Latin America – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband Market Growth & Opportunities


This report is essential reading for those needing high-level strategic information and objective analysis on the Telecom Market in the Latin America and Caribbean region. It provides further information on:

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Facts, figures, and statistics;
  • Government policies and regulatory issues;
  • Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
  • Fixed-line market and infrastructure;
  • Broadband market (including ADSL, cable modem, FttH, and WiMAX);
  • Internet and VoIP;
  • Convergence and triple play solutions;
  • Broadcasting (including cable TV, satellite-based TV services, and digital terrestrial TV);
  • Mobile market (including 3G, LTE/4G, and mobile broadband);
  • Scenario forecasts for the fixed-line, mobile, and broadband markets for the years 2015 and 2020.

Notes on scenario forecasts

The following notes provide some background to our scenario forecasting methodology:

  • This report includes what we term scenario forecasts. By describing long-range scenarios we identify a band within which we expect market growth to occur.
  • The projections shown in the tables in this report are based on our own historical information, as well as on telecommunication sector statistics from official and non-official, national and international sources. We assume a possible deviation of 15%-20% around this data.
  • All statistics for GDP, revenue, etc are shown in US$, in order to maintain consistency within and between markets. At the same time we acknowledge that this can introduce some irregularities.

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Executive Summary

LTE networks spread across Latin America and the Caribbean

This report includes scenario-based forecasting for the fixed-line, mobile and broadband markets in the major Latin American countries. Scenario forecasting presents us with an opportunity to address the market variables and their likely impact on future growth. Essentially, our scenario forecasts provide bands between higher and lower limits within which growth is expected to occur.

Economic background

The 2014 economic outlook for LAC is uninspiring, with GDP forecast to grow by only 2.5%, well behind the projected world average of 3.6%. Although 2015 is expected to be a more favourable year for the region, GDP growth will still be almost one percentage point behind the global average: 3.0% as opposed to the world’s 3.9%. The region’s best performers in 2014/2015 will be Panama, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Colombia, where GDP growth is expected to top 4.5%. Panama outshines every other country in the region, with 7.2% growth
forecast for 2014 and 6.9% for 2015.

Investment opportunities

The LAC region includes a number of emerging markets that offer attractive investment opportunities. Conditions vary substantially from country to country. Most governments follow pro-business, pro-growth policies, but a few are less supportive of private enterprise. The most promising telecom markets for prospective investors are mobile telephony, fixed and mobile broadband, and pay TV. Also, several countries are developing ambitious national broadband projects, which require substantial investment.

Brazil, LAC’s largest market, is the region’s most popular investment destination. Its telecom regulatory environment is one of the most favourable in Latin America for investors. The provision of telecom services is simply linked to acquiring an authorisation from the regulator.

Privatisation and competition

All governments in the LAC region have introduced some form of liberalisation, especially in the value-added and mobile markets. A few countries still have a monopoly in the local fixed-line telephony sector, notably Guyana, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

In the broadband sector, most incumbents have secured a virtual monopoly in the delivery of ADSL access. The only competition is across technologies, from cable modem and mobile broadband. Local Loop Unbundling is rare in this region, and wholesale activity not very well developed. The concern governments face is the shortage of fixed line infrastructure, tied to the fear that operators will cease to invest in their network if they are forced to unbundle their local loop or lower wholesale prices.

The most competitive telecom sector is the mobile one, with most countries having at least two or three providers contending for market share.

Fixed-line market

Despite a low 18% teledensity (in most Western European countries teledensity ranges between 40% and 60%), fixed-lines in service have grown little since 2001, with consumers favouring mobile devices over traditional phones. New entrants using VoIP, wireless technologies, or triple play solutions are attracting a growing number of subscribers, but their market share remains comparatively small. Almost invariably, the incumbents continue to dominate the fixed line industry.

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