Colombia has turned out to be one of the major players in the growth of LTE in Latin America due to early commercial launches of the technology in 2012, preceding even the launches in the US by Sprint and T-Mobile and beating out markets like Denmark, Spain, France and Italy.
The levels of adoption of LTE in Colombia are forecast to accelerate in 2014 as a result of the spectrum auction that was held in June 2013. This process resulted in the aggressive investment by the three major mobile operators in the country in the deployment and expansion of the geographical coverage of their LTE networks.
In the fourth quarter of 2014, Colombia had 54.2 million mobile devices active, of which 1.2 million are subscriptions LTE. According to international consultancy Pyramid Research, LTE will be 19% of Colombia’s mobile devices in 2019, a projected 66.3 million mobile lines in total.
- Pyramid Research projections show that LTE will represent 19% of total mobile lines in the country in 2019.
- In 2019, 96% of handsets sold will include mobile broadband technology.
- Award of radio spectrum in the 700 MHz band will be key to the expansion of LTE.
LTE growth in the coming years will be driven by the allocation of new concessions of radio spectrum, with the 700 MHz band being more attractive in the short term. This band is scheduled to be awarded later this year, with portions of spectrum in 900 MHz and 1900 MHz also available. Industry trade group 4G Americas believes it is imperative to avoid a slowdown in the adoption of LTE, and that the 700 MHz spectrum is allocated on an open and non-discriminatory basis to all those interested in and capable of investing in the deployment of this technology.
The market for devices
The LTE coverage expansion in the coming years will be complemented by an increase in the number of devices that can connect to this technology. Data provided by 4G Americas and Pyramid Research shows that by 2019, 96% of mobile phones sold in Colombia will be able to connect to mobile broadband technologies, with more than half of these are compatible with LTE devices.