According to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report published this week (21 Novwember 2012), 14 million new mobile subscriptions were recorded in Latin America in Q3 reaching a total of 676 million. Ericsson estimates that another 230 million mobile subscriptions will be added by 2018.
Few of the subscriptions are currently for LTE, but that will change markedly by 2018, when Ericsson predicts 10% of all mobile subscriptions in Latin America - approximately 90 million - will be LTE subscriptions.
LTE is currently being rolled out across the region and Ericsson has won many of the contracts for the new networks. Ericsson has signed LTE/EPC contracts with Claro, Oi, Telefónica | Vivo and TIM in Brazil; UNE in Colombia; Telcel in Mexico; and AT&T and Open Mobile in Puerto Rico. Once they have been deployed, Ericsson says it will have a more than 50% share of the Latin American LTE market in terms of volume.
Sergio Quiroga, Head of Region Latin America at Ericsson, said: ‘Ericsson has played a role in Latin America since 1896, most recently by helping it take important steps to implement mobility, broadband and cloud services. Our share of the region's LTE market will be substantially larger than our share of the region's 3G market. Our global leadership in LTE and mobile broadband has helped us achieve this.’
In addition to consumer demand, factors such as economic and technological development - driven by governments across the region - are contributing to the increase in mobile broadband subscriptions.
Brazil (pictured) will play a key role in the technological transformation of the region. Purchasing power has increased and there are now more mobile phone subscriptions than people in the country. And with Brazil set to host the world's two most watched sporting events in 2014 (football World Cup) and 2016 (Olympics), there will be even more opportunities to boost national infrastructure.
In Latin America as a whole, Ericsson predicts that 3G technologies such as WCDMA/HSPA will largely replace 2G technologies such as GSM/EDGE by 2018. Whereas 3G technologies currently account for just 18% of all mobile subscriptions, they will account for 65% of subscriptions by 2018. 2G technologies will decline from 82 percent of all mobile subscriptions at present to 25 percent by 2018.
From a global perspective, Ericsson said it has now signed more than 90 LTE/EPC contracts and maintains its position in LTE and mobile broadband, currently providing coverage for 305 million of the 455 million global LTE population.