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Which Technologies Will Impact Latin American Telcos in 2018?

As Latin America heads into a new year, some of the key technologies that emerged in 2017 have shown signs of higher growth and greater importance in 2018, especially for Latin American telcos.

Based on the success or rapid growth of these technologies in 2017, we are able to determine which will be most prevalent for Latin American telcos in the coming year.

Digital Transformation

Probably the biggest buzz word of 2017, digital transformation introduced a wealth of technologies that are already improving time-to-market and customer experience, and providing unique growth opportunities, particularly for telcos.

The main elements of the digital transformation currently being addressed by telcos are self-service, agile IT, and verticals solutions, and we expect that trend to continue growing into 2018.

Big Data for Telcos

Latin American telcos that utilize Big Data will benefit from improved customer service and business strategies, providing new growth opportunities.

In Latin America, the top priorities for telcos that are implementing Big Data include improved customer experience satisfaction thanks to deeper customer understanding, prediction of issues based on deeper and more accurate network analysis, and revenue creation based on identified sales opportunities.

The total capital expenditure of Big Data services from Latin American telcos is expected to amount to US$778.8 million in 2017. Investment into the tech is predicted to reach US$1.8 billion in 2022, led by Brazil and Mexico.

Mobile Money

Deployments for the unbanked will propel the Latin American market via growth opportunities for telcos. Currently, Brazil and Colombia have the majority of deployments for the unbanked population, and partnerships between telcos and banks are dominant in Latin America.

In 2017, the mobile money services market is expected to reach 27.6 million registered users in Latin America with 7.4 million active users. Brazil is likely to lead the mobile money and payment services market in Latin America, representing about 36.7% of the total registered users in 2017.

By 2022, Latin America will have approximately 180 million registered mobile money and payment users with 91.8 million active users. In Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia, registered users are likely to reach 83.4 million, 39.6 million, and 17.8 million, respectively.

By 2020, 48% of the Latin American population will still be unbanked, so this market isn’t going away, and mobile money platforms are expected to grow much faster in 2018.

Innovation-enabled Monetization

New revenues will emerge next year via advanced rating and charging, policy management, and partner management functions. Billing processes will enable new service offerings, as well as collect for their use.

These new offerings are possible through the use of advanced rating and charging, policy management, and partner management functions.


CAPEX/OPEX savings and the enabling of programmable networks will help deliver new services to enterprises, which will, in turn, intensify their utilization of hosted or cloud-based unified communication solutions in 2018.

eCommerce and Online Marketplaces

By 2019, eCommerce sales in Latin America will double when compared to 2016, meaning next year will see a significant increase across the board.

Online B2C commerce is expected to reach US$101.6 billion by 2025, with 3 key segments accounting for two-thrids of the total market, namely apparels, accessories, and beauty products; books, toys, games, and sports equipment; and consumer electronics and appliances.

Augmented reality

AR has moved on to dynamic apps from static apps and has opened the door for more real-time applications in key verticals.

In 2018, Latin America is expected to increase AR usage, mainly for marketing, branding, and gaming applications.

Carrier Ethernet over WAN

A greater focus on data value — much more than velocity or variety — will be mandatory in 2018. Enterprises will continue to increasingly ‘go digital’ in order to remain relevant and competitive in 2018, driving the importance and value of Ethernet services over WAN.

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While voice services are already declining, mobile data and mobile enterprise applications will offer growth opportunities, even replacing mobile voice as growth drivers.

Latin America is expected to have over 2.5 billion connected devices by 2025, an average of 3.5 connected devices per capita, with an internet penetration rate of 85% (590 million internet users).

The contribution of the mobile ecosystem to Latin America’s gross domestic product (GDP) is also expected to reach US$360.3 billion by 2025, so expect big things in the mobilty sector next year.

Industrial Internet of Things

Latin America will increasingly witness the emergence of IoT solutions and data services targeted for companies, fueling growth of non-traditional telecom services. The main markets for IIoT in 2018 will be Mexico and Brazil, and by 2021 these two countries combined will represent a market of US$6.3 billion by 2021.

What technologies do you predict will alter the Latin American telecoms environment in 2018? Let us know in the comments.

Ignacio Perrone

Ignacio Perrone is the Research Director of LATAM Information and Communication Technologies at Frost & Sullivan. He is in charge of syndicated research, custom consulting projects and business development in the Information and Communications Technologies space.

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