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Telecommunications industry in Latin America - statistics & facts

The COVID-19 outbreak impacted multiple industries worldwide by reinforcing digital trends and leading users to leave analog solutions behind. This new dynamic also challenged the paradigms of the telecommunications market in Latin America. It was estimated that, due to the pandemic, the revenue of providers in the region decreased by between 2.6 and 14.2 percent in 2020. Consequently, this impacted the entire telco industry, with recovery prospects expected only in 2023. That year, the telco sector in Latin America is forecast to generate revenue worth 82.2 billion U.S. dollars.
Nonetheless, parts of this industry are entering the new normal bigger than ever. In 2021, the installed capacity of interconnection bandwidth in Latin America was forecast to increase to over 600 terabits per second. The telecommunications segment was projected to control over one-fourth of the installed capacity, surpassing IT services and digital media. In other words, the telco sector in Latin America is now marching faster towards a bigger digital future.

New normal, newer technologies

In 2021, there were nearly eight million 5G mobile subscriptions in Latin America, as well as 25 5G network deployments. Moreover, by 2023, the number of 5G subscriptions was expected to be ten times higher in the region. An expanding market comes with the development and massive spread of new technologies. Long-Term Evolution (LTE, also known as 4G) concentrated more than half of all mobile subscriptions in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2021.
When it comes to fixed-line connections, the most important segment in the Latin American region remains fixed broadband – a high-speed data transmission to a residence or a business that uses various technologies, such as cable, DSL, fiber optics, and wireless. The fixed broadband segment is forecast to generate almost 20 billion U.S. dollars in revenue by 2025, with FFtx connections accounting for most of the broadband market.

A land of rivalrous titans

Some of the largest corporations in the telecommunications field worldwide dominate this sector also in Latin America. The leading telco provider in the region is América Móvil, mostly known by its brand Claro and for being part of the empire of Mexican magnate Carlos Slim. Madrid-based Telefónica followed, with its revenue in Brazil alone adding up to almost as much as it did in the other eight Latin American countries where the company operates. Similarly, the segment of mobile telecommunications infrastructure had a clear leader in the region in 2021: American Tower, whose revenue generated by leasing towers to telecommunication providers amounted to almost 1.5 billion U.S. dollars. In January 2021, American Tower acquired the infrastructure of Telefónica’s Telxius, both in Europe and Latin America, indicating a tight competition where often the winner takes it all.

Interesting statistics

In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 36 most important statistics relating to "Telecommunications in Latin America".

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