Overview of 3G in South America

According to statistics released by industry analyst Informa Telecoms & Media this week, there were more than 6.8 million active WCDMA connections across Latin America at the end of March 2009, an increase of 50 per cent in just one quarter.

Possibly the most striking growth of all has been in Brazil, where there were 3.8 million WCDMA subscriptions at the end of March 2009, up from 2.2 million three months earlier.

The analyst predicts that there will be more than 15 million WCDMA subscriptions in Latin America at the end of 2009, or less than 3 per cent of the total 522 million mobile subscriptions in the region. However, WCDMA subscriptions are forecast to grow to 320 million at the end of 2014, or 46 per cent of the region’s 689 million predicted total mobile subscriptions at that time.

While the region’s operators are focused primarily on 3G today, mobile broadband technologies such as HSPA, HSPA+ and LTE will be on their technology migration paths as they continue to expand next-generation services in order to offset falling voice revenues with higher data revenues. However, LTE deployments in Latin America are expected to be a challenge since spectrum is congested in many areas.

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