Top 10 Latin American telecom stories for 2012


As 2012 ends, let’s take a look at some of the leading Latin American telecom stories for the year. Below is a list of the most viewed articles in 2012, but first, let’s examine some of the major topics for the region. LTE deployment certainly was the hottest issue in Latin America this year—and it will continue to receive a lot of attention over the next couple of years. Smaller telecom operators made the first soft and niche launches. Now LTE deployment is expanding as the governments of Brazil and Chile set frequency band spectrum auctions.

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Carriers are making investments, preparing and in some cases, launching their LTE operations. The biggest driver could be Brazil, since four big Brazilian carriers need to launch services in cities that will host Confederations Cup next year. To cover this, RCR Wireless News released a feature report about the LTE roll out across the region.

Even with the start of LTE deployment, Latin American and Caribbean wireless carriers continue to focus on the expansion and improvement of 3G networks. Wi-Fi, femtocells, microwaves and towers are expected to receive the largest share of telecom operators’ investment and effort.

Carriers’ 3G networks have a lot of room to grow. Although mobile penetration in Latin America has surpassed 100%, the vast majority of mobile connections (81%) are prepaid and 2G (GSM with 81% of total connections and CDMA with 2%). As smartphone prices continue to drop, the number of 3G users is expected to increase. RCR Wireless News’ feature report: “Mobile broadband rush propels Latin American infrastructure market” addresses this issue.

MVNOs were also in the news as Brazil passed new MVNO regulations, and Virgin Mobile announced its Latin American operations and launched services in Chile. Although Virgin Mobile’s launches have been delayed, the arrival of a new player is seen as a good development for  wireless market competition. Read the feature report.

Antenna legislation was in the news too as both Chile and Brazil adopted new regulations.

2012 top 10 most viewed Latin American stories

      1. Smartphone penetration: 24% in Argentina, 20% in Mexico, 14% in Brazil
      2. Reality Check: Eight Brazilian telecom issues to watch
      3. Reality Check: Femtocells versus Wi-Fi hotspots—What is the best solution for Brazilian carriers?
      4. Qualcomm: Small cells will cost less than smartphones
      5. AWS, 2.6 GHz to be most common LTE frequencies in Latin America
      6. Reality Check: Brazil’s mobile broadband scenario in 2011
      7. Nextel launches 3G network in Mexico, covering 34 cities
      8. Telefónica to use Alcatel-Lucent femtocells in Europe, South America
      9. Brazil suspends some TIM, Oi and Claro sales due to customer complaints
      10. Nextel’s 3G plans could limit competitive advantage across Latin America


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