LatAm MNOs to Invest $109B By 2030

Mobile network operators in Latin America are expected to reach a cumulative $109 billion in capital expenditures by 2030, according to industry association GSMA, bnamericas reported. In the last five years, MNOs have invested an aggregate of $57 billion in their networks. The 5G rollout is the main reason for an uptick in overall annual capital expenditure which is expected to peak at $15 billion in 2027.

By April 2024, 29 operators in 10 countries had launched commercial 5G services that are expected to account for 425 million or 55 percent of total mobile connections in 2030, according to GSMA. Currently, 5G represents 5 percent of connections and should reach 14 percent in 2025. América Móvil (NYSE: AMX) and Telefónica (NYSE: TEF), through their various subsidiaries in countries throughout the region, account for an estimated 84 percent of all mobile subscribers in Latin America, according to Inside Towers Intelligence

“The expected sustained growth in mobile [service] revenues means that operators should be able to maintain the ratio [of] their capital expenditures and mobile revenues between 14 percent and 19 percent over the forecast period,” GSMA said. 

GSMA estimates that annual average mobile service revenue is expected to grow at a 2.5 percent CAGR between 2023 and 2030, reaching $84 million by 2030, despite slower overall mobile internet subscriber growth and challenges in monetizing data usage. GSMA expects 5G to contribute $70 billion to the Latin American economy in 2030, representing almost 11 percent of the total economic impact of the mobile sector.

In 2023, 418 million people, or 65 percent of Latin America’s population, were using mobile internet, while mobile technologies and services generated eight percent of regional GDP. That contribution amounted to $520 billion in incremental economic value and $50 billion in taxes.

Last year, GSMA reported that there were nearly 455 million registered 4G connections, accounting for 66 percent of the total. That percentage is expected to decline to 36 percent by 2030 as subscribers shift to 5G.

At the same time, 11 operators in the region have completed the retirement of their 2G networks and another 10 announced plans to do so by 2030, GSMA said. Other operators are planning to switch off their 3G networks before disconnecting their 2G networks.

Inside Towers is attending the TowerXchange Meetup Americas 2024 being held this week in Miami. The conference focuses on the tower company ecosystem in Latin America.


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