LIVE FROM MOBILE 360 LATIN AMERICA, MEXICO CITY: Carlos Alberto Morales Paulin, executive president of Telefonica-brand Movistar Mexico (pictured, centre), warned high spectrum costs in parts of Latin America and low profitability raised questions on the viability of 5G investment.

Speaking during a panel on digital transformation in Central and South America, he said: “There’s no question about the benefit of 5G…but the investment is very big”.

Paulin noted the existence of a perfect storm of low profit on existing services, high spectrum costs and other regulation and fees related to the new network technology.

“It is very difficult to justify the huge investment that is needed for 5G networks. That’s why I believe [we have statistics] on Latin America lagging behind the United States, Europe and even Asia on 5G,” he added.

The executive also noted industry in Latin America as a whole suffered from gaps in equality, noting there were a small number of families in several countries controlling large parts of the economy.

He later added there was still corruption in some markets which, together with the range of issues outlined, damaged cases for long-term large investments.

Elsewhere on the panel GM of IBM Mexico Eduardo Gutierrez (pictured, right) noted one of the most important elements in enabling 5G to reach its full potential in Latin America was addressing the skills gap which currently exists.

The tech giant is working with universities in the region on training in AI-related technologies and other use cases associated with intelligent connectivity.