Data growth to push LatAm telecoms revenues to $167bn in 2017

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Region will be home to 830 million active mobile connections by the end of 2017, according to Analysys Mason.

Retail telecoms revenues in Latin America will reach US$167 billion in 2017, up from $142 billion last year, driven by demand for mobile data, Analysys Mason predicted on Monday.

But despite the bulk of the region’s growth coming from mobile data, voice services will still account for half of revenues in the region by the end of the forecast period, down from 60% in 2012.

“The relative value of the Latin American telecoms market is increasing as a result of higher revenue growth compared to developed markets,” said Pablo Iacopino, lead global telecoms forecasts analyst at Analysys Mason.

He pointed out that the region’s largest market, Brazil, generated $62 billion, or 44% of its revenues, last year, making it the fourth-largest telecoms market in the world after the U.S., China and Japan.

Telecoms revenues will grow at a CAGR of 3.3% in 2012-2017; the mobile sector will account for 80% of that, growing at 4.8%, while fixed will creep up at a rate of 1.4%.

However, the main contributors to revenue growth during the period will be mobile broadband, with a predicted CAGR of 15.8%, mobile handset data (12.6%) and fixed broadband (6.6%); together those three areas will account for almost 90% of the revenue increase over the five years in question, Analysys Mason said.

The number of active mobile connections in Latin America will grow to 830 million by the end of 2017 from 672 million last year, the analyst firm predicts. Smartphones will account for 50% of total handsets in 2017.

“We expect an improvement in the customer mix because most of the growth in mobile handsets will come from contract connections,” said Iacopino, adding that contract subs will grow by 6.9% compared with a 3% CAGR for prepaid.

“This is partly because the ongoing cuts in mobile termination rates (MTRs) will reduce the need for multiple prepaid SIMs to optimise the cost of making calls,” he said.