Latin America Moves Into Second Place

Latin America surpassed Western Europe to become the worlds second-largest mobile region during the second quarter of the year, according to the latest Wireless Intelligence report, Quarterly World Review: Q2 2010.

Latin America reached 530m mobile connections by the end of June 2010, adding almost 15m in net additions during the quarter. This saw it overtake Western Europe, which fell from around 520m connections in Q1, to 515m in Q2. The Americas is now the worlds second-largest mobile market after Asia-Pacific, which reached 2.4bn mobile connections in the quarter, accounting for around 47 per cent of the global total.

Strong mobile growth was recorded across the vast majority of Latin American markets, with only seven operators in the region reporting a decline in connections from the previous quarter; this was less than half the number of operators that reported negative net additions in both Western Europe and Asia-Pacific. Brazil – the worlds fifth-largest mobile market – accounted for just over a third of all mobile connections in the Americas. Brazils mobile market grew by 16 per cent year-on-year to reach 188m connections in Q2. It is expected to reach 100 per cent mobile penetration and the 200m connections mark by year-end.

“In recent quarters, Latin American mobile operators have increased their marketing and technological investments, which have had a positive impact on connections growth,” says Joss Gillet, senior analyst at Wireless Intelligence. “This has also led to increased demand for new data services in the region. Compared to the more saturated European markets, the Americas region still has plenty of room for growth.”

Elsewhere, ongoing growth in Africa – which added to 16.2m connections to reach 496m – meant that the region overtook Eastern Europe to become the worlds fourth-largest mobile market in the quarter (behind Western Europe). Connections in Eastern Europe recovered slightly from the previous quarter, but added just 7m net additions to reach 492m.

The total global mobile market grew by 159.6m connections in the quarter – the equivalent of over 1.8m net additions per day – to reach 4.98bn in total. The 5bn global connections mark was achieved shortly after the close of the quarter. Wireless Intelligence predicts that the 6bn global connections milestone will be achieved in the first half of 2012. The mobile penetration rate on a global basis at the 5bn mark was 74 per cent, compared to 60 per cent at 4bn.

The Wireless Intelligence report, Quarterly World Review: Q2 2010 is available to registered members.