As Smartphone Usage Continues to Grow, the Rise of Mobile Media
Transforms the Digital Ecosystem, Fueling Innovation and Developing New
Value Chains across the Region
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–According to the GSMA’s latest Global
Mobile Trends report, published at Mobile World Congress
Americas this week, smartphones now account for 65 per cent of Latin
America’s 717 million mobile connections, up from just 23 per cent five
years ago. More than a third of connections (35 per cent) are running on
4G. Driven by faster devices and networks, the region followed the
worldwide uptrend in mobile video consumption; video is already the main
generator of traffic (56 per cent) and it’s expected to grow by around
45 per cent annually through 2023 to account for 73 per cent of all
mobile data traffic.1 With more people than ever watching
online video on the small screen, new forms of content creation and
distribution are emerging, disrupting the mobile and media landscape.
“As mobile takes the lead in video viewing, convergence between
telecommunications and other media intensifies. The emergence of
quad-play services in Latin America has opened the door to new services
based around content and it’s also spurring new forms of collaboration
among mobile operators, media groups, OTTs and film studios,” said
Sebastián Cabello, Head of Latin America, GSMA. “Consumers’ appetite for
mobile entertainment is not only a game changer for mobile operators and
media corporations, it also encourages the participation of entirely new
players that can help develop local ecosystems.”
Disruptive local content projects promote the emergence of brand-new
value chains, the creation of jobs and the advent of inventive revenue
streams. Opportunities are not limited to traditional media; virtual,
mixed and augmented reality, for example, provide a great platform for
Apart from generating business opportunities, convergence can also
contribute to bridge the digital divide. The GSMA’s Global Mobile
Trends report reveals that there’s still a significant gap between
mobile internet coverage and usage in Latin America. In Brazil, for
example, 79 million people are covered by 3G or 4G but not connected;
this is also the case for 53 million Mexicans and 23 million people in
Colombia. The largest barrier to mobile internet is a lack of relevant
content for the unconnected population; therefore, the creation of new
locally useful apps, tools or entertainment matching local needs and
culture could help bring more people online.
Operators’ Investment Focus
According to GSMA Intelligence, mobile operators in Latin America are
currently investing more than $15 billion a year (capex) in building out
new networks, mainly 4.5G. By 2025, it is forecast that 4G will account
for 64 per cent of connections. By that point, commercial 5G networks
will have been launched and will account for about 8 per cent of the
About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting
more than 750 operators with over 350 companies in the broader mobile
ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies,
equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in
adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading
events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai,
Mobile World Congress Americas and the Mobile 360 Series of conferences.
For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at www.gsma.com.
Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.
GSMA Latin America is the branch of the GSMA in the region. For more
information in English, Spanish and Portuguese, please visit www.gsmala.com.
Follow GSMA Latin America on Twitter @GSMALatam and Linkedin www.linkedin.com/showcase/gsmalatam.
1 Source: Ericsson Mobility Report June 2018.