Latin America countries – mobile broadband subscribers - 2012 - 2016
      • Table 4 – Latin America countries – mobile broadband penetration - 2012 - 2016
      • Table 5 – Brazil - Mobile market share by technology – 2004 - 2016
      • Table 6 – Brazil - GSM subscribers – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 7 – Brazil 3G municipal coverage – 2008 - 2016
      • Table 8 – Brazil 3G subscribers and market share of all mobile subscribers – 2008 - 2016
      • Table 9 – Brazil LTE subscribers – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 10 – Brazil LTE subscribers by operator – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 11 – Brazil LTE subscriber market share by operator – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 12 – Brazil M2M terminals (standard) – 2008 – 2016
      • Table 13 – Chile - 2G subscribers – 2013 - 2015
      • Table 14 – Chile - 3G subscribers and penetration – 2006 - 2015
      • Table 15 – Chile - Operators’ 3G market share – 2009 - 2015
      • Table 16 – Chile - Active LTE subscribers – 2013 - 2015
      • Table 17 – Colombia - 3G subscribers – 2010 - 2015
      • Table 18 – Colombia - LTE subscribers – 2012 - 2015
      • Table 19 – Costa Rica - Average traffic per mobile subscriber - 2011 - 2014
      • Table 20 – Costa Rica - Mobile market share by operator - 2011 - 2014
      • Table 21 – Costa Rica - Mobile market traffic - 2011 - 2016
      • Table 22 – Costa Rica - Mobile revenue by service - 2011 - 2016
      • Table 23 – Costa Rica - Proportion of mobile revenue by type - 2011 - 2016
      • Table 24 – Proportion of mobile subscribers by technology – 2001 - 2015
      • Table 25 – Ecuador - GSM subscribers – 2003 - 2015
      • Table 26 – Ecuador - 3G subscribers – 2008 - 2015
      • Table 27 – Ecuador - HSPA+ subscribers – 2012 - 2015
      • Table 28 – Ecuador - LTE subscribers – 2014 - 2015
      • Exhibit 1 – Brazil - 3G network launches by operator – 2007 - 2008
      • Exhibit 2 – Haiti - Mobile banking
      • Exhibit 3 – Honduras - Spectrum band allocations for LTE - 2013
      • Exhibit 4 – Honduras - Spectrum auction awards – October 2013

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Number of pages 79

Status Current

Last updated 1 Jun 2016
Update History

Analyst: Henry Lancaster

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