Latin America Expects Mobile Growth

If the projections are on target, Latin America will have nearly the same amount of mobile phone subscribers in 2007 as the U.S. is expected to have by the end of 2003.

The Yankee Group forecasts the total number of mobile users in Latin America will grow from nearly 104 million in 2002 to 154 million in 2007, an 8 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Consequently, handset sales are expected to increase as well, reaching annual sales of 22 million new units by the end of 2003.The research firm expects annual sales will vary from 19 million to 22 million new units from 2004 until 2006.

In 2002, the Latin American market represented 5 percent of handset sales worldwide, with Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia accounting for 72 percent of the market.

Despite handset sales volume, Argentina’s subscriber base is being negatively impacted by economic crises and bad debt, as is Venezuela’s. The subscriber base in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia continues to grow.

Mobile Phones in Latin America
Country Subscribers Handsets
Brazil 34.9 million (2002) 8.1 million sold (2002)
5.8 million projected (2005)
8.5 million projected (2007)
Argentina 6.35 million (2002)* 463,000 sold (2002
615,000 projected (2003)
Mexico N/A 4.7 million sold (2002)
6.5 million projected (2003)
5.5 million projected (2007)
Columbia N/A 1 million sold (2002)
2.2 million projected (2004)
Rest of
Latin America**
32 million (2002) 7.3 million sold (2002)
4.9 million projected (2004)
5.9 million projected (2007)
ROLA — Chile 6.9 million (2002) N/A
ROLA — Venezuela 7.5 million (2002) N/A
* According to CIT-PriMetrica
** Rest of Latin America (ROLA) forecast considers Caribbean
and South and Central American nations.
Source: Yankee Group

Comparatively, the U.S. will be home to 151.4 million mobile phone subscribers by the end of 2003, according to data compiled by eMarketer, adding another 2.2 million to the current total, as counted by the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA).

Mobile Phones in the U.S.
Year Actual or Projected Subscribers
2000 109.5 million
2001 128.4 million
2002 140.8 million
2003 151.4 million
2004 159.1 million
2005 162.6 million
Source: CTIA via eMarketer

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