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Top 10 Telecom Markets: Latin America

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Latin America, although home to the "B" in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) quartet of leading emerging economies, is still relatively small as a regional telecom service market, accounting for only about 10 percent of total global revenues. But a combination of large geographical size and population, economic resources and growth, and growing telecom liberalization and investment are moving the market forward.

Big international carriers certainly see the region’s potential and are building up their infrastructures and capabilities there. During 2008, Global Crossing (Nasdaq: GLBC), for example:

  • Added three high-capacity Supercore routers in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; and São Paulo, Brazil – thereby tripling POP-to-POP core capacity on its regional MPLS-network backbone and enabling OC192 Sonet connections on the company's South American Crossing (SAC) undersea fiber optic cable system, which rings Latin America. This is to meet growing demand for bandwidth-intensive applications and converged Internet Protocol (IP) services in Latin America. (See Global Crossing Extends Net.)

  • Lit its new fiber-optic submarine cable in Esterillos, Parrita, Puntarenas, in Costa Rica, which will increase and improve that country’s international connectivity. (See Global Crossing Lights Underseas Cable.)

  • Expanded its enterprise managed network services from Columbia to Brazil; a further expansion to Argentina is planned. (See Global Xing Expands in LatAm.)

  • Became a SAP-certified hosting partner in Colombia and Brazil, as well as in Argentina and Chile, thereby allowing it to manage, host, and implement SAP applications for enterprises in “strategic markets” in Latin America. (See Global Crossing Certified.)

Meanwhile BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) reported in July 2008 that its Latin American organization had “successfully completed its first year after the completion of the acquisition of Comsat International and has achieved the goal of reinforcing BT’s global capabilities to better serve its customers in the region.” As a result of the June 2007 acquisition, BT has a 180-POP pan-regional network covering Latin America, supplemented by VSATs for resilience, backup, and serving remote areas, and has data centers in Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia.

And Spain’s Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), which claims the largest telecom network in Latin America, announced that it had been selected by Microsoft to provide VOIP services (as Voype) to Windows Live Messenger customers in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, and the United States. Telefónica and the other big player, América Móvil S.A. de C.V. , between them control about 70 to 80 percent of the telecom market.

This report therefore aims to capture aspects of this operator activity and growth potential through some selected data tables, together with some topical information and comment on aspects of the region’s telecom market evolution to provide a snapshot of progress. It provides a ranking of the region’s separate markets by various key parameters, and also focuses on some key growth opportunities.

The data is supplied by Pyramid Research , a market research and advisory service company that's now part of the Light Reading Communications Network. Pyramid analyzes and forecasts demand for communications and media services, applications, networks, and devices in more than 100 countries, with a strong focus on developing markets.

Future editions of the report will update, replace, or extend the data tables as appropriate.

Here’s a hyperlinked contents list:

— Tim Hills is a freelance telecommunications writer and journalist. He's a regular author of Light Reading reports.

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