If you spend any time in a developing country, you quickly discover that the majority of Internet connectivity comes via cellular connections. For many in developing countries, a smartphone effectively is their first regular connection to the Internet.
Roughly 87 percent of all broadband connections in emerging markets will be by way of cellular by 2017, according to Alcatel-Lucent forecasts. This is especially true in Latin America and the Caribbean, where the GSMA estimates that Latin America will have the second highest installed base of smartphones in the world behind only Asia Pacific by 2020.
The latest 4G Americas report shows that Latin America added 17 million LTE connections over the past twelve months, a 324 percent connection growth rate and the highest in the world.
Small cells technology is helping operators in Latin America and the Caribbean keep up with mobile broadband demand. Small cells are inexpensive to deploy, and they enable operators to add coverage and density as subscriber demand warrants.
“As mobile data usage escalates, adding small cells has become the popular solution,” noted a recent Alcatel-Lucent blog post on the topic, Latin America’s path to broadband increasingly made possible by small cells. The post noted that small cells are increasingly being used as the primary means for servicing cellular connections in Latin America and the Caribbean, with macro cells adding density in areas of particularly high use.
Alcatel-Lucent should know. The company leads the market in Latin America for small cell use according to Frost & Sullivan. In fact, Alcatel-Lucent has more than 50 percent of the market, and has secured 18 contracts in 13 countries since 2013.
“Small cells are the key to bringing mobile broadband to their citizens,” noted the Alcatel-Lucent blog post. “And as operators move from 3G to 4G/LTE networks, small cells play an even more important role in providing increased bandwidth and capacity needed to support advanced communications applications.”
Leading the way in Latin America and the Caribbean are Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia, with the highest small cells usage. But small cells make so much sense that countries in all parts of Latin America are jumping on the bandwagon.