LTE in Latin America faces challenges

LTE in Latin America faces challenges

13 MAY 2015

LIVE FROM MOBILE 360 LATIN AMERICA: While there is growing momentum around 4G in Latin America, there are a range of regulatory and economic challenges which still need to be overcome, according to new GSMA Intelligence research.

There were 39 operators in the region with live LTE networks by March 2015, covering 15 of the 22 countries. But despite this, 4G only accounted for 2.4 per cent of the total 683 million mobile connections in Latin America in Q1 2015, compared with a global average of 8.4 per cent, meaning that the migration to 4G is taking place more slowly than the earlier move to 3G.

This was attributed to a number of factors, including the insufficient allocation of suitable 4G spectrum (especially below 1GHz); the difficulties in deploying infrastructure to meet current stringent coverage obligations; and a “challenging macroeconomic environment” which has discouraged subscribers from upgrading.

Noting that the improved service quality offered by 4G will be key to driving mobile broadband access across the region, Sebastian Cabello, head of GSMA Latin America, said: “We therefore call on policymakers in the region to address the barriers to sustainable mobile broadband deployment in order to stimulate continued investment in both 3G and 4G networks.”

GSMA Intelligence forecasts that 4G will account for 28 per cent of mobile connections in Latin America by 2020.

The full report can be downloaded here.

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Steve Costello

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