ABI Research expects growth of 10% in mobile telecoms capital expenditure (CapEx) in Latin America, rising to US$6.1 billion. Upgrades and expansion of 3G WCDMA and 4G LTE coverage will result in radio access network-related spending capturing 40% of CapEx. Investment in small cell base stations is garnering momentum with 40% year-on-year growth in 2014 to US$484 million.
“Mobile telecom capital expenditure in Latin America is expected to grow rapidly in 2014 as investment in 4G LTE starts to accelerate. Significant amounts of capital expenditure are still required to build out 4G LTE coverage. In particular, mobile cellular CTOs are prioritizing investment in the core network functions as Internet packet traffic and value-added 3G and 4G services are playing an increasingly prominent role in the telecom services of the region,” stated Jake Saunders, VP for core forecasting at ABI Research.
ABI Research estimates population coverage stood at just 34% at the end of 2013. This should change over the next two years as LTE subscriber adoptions grow from 2.33 million to 23 million. There is pent-up demand for access to Internet services in Latin America that cannot be addressed by DSL and cable Internet services.
Examples of these investment plans include:
- Telefonica Chile has been consolidating its 3G network infrastructure, including the deployment of fiber. It plans to invest a further US$200 million over the next three years.
- In Peru, Telefonica plans to invest US$250 million in LTE-related infrastructure.
- In 4Q-2013, TIM Brazil rolled out its first 150 small cells to boost signal transmission capacity on its mobile network.
- In Colombia, Avantel announced in 4Q-2013 it would invest US$250 million on the first stage of its 4G roll-out. It was awarded 30 MHz of spectrum in June 2013.
While some of the economies in Latin America have troubled leadership and a mixed bag of economic growth, when it comes to mobile voice and broadband demand, the telcos are struggling to keep up.
ABI Research’s, “Mobile Operator CAPEX” Market Data focuses on the regional and global mobile operator capital expenditure which includes base station and core network spend. It is part of ABI Research’s Mobile Deployments, CAPEX, and Traffic Market Research.