GSMA, a leading industry body for telecom operators and mobile network vendors, has released a report on 5G deployment in Latin America.
Operators have launched 5G service in Brazil and Uruguay. Government is in the process of conducting 5G spectrum auctions in Chile. 5G spectrum auction is expected in Brazil, Colombia and Dominican Republic by 2021.
The latest GSMA report called The Mobile Economy Latin America 2020 forecasts that there will be 62 million 5G connections across the region by 2025, representing a near 10 percent adoption rate. By that same year, 4G will account for 67 percent of connections.
In 2019, the mobile ecosystem generated 7 percent of GDP in Latin America – a contribution of USD 421 billion of economic value and around 1.4 million jobs.
Three key trends shaping the digital landscape
5G: the enterprise networks opportunity
There is a growing trend towards the deployment of private networks by enterprises in sectors such as manufacturing, mining and, utilities. Operators are looking to address the needs of these enterprises with simple, out-of-the-box solutions, capturing early movers in Industry 4.0.
IoT: a local focus
The IoT market in Latin America will reach 1.2 billion connections by 2025, driven by growth in the enterprise segment, mainly for smart manufacturing and smart building solutions. Operators are deploying IoT solutions in the auto, telematics and bioenergy industries and, cities such as Buenos Aires, Santiago, Medellin and Sao Paulo are implementing smart city initiatives.
The rise of fintech
Smartphone adoption in Latin America will reach 72 percent in 2020 and 80 percent by 2025. This landscape, together with other factors such as low banking penetration rates, has led to the rise of numerous fintech firms in the region.
Around 93 percent of the population is covered by a mobile broadband network, reflecting operators’ investments over the last decade. However, approximately 38 percent of the population covered but not yet using mobile internet face barriers other than coverage.
Regulators should aim to make available 80–100 MHz of contiguous spectrum per operator in prime 5G mid bands (e.g. 3.5 GHz) and around 1 GHz per operator in high bands (e.g. 26 GHz). Lower bands (e.g. 600 MHz) are also key to set the stage for 5G to reach more people, due to their greater coverage capabilities.