How can Brazil maximize the 5G opportunity?

Q&A with José Gamarski, Independent Telecom Consultant.

What  you think that the particular challenges of deploying 5G in Brazil will be?

I think that the major challenges for deploying 5G networks will be about the same for Brazil and the rest of the world. There are some issues and challenges that are typical in every country, for example, spectrum availability, infrastructure availability (finding sites and the costs for rentals), availability of time and cost of user devices, backward compatibility with the legacy networks which is a must to guarantee ROI, adaptation of the regulatory environment for the new proposed 5G services, standardization bodies’ updates and procedures. These are far from all the challenges involved, but are in my opinion the major ones.

You worked on the radio networks deployment for the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, so how different do you think the Olympic Games in the future will be, when 5G networks are fully operational, for example in 2020 or 2024?

For each new Olympic Games, national organizing committees are responsible for upgrading existing cellular infrastructures, both planing and deploying new sites and expanding the existing infrastructure to ensure the required coverage, capacity  and quality. As the new games arrive, networks must get better and better. For example, during Rio 2016, the mobile data traffic was 10 times higher than in London in 2012. I believe that the mobile traffic in Tokyo will be at least 10 times higher than in Rio. This is a default as mobile penetration keeps going up. Tokyo 2020 will experience vídeo 4K/8K transmission for mobiles, and we all know the amount of capacity required to transmit this kind of vídeo.  There is no other way to provide the required quality of service, so operators must pay attention to what the market desires.

How can communities around Brazil maximise the 5G opportunity?

One of the big opportunities for 5G is Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) which will be made available by 5G networks, providing the market with higher capacities and better coverage for communities in the country that are still not well served by  modern communications.  5G will be the tool permiting the convergence of fixed and mobile services, allowing the country to advance in its communications infrastructure. Another aspect to be considered is that the deployment of this new technology will support so many verticals, and will speed up the creation of many new jobs in different markets, which is very important for the country’s development.

What are you most looking forward to at 5G & LTE Latin America in Rio de Janeiro on April 24-26?

I believe that this will be the most focused event adressing the issues of 5G & LTE in Brazil during 2018. Since I have worked with the designs and deployments of various celullar generations in Brazil, I believe that I can share some understanding of challenges that professionals may face during 5G deployments.  I think that this technology deployment will allow creation of a new environment to develop the market as a whole and create new jobs.

José Gamarski will be speaking on Challenges to the Success of Deploying of 5G Networks at 5G & LTE Latin America on 26th April.

Shaping the Latin American MVNO Market

With many operators looking at the emerging mobile markets as the new El Dorado, the MVNOs Series team commissioned an exclusive report on the Latam region. ‘Shaping the Latin American MVNO Market’ analysis how the region, which is primed for growth, offers many opportunities and challenges for MVNOs.

Historically, the Latin American mobile telephony market has been dominated by a handful of powerful telecoms players. But in the last decade, government regulations designed to open up the market have presented MVNOs with new opportunities. The result of this has been a flurry of MVNO activity in markets including Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Chile. And, while it is early days, there are also signs that the MVNO revolution will be coming soon to Peru, Venezuela and Ecuador.

That said, the growth of the Latam MVNO sector is not happening as quickly as many expected. In 2016, for example, Mexican business newspaper El Financiero was forecasting that MVNOs would have secured a 2% share of the Mexican mobile market by the end of the year – thanks to the arrival of several new players. However, by mid-2017, a report from The Competitive Intelligence Unit pegged MVNO penetration in Mexico at just 1.1% (equivalent to 1.2 million active MVNO SIMS). Further underlining the slow pace of change, the CIU added that this group accounted for just 0.3% of the market’s revenues – suggesting the sector is currently prioritising aggressive pricing.

So probably the best way to characterise the LatAm MVNO market is as a significant opportunity that is yet to be effectively realised. This assessment chimes with the findings of a September 2017 report from GlobalData, which puts the share of MVNOs across Latin America at 1.3%. While this is low, the potential for growth is clear when you consider that MVNO share is 13.7% in Western Europe and 8.5% in North America. GlobalData’s view is that LatAm MVNOs will achieve CAGR of 18% between now and 2022, leading to 21.1m subscriptions.

In terms of pan-regional factors that have limited MVNO expansion until now, it’s clear that the resilience of legacy operators has been one of the biggest challenges – notwithstanding pro-MVNO regulation. While vulnerable to the high turnover of subscriptions that characterises the mobile market, and sometimes criticised for poor customer service, incumbents are often available at low price points (because of their existing competitors) and can offer consumers triple-play or quad-play service bundles – which gives them an edge over a lot of MVNO challengers. There’s also an impression that some of them have not made it easy for MVNOs to secure capacity at competitive prices. And where MVNOs do get capacity, incumbents employ aggressive tactics to win customers back.

Get a free copy of this report today and find out more about the challenges, opportunities and the biggest players in the Latin American market.


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Preparing for 5G in Latin America

Q&A with Renato Pasquini, Research Director, Latin America and Managing Director, Brazil, Frost & Sullivan.

How has the 5G landscape in Latin America changed over the past year?

In Latin America there has been significant growth in LTE coverage, and along with this expansion, the rise of fiber-optics-based backhaul connecting the cell sites. Twenty-one operators, including Vivo in Brazil and Entel in Chile, also announced LTE advanced with notable coverage. With LTE advanced the maximum speed can already exceed 1Gbps. This evolution of fiber optics with high capacity will be essential for the 5G implementation in the near future by mobile network operators.

It’s very important that regulators provide enough spectrum availability for mobile network operators to deploy 5G with quality and affordable prices, as well as allow the growth of small cells to complement coverage in urban centers.Last year there was an increase in the use of the 700Mhz frequency in different countries, and also discussions around refarming to allow more spectrum availability, that ultimately will drive higher speeds and lower-latency services.

What use cases do you think will be key drivers for 5G commercialization?

Internet of things will be the key driver for 5G commercialization, including for the Enterprise and Government sectors. Relevant use cases are connected cars, manufacturing 4.0 and smart cities, with several applications that require minimum latency and generate petabytes of data to be processed.In Brazil a public policy study concerning Internet of Things has been published in 2017 and shared with the society, with its 4 pillars around healthcare, manufacturing, smart cities and agriculture. 5G technology is one of the key enablers for the plan to materialize. Other countries in Latin America are likely to expand the discussion over Digital Agendas and Internet of Things in the short term, in order to address this important element for future GDP growth.

What developments do you think we are likely to see to the mobile networks of the Latin America region during 2018?

It’s possible that LTE will surpass 3G in terms of connections in 2018, although the coverage is more limited. LTE will continue to be mainstream, and will be boosted by the 700Mhz frequency adoption, as it allows mobile network operators to cover wider areas with less investment in antennas compared to 2.5Ghz for instance. Mobile network operators will continue to bet on data plans’ penetration increase and value-added services to clients, while also aiming at NB-IoT for serving B2B clients, to complement their current M2M offering based mostly on 2G connections.


Renato Pasquini will be speaking on “The Outlook for the Internet of Things Market in Latin America” at 5G & LTE Latin America on 25th April.