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3G connections to surpass 2G by 2015/16 in Latin America

Sometime between 2015 and 2016, 3G connections will surpass 2G in Latin America. After that point, 3G connections could rise to reach 58% of total accesses by 2017; 2G will still represent 37%, while LTE will account for 5%. These projections were showed at this year’s Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, which contains predictions for the period from 2012 to 2017.

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However, according to Anderson A. André, Cisco Systems operations director for the service provider segment, the increase in LTE connections will boost the growth of mobile data traffic, since LTE users tend to consume more. In fact, video streaming is set to make up the most traffic.

“In Brazil, by 2017, about 5% of total connections will be LTE, but these 5% will be responsible for 30% of mobile data traffic,” André said.

The move toward LTE is one of the trends expected in coming years. In addition to the growth of more advanced telecom networks, Latin American mobile data traffic is expected to increase 13-fold from 2012 to 2017.

The next question is how carriers will prepare to meet the growing video and data demand. André believes that they will choose to offload 3G and LTE traffic with W-Fi equipment.

“They would prefer to use Wi-Fi networks because it is cheaper than other options [femtocells, DAS],” André said.

According to Cisco’s Virtual Networking Index, 27% of all traffic in Brazil will be offloaded by 2017, and 90% of mobile data traffic from portable devices will be via W-Fi. “Operators are building their Wi-Fi networks as they install their cellular antennas,” he said.

In addition to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, IDC released a survey about the broadband landscape. According to the consultant firm, by 2016, Brazil might achieve 39.2 million broadband connections, 31.5% of which will be mobile. Also, of fixed line connections, 69.3% will have speeds faster than 2.0 Mbps.

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