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Latin America: Gaúchos With Cell Phones

Gaúchos are the Latin American equivalent of the North American cowboy. 

Latin America.  Home to sun, surf, margartias, rain forests, coffee, and cocaine…but there’s something else Latin America is becoming famous for – mobile tech.

Like much of the developing world, mobile phones have become the cheapest and easiest way to connect the masses.   Led by the boom of Brazil that put the B in BRIC nations, the entire region is taking off.

By 2015, Latin America is expected to boast over 750 million mobile users and is already one of the worlds largest markets by volume according to GSMA’s Mobile Observatory report.

This number is equivalent to the connection numbers we’re hearing out of India right now.   The region itself currently boasts 630 million connections. This translates into the fact that 3.6% of the region’s GDP, or $175 billion, are generated by mobile tech.  Jobs are also on the rise with 600,000 currently working in the mobile ecosystem with expectations of that reaching 1.6 million in the near future.

Another plus to Latin America is that its mobile network infrastructure is not ancient.  Part of the problem with the United States is the costs of upgrading the aging infrastructure or teething subscribers off existing land line usage.  By 2015, 305 million subscribers in Latin America are expected to be accessing the net via HSPA or LTE connections.

That’s some serious broadband in the hands of an entirely new market.

“We have experienced 13 per cent growth per year for the past four years, driven by increasing accessibility, flexibility and affordability of mobile services, and boosted by the increasing affluence of the region and the relative shortage of the fixed line infrastructure. During 2011, Mobile Broadband connections surpassed DSL and cable connections and today represent the best hope for governments to realise their ICT universalisation plans.” – Sebastian Cabello, Director of Latin America, GSMA

El Paraíso? Uno Momento…

However, be aware that Latin America covers not one country, but dozens.  This makes dominating the region more difficult as a company must deal with a multitude of cultures and, probably more important, a multitude of differing country regulations.

So Latin America definitely isn’t the promised land, but for the adventurous, it’s not a bad place to get your feet wet.  And  as such, those that feel like they’ve missed out on the Asian boom, desire cheaper employee wages than the United States, or just like the slower Latin culture pace of life (which I highly endorse) are starting to head south for warmer waters.

Top 20 Countries in Latin America By Mobile Penetration:

1. Chile 6. Mexico 11. Peru 16. Guatemala
2. Argentina 7. Panama 12. Ecuador 17. Bolivia
3. Brazil 8. Colombia 13. Dominican Republic 18. Paraguay
4. Uruguay 9. Jamaica 14. Costa Rica 19. Nicaragua
5. Venezuela 10. El Salvador 15. Honduras 20. Haiti





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