Latin American market set for LTE investment into 2016
In common with other regional areas globally, mobile network operators in Latin America are gearing up for further investment in network infrastructure into 2016 as customer demand for mobile data reaches new heights. Investment has been dominated by the major regional carriers, which include América Móvil, Telefónica, Millicom, and, in the Caribbean, Digicel.
Much of this demand has been spurred by consumer adoption of OTT video services across the region, and the growing preference for viewing content on smartphones equipped with larger screens. Data traffic initiated by SVoD services is placing considerable strain on network capacity, obliging MNOs to invest in network upgrades with new technologies including LTE-Advanced. The ability of MNOs to adopt carrier aggregation technologies has been made possible by the release of spectrum in a range of bands, which are generally technology neutral. Much spectrum has been made available in the 700MHz band, released following the switch from analogue to digital broadcasting which has progressed into 2015.
Operators are also encouraged to invest in expanding their networks to provide access to services to a greater proportion of the population. This entails reaching some of those rural areas which have hitherto been deemed uncommercial and so left underserved. Operators are supported by regulatory measures which have encouraged network sharing, and by government programs which have subsidised network build in some areas as part of national broadband strategies aimed at developing universal access to services.