Feature Article

November 28, 2012

Low-cost Smart Devices Increase Adoption of Mobile Broadband Services in Latin America

The only thing stopping the full adoption of smart devices around the world is the price associated with the technology. In countries where the new low-cost products were introduced, service providers were quick to build the infrastructure to provide the service required for smartphones, tablets and other consumer electronics. The move towards3G, 3.5G and 4G from 2G networks means new low-cost smart devices will be able to access content provided by telecom, entertainment and other service providers.

A new analysis from Frost & Sullivan revealed that the Latin American market will see revenue growth from $6.47 billion in 2011 to $34.41 billion by 2017.

In developing markets, wireless technology is seen as the best method of delivery for broadband access to the masses.  The cost associated with fixed technology is not seen as a viable solution and existing wireless towers are easier to upgrade to new networks. The report revealed that by the end of 2011, mobile units were responsible for 80.5 percent of broadband connections in Latin America.

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"Consumer behavior has changed in recent years, resulting in higher demand for mobile Internet to access social network applications, instant messaging, mobile voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), and many other value-added services and applications," said Frost & Sullivan Telecommunications Team Leader, Renato Pasquini.

While wireless adoption is more cost effective than fixed infrastructure, Pasquini went on to say, "The mobile broadband service requires huge investments in backbone, backhaul, and other network elements. Mobile operators need to maintain reasonable service quality and generate free cash flow, without excessively affecting network usage."

Another obstacle mobile broadband adoptions face are the regulations regarding the different broadcast spectrums available in developing countries and the learning curve of indigenous populations. While metropolitan areas have nearly full adoption, rural communities face challenges from companies that don’t provide services to their market.

Countries such as Brazil, Chile and Colombia are implementing national broadband plans to make the technology more accessible and stimulate growth across the board.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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