SÃO PAULO, Aug. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The expansion of 3G and 4G network coverage, improving quality of service, proliferation of smart devices and migration of prepaid customers to hybrid plans are fueling opportunities for mobile service providers in Latin America. Carriers are striving to increase the average revenue per line (ARPL) by attracting more customers to postpaid plans in a market where prepaid plans account for 74.2% of the 546.8 million lines in service. Frost & Sullivan estimates that through the initial migration of prepaid users to more affordable hybrid plans for voice and data services, postpaid connections will grow from 25.8% in 2015 to 31.0% in 2021.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Latin American Mobile Services Executive Analysis (http://www.frost.com/sublib/display-report.do?id=NFCB-01-00-00-00&src=PR), finds that the market is set for strong growth despite an 18.7% drop in 2015 revenues from the previous year, mainly due to highly fluctuating exchange rates, as most markets registered some growth in local currency. The market earned revenues of $58.32 billion in 2015, with number of lines decelerating by 3% to touch 546.8 million due to carriers' stricter churn policies, which led to the disconnection of unused, low-value lines. With the growing popularity of data services reviving the market, revenues are expected to reach $76.85 billion in 2021, at a compound annual growth rate of 4.7%.
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"Postpaid lines are also being stimulated by machine-to-machine (M2M) and device subsidies, as many users wish to switch from a feature phone to a smartphone," said Frost & Sullivan Digital Transformation Industry Analyst Georgia Jordan. "The prepaid segment is also expected to reduce further due to regulatory mobile termination rate (MTR) cuts, which in due course will translate to reduced price difference between on-net and off-net calls and elimination of the need for multiple SIM cards."
Carriers look to offset the loss in interconnection revenue, generated by MTR cuts, with strong growth in data services such as mobile broadband, M2M and value-added services (VAS), which currently represent 37.3% of the total mobile services revenue, and are expected to reach to 57.3% in 2021.
Meanwhile, the lack of competition in rural areas and market concentration in some countries are pegging back market growth to some extent. Governments are addressing this challenge through the implementation of mobile number portability (MNP) and the regulation of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs).
"Government initiatives such as MNP and MVNO regulations have experienced varying levels of success in each country," noted Jordan. "Following these announcements, several MVNOs, including Virgin Mobile and Chilean retailer Falabella, have launched services or announced plans to operate in several countries in the region."
More highlights from the report:
- Brazil was the largest mobile market in Latin America with 47.5% of lines and 34.6% of revenues. This difference between line and revenue contribution was due to the high proportion of low-value prepaid users.
- Colombia and Mexico had more than 80% prepaid users, as highly concentrated markets, with comparatively low mobile penetration rates.
- The most mature market is Chile, representing 5.0% of lines and 7.0% of revenues, with the region's highest mobile penetration rate, at 151.5%, and lowest prepaid penetration, at 68.9%.
Latin American Mobile Services Executive Analysis is part of the Mobile & Wireless Communications (http://ww2.frost.com/research/industry/information-communications-technologies/mobile-wireless-communications) Growth Partnership Service program. Frost & Sullivan's related studies include: CACAR Telecommunications Services Market, Brazilian and Colombian M2M Markets, Total Telecommunications Services Market in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico and Latin America Outlook for the Information Technology Services Industry. All studies included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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SOURCE Frost & Sullivan