The evolution towards 5G in Latin America is underway. This is increasing financial and digital inclusion in the region, as well as it presents clear growth in public and private revenues and innovation. The GSM Association (GSMA) estimatesLatin America will have 15 million 5G connections by 2022, and that almost 10% of network connections are 5G in2025. At the end of 2020, 60% of LATAM’s total population was connected to the internet equivalent to 370M connections.
In Latin America, the 5G era began with a total of 13 deployments in nine countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia,Peru, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Trinidad y Tobago, Uruguay and Virgin Islands(U.S.). The technology will continue to expand over the next decade, offering a wide range of opportunities for both existing applications and novel innovations. In Brazil, as the largest potential market, it means a $1.21B economic impact, and will enable another $3.08B in productivity improvement for the country.
A Brazilian auction for 5G will be held on November 4th, 2021, and it will be the largest spectrum auction in the world.The auction will comprise 67 lots covering four frequency bands including 700 MHz, 2.3GHz, 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz. Brazilian 5G started with 5G DSS, but will mainly be implemented as:
●3.5 GHz, which allows for fast connections and enhanced mobile broadband communications;
● 26 GHz, which allows for applications with ultra-reliable low latency, yet requires the installation of more antennas as it has a limited signal range.
The spectrum bands considered for 5G development in Latin America are the 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz bands. In the table below, we see the mapping of the existing frequency bands spread across the region. The development of new mobile technologies in Latin America has been possible thanks to increased private investments and governments allocating additional spectrum.
The governments in Latin America must accelerate the processes to define clear roadmaps for releasing spectrum, in order for operators to plan medium and long-term investments with available spectrum. The mobile telecom industry requires this additional spectrum as the number of LTE and 5G networks increases. Operators require long-term visibility to plan their investments required for these new network deployments.
The viability of digital ecosystems and new industries requires use of these new spectral frequency bands. Sufficient spectrum and visibility of the spectrum allocation roadmaps are needed for the further economic development of Latin American countries, and to meet the needs of their ever-expanding digital societies.
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