The latest Mobile World Congress hosted in Barcelona, Spain, showed some amazing data on the rapid expansion of 4G mobile connection technology in South America, which could reach 300 million access points by 2020.
According to the ranking reported during the tech event, thanks to the convergence of cable and wireless networks, the 4G mobile technology now reaches a total of 113 million access points throughout the region. This is a significantly high number taking into account that at the end of 2015, the total figure of connections was at 51 million- more than double in the span of a year.
The numbers are looking good, but, is it too late? Countries around the globe are preparing themselves to receive 5G technology while South America is still struggling to provide a good average speed on LTE connections.
Among the countries with greater access to 4G, Brazil stands out with a total of 60 million connections this past year and the hopes to reach more than 140 million by 2020. Argentina registered 12 million connections – three times the number in 2015- and is looking forward to reach more than 28 million by 2020. Finally, Colombia was at 7 million and may reach more than 21 million on the next three years.
Although a bit slower than other countries, Peru and Chile also stood out with decent growth rates. Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia also showed they are preparing for a significant quantitative leap, even though the latter country registered one of the lowest growing rates in the region with only 700,000 more connections than the year before, when the total 4G access was 1 million.
Although these numbers sound promising, speed connection is still far below the international average. According to OpenSignal, Peru registered the fastest connection with an average of 9.99 Mbps and Argentina – which is one of the leading countries in the growth ranking- has one of the lowest average of only 6.78 Mbps.
Brazil sees most access to 4G in Latin America
South America still has a lot of work to do regarding LTE networks if we want to step up on the ranking, considering that South Korea is leading with a download speed of 37.54 Mbps.
We can celebrate that 4G is growing in the region but we have to start working in advance in order to be ready for the upcoming technology. Forward planning is the only way to avoid falling behind and public regulations are the key to this development. Latin American government must rethink their telecommunication laws to adapt to these innovation as it is the only way to assure not only a broad coverage but also quality coverage.
The Spanish multinational telecommunications provider Telefonica, which is the leader provider in most of South American countries announced important investments in the region, mostly to expand their fiber optic network and LTE technology. This could be great news for user experience as we await the upcoming 5G technology that is still a couple of years away.
Experts believe it will arrive in Latin America at the same time as the rest of the world because the time gap between this region and Europe has been considerably shortened in recent years.