Lewes, DE -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/19/2014 -- Although 2015 is expected to be a more favourable year for the LAC region, GDP growth will still be around 3%.
The LAC region includes a number of emerging markets that offer attractive investment opportunities. Conditions vary substantially from country to country. Most governments follow pro-business, pro-growth policies, but a few are less supportive of private enterprise. The most promising telecom markets for prospective investors are mobile telephony, fixed and mobile broadband, and pay TV. Also, several countries are developing ambitious national broadband projects, which require substantial investment.
Brazil, LAC's largest market, is the region's most popular investment destination. Its telecom regulatory environment is one of the most favourable in Latin America for investors. The provision of telecom services is simply linked to acquiring an authorisation from the regulator.
Like the rest of the world, LAC is turning increasingly towards mobile solutions and away from the traditional telephone. In fact, the region is well ahead of the world average, having reached an estimated 115% mobile penetration at end-2013 against a global rate of around 96%.
However, about 80% of LAC's mobile subscribers are on prepaid plans.
LTE networks, dubbed 4G, have been spreading across LAC at an impressive rate. The first LAC country to see LTE was Puerto Rico, where three companies launched services in November 2011. Since then, more and more operators have entered the LTE market. Altogether, 38 networks have been deployed in 18 countries, and another 42 operators are planning LTE launches. The region has passed the two-million-subscriber milestone.
About three quarters of LAC's LTE subscribers are in Brazil, where concerted endeavours are being made to prepare the country technologically before it hosts the 2014 FIFA cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.
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Despite a low 18% teledensity (in most Western European countries teledensity ranges between 40% and 60%), fixed-lines in service have grown little since 2001, with consumers favouring mobile devices over traditional phones. New entrants using VoIP, wireless technologies, or triple play solutions are attracting a growing number of subscribers, but their market share remains comparatively small. Almost invariably, the incumbents continue to dominate the fixed line industry.
The popularity of social networks is driving sales in a booming smartphone market. Social phones, which bridge the gap between traditional phones and smartphones, are extremely popular in LAC, as they allow access to mail, Twitter, and Facebook.
Smartphone penetration across the region is escalating; it was an estimated 20% at end-2013, and it is forecast to reach 44% by 2017.
Thanks to the increasing availability of lower cost models, smartphones are becoming more accessible to middle and lower income groups.
This report includes scenario-based forecasting for the fixed-line, mobile and broadband markets in the major Latin American countries.
Scenario forecasting presents us with an opportunity to address the market variables and their likely impact on future growth. Essentially, our scenario forecasts provide bands between higher and lower limits within which growth is expected to occur.
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