Wireless broadband services in Latin America will suffer if governments in the region delay the auctioning of radio spectrum, says 4G Americas, a lobby group of wireless telecom operators in the Americas. Carriers in 19 countries are running low on airwaves, as the governments have so far been able to allocate just 20% of the spectrum required to cope with the surge in mobile network traffic.
The International Telecom Union (ITU) recommends that advanced market economies should allocate roughly 1,300 MHz by 2015, and 1,720 MHz by 2020, in order to accommodate the surge in mobile traffic.
Brazil, Chile and Colombia have met just 30% of this recommendation, while Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Peru, Puerto Rico and Uruguay have met only 20%. The postponement of spectrum-licensing programs has led to a slowdown in telecom investment in some countries, the association said.
“By 2015, most Latin American countries will be 50% below the ITU recommended spectrum allocation. With the increasing usage of data, multiple devices and sophisticated smartphones in consumers’ hands, this poses a big challenge for operators and vendors to efficiently deliver services and for regulators to allocate and auction appropriate spectrum resources,” said Erasmo Rojas, Director of Latin America and the Caribbean for 4G Americas.
“Regulators throughout Latin America must continue to be diligent in understanding the importance of bringing more spectrum to the market in order to propel economic growth and overall connectivity in their country,” added Jose Otero, President of Signals Telecom Consulting.
In remote parts of Latin America, where no wired infrastructure is present, wireless technologies are the only viable alternative to offer broadband services, the lobby group said.