This annual report offers a wealth of information on the Mobile Communications and Mobile Data market, covering:
Trends, Analysis, Mobile Players
Subscribers, Penetration, Prepaid/Postpaid
Spectrum Auctions, Developments, Govt. Policies
Infrastructure, GSM, CDMA, GSM
Mobile Data Services, SMS, MMS, WAP, M-Commerce
High-Speed Mobile, GPRS, EDGE, 1xRTT, 1xEV-DO
Satellite Mobile, Location-Based Services, Push-to-Talk
The Latin American and Caribbean economy grew by 4.5% in 2005, and the region’s per capita GDP is estimated to have risen by about 3%. All Latin American countries recorded positive growth rates, ranging from 1.8% in Haiti to 9.3% in Venezuela.
Economic expansion is expected to continue unabated in 2006, and ease slightly in 2007. GDP growth for Latin America and the Caribbean is projected to be 4.6% in 2006, and 4.1% in 2007.
The drive towards consolidation, witnessed in 2004, continued in 2005-2006, with América Móvil buying mobile operations in Chile, Peru, and Paraguay; Telecom Italia divesting its investments in Chile, Peru, and Venezuela; and Verizon deciding to pull out of the region altogether. In April 2006, Verizon agreed to sell Verizon Dominicana (Dominican Republic), Telecomunicaciones de Puerto Rico, and CANTV (Venezuela) to América Móvil and Telmex.
While fixed lines stagnate, the mobile market continues to grow. In early 2006, there were around 241 million mobile phones in Latin America compared with approximately 96 million fixed-line phones. Paraguay leads the trend, with five times more mobile than fixed-line subscribers.
Mobile telephony has become one of the fastest growing industries in Latin America, surging by 42% in 2004 and by 38% in 2005.
Regional mobile penetration stood at around 43% in early 2006, but varies greatly from country to country, with Jamaica, Chile, and Argentina recording the highest rates (apart from the small Caribbean islands) at around 93%, 70%, and 54% respectively, while Haiti and Cuba languish at 5% and 1% respectively. Some of the Caribbean islands have mobile penetration rates of over 100%, the highest of all being Turks & Caicos at 230%.
In early 2006, three multinational operators served about 77% of Latin America’s mobile market: América Móvil, Telefónica Móviles, and Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM).
In April 2005, Telefónica Móviles adopted the Movistar brandname for all of its operations (except for Brazil, where the Vivo brand was retained) in order to create a unified image internationally. The company manages companies in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
TDMA, traditionally the leading mobile technology in Latin America, was overtaken by GSM in March 2005, and by CDMA in late 2005. The number of TDMA subscribers in the region has been falling since 2004.
In 2005, TDMA subscribers decreased by 21%, CDMA subscribers increased by 41%, and GSM subscribers soared by 133%.
At end-2005, the number of GSM subscriber was more than double the number of CDMA subscribers. Every country in Latin America and the Caribbean (except Haiti) enjoys GSM-based mobile services. In terms of GSM subscriber numbers, Latin America was one of the fastest growing regions in the world in 2005.
In early 2006, EDGE technology was being rolled out or was already in service in approximately 30 Latin American and Caribbean countries, including Argentina, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad & Tobago, and Uruguay.
In early 2006, Latin America had 39% of the world’s CDMA 2000 1xEV-DO networks. Countries with commercially operating cellular 1xEV-DO services included Bermuda, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Guatemala, and Venezuela. In Argentina and Brazil, 450MHz CDMA 2000 1x and 1xEV-DO networks have been rolled out for WLL.
In August 2005, the Brazilian telecom regulator announced that it would publish the bidding rules for the sale of 3G licences by the middle of 2006, and would start the auction after the October 2006 General Elections. It stated that 3G services would most likely become available in Brazil by late 2008 or early 2009. In September 2005, Uruguay’s state-owned incumbent, Antel, began to trial a 3G (UMTS) service, with the aim of launching it commercially before the end of 2006.
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