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LatAm 4G connections forecast to grow almost 4-fold in 2014

LatAm 4G connections forecast to grow almost 4-fold in 2014

Posted by Juan Gavasa on March 12, 2014

The number of 4G connections in Latin America is expected to grow almost four-fold in 2014, reaching 6.4mn at the end of the year compared to 1.7mn as of the end of 2013, according to a release by 4G Americas. However, the number of 4G connections in the region will continue to be dwarfed by 3G lines for the foreseeable future.

Total 3G connections will reach 258mn in Latin America this year, up from 192mn at the end of 2013, the release said. Strong growth in LTE subscribers will continue in Latin America in the coming years, with that figure forecast to reach 82mn by the end of 2018.

Meanwhile, 3G subscribers will also continue to see strong growth in the region, more than doubling between 2014 and 2018 to reach 564mn in that year, 4G Americas said. Sustained strong growth in both 3G and 4G lines will come at the expense of Latin America's 2G market, which is set to contract from 440mn connections in 2014 to just 164mn in 2018.

As of the end of 2013 there were 37 commercial LTE networks in 18 countries throughout the region, and that figure is set to continue increasing significantly in 2014. Operators in a range of countries are expecting to launch commercial 4G services during this year, including in Argentina, the Bahamas, Belize, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

The number of LTE lines in Brazil reached 1.3mn at the end of 2013, according to regulator Anatel, suggesting that the country accounted for around three quarters of all connections in the region at that time. IDC has forecast 4G lines to grow to 3mn in Brazil by the end of this year. This suggests that while Brazil would lose share in the region's LTE market, accounting for around 47% of connections by the end of this year in accordance with 4G Americas forecasts, it will remain as Latin America's largest market for LTE.

The figures also suggest that significant growth will be driven by markets from outside of Brazil, with highly populated markets with 4G deployments, such as Mexico and Colombia, appearing as obvious candidates to drive overall regional growth.

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