Trade association the GSMA tipped the Latin American telecoms market to reach 15 million 5G connections by 2022, as the continent recently saw network launches in Brazil and Uruguay and spectrum auctions lined up next year.
In a statement, the GSMA said spectrum auctions have been held in Chile with more expected next year in Brazil and potentially Colombia and the Dominican Republic. It noted the “key to success” to high 5G penetration was fair pricing of spectrum by regulators to not discourage investment.
Around 62 million 5G connections were forecast by 2025 in the GSMA report, ‘The Mobile Economy Latin America 2020, which represents a 10% adoption rate. In that same year, 4G will account for 67% of connections.
Key features of 5G such as higher download speeds and ultra-low latency, were noted to push innovative solutions for enterprises to boost productivity in the region after the Covid-19 pandemic.
The GSMA noted the mobile ecosystem generated 7% GDP in Latin America, contributing $421 billion of economic value and created 1.4 million jobs.
Three key trends were highlighted to be shaping the digital landscape: private networks by enterprises, IoT, and fintech.
Around 93% of the population are covered with a mobile broadband network which reflects investment from operators over the last decade. But 38% of the covered population has yet to use mobile internet to other barriers. This highlights the importance of governments to push public policies for digital conclusion, said the GSMA.
Policy recommendations from the trade body included: Removing legacy regulation and encouraging regulatory simplification; fostering dialogue between Congress, regulatory authorities, sectoral policymakers, and the private sector to create consistent national digital agendas; building a fiscal policy that encourages investments and the affordability of services and devices; planning long-term spectrum policies, focusing on digital inclusion and innovation rather than revenue maximization.