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Around the World in Nine Blog Posts – Post 1 – Latin America

Apr 9, 2012

Coming off what was certainly a successful Mobile World Congress for the entire LTE industry, I thought perhaps it would be a good idea to take a closer look at the state of the LTE union – geographic market by geographic market – so that we can better understand where the opportunities are for growth.  Of course, given that this will be an insider’s look, what you read here may differ from what the mass media are currently saying. But I’m hoping you will appreciate that!

We will be reviewing the following regions:

Latin America
Africa
Rest of APAC
Eastern Europe
Western Europe
Japan
India
China/Hong Kong
United States

Latin America Review:

Latin America is a story of good-news-bad-news-great-news.  The good news is that it is a much more advanced market than people generally realize.  The bad news is that, unfortunately, the region had invested a tremendous amount in WiMAX, so there’s a bit of undoing that will need to take place in order to get the market back on track.  So it may take some time for the region’s potential to be realized.

But that also relates to the great news …

We at Altair are seeing first-hand that the market is ready to fully embrace LTE, as we are supplying the chipsets that are the foundation of the new LTE infrastructure/terminals being deployed in Brazil by Nokia-Siemens Networks (NSN). This is Latin America’s first commercial 4G deployment, and we’re seeing a nice level of activity on the horizon.

Sky Brazil (owned by a small U.S. satellite broadcast provider named DirecTV) – a new entrant in the Brazilian market – is gearing up to offer a dual-play (TV, broadband) product to subscribers, and they have already deployed this solution in Brasilia, with another nine cities planned.

Now, Sky is just one example of the promise of the Brazilian market, and the entire market has agreed to quickly transition from WiMAX to LTE to the point that you won’t see any WiMAX-only base stations there today.  Already, every base station must be dual-mode (WiMAX/LTE).

Beyond Brazil, things are also happening, albeit a bit slower. Venezuela should have commercial LTE within the next 12 months, as should Argentina. The rest of the region will follow.

Of course, the key here is the long-term.  If you look at the upcoming spectrum auction opportunities, you can see that Latin America is going to be a strong market.

If you have additional observations about the Latin American market, please comment.  I want to hear your thoughts.

Check back in a couple of weeks for the next region for review, Africa …

-Eran Eshed

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