LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS AMERICAS 2017: 4G accounts for approximately a quarter of mobile connections in Latin America, almost doubling from a year earlier, due to strong 4G adoption in large markets such as Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, according to the GSMA’s Mobile Trends Report.
In Brazil, 35 per cent of connections are running on 4G networks, one of the highest 4G adoption rates in the Latin America region.
This has resulted in an uplift in ARPU levels for operators, following several years of decline. GSMA Intelligence calculates that mobile service revenue in Latin America will grow 4 per cent year-on-year in the current quarter.
The report also revealed there are now 690 million mobile connections in Latin America, with smartphones accounting for 60 per cent, thanks to a decline in prices and operators offering subsidies and finance offerings.
This, coupled with the region’s accelerating migration to 4G, is helping to fuel a surge in mobile-based services such as social media across the region, the report found.
“Smartphones accounted for fewer than one in ten connections as recently as 2012, so we have seen extremely strong growth over the last few years, which has helped migrate Latin American mobile subscribers over to faster 4G networks,” said Sebastian Cabello, head of Latin America, GSMA.
He said smartphones have been instrumental in establishing Latin America as one of the world’s largest consumers of social media, adding that the region’s mobile ecosystem is also supporting a fast-growing e-commerce environment, and a vibrant tech startup ecosystem based out of major regional hubs such as Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and Mexico City.
The GSMA quoted a report about Tecnolatinas (technology-based private companies born in the region) as finding that Latin America’s tech startup ecosystem is valued at $37.7 billion.
The report highlighted seven emerging areas that provide major growth opportunities: FinTech, agriculture and food tech; artificial intelligence and automation; synthetic biology; renewable energies; virtual and augmented reality; and the Internet of Things.