Mobile 360 LATAM, Discussing the Issues That Matters to the Industry the Most

This year LATAM Mobile 360 was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It brought together more than 1,000 participants from all over Latin America, making it the biggest event in the LATAM telecommunication industry of the year.  As the G20 was held just prior in Argentina, digital and women’s inclusion were both discussed in a few sessions.

LATAM Mobile 360 brings together regulators, carriers, and technology providers to discuss important industry topics. The main themes discussed during the event pivoted around the future of the telecommunications business, IoT, 5G, cybersecurity, and new technologies such as AI, VR, etc. There was also a space, called 4YFN, aimed to connect start-ups, investors and companies, acknowledging that startups might be in the best position to provide adequate content for the local users.

Operator-Carrier Business Model Changes

Much of the discussion pivoted around how operators’ business models are changing. Increasing competition, changes in the ecosystem, and the need for new business models are among the top topics discussed throughout the conference. Telecommunication industry margins are getting tighter, and this is forcing operators to change the way they are doing business.

One regional operator admitted that operators are still working in an “analog” era when they should be migrating to “digital”. However, this condition could characterize many of the operators in LATAM. Changing this would require a great deal of resources but carriers are not yet ready to do so.

Most operators did not give clear guidance about when they plan to launch 5G. The reason behind the lack of visibility is that 5G needs to be funded by 4G, and the current 4G technology network investment has not yet paid off. The boldest statement was from Telefonica who plans to start commercializing 5G technology after 2021.

Regulatory Concerns

Regulators are gearing up for IoT and 5G technology, they were both big topics of the conference. For example, Argentina has just allocated the 900 Mhz frequency to be used as a none licensed network. It will provide internet access for small towns with populations under 10,000 people. This spectrum is intended to help connect the unconnected.

There has been a lot of discussion in the region regarding municipal level bureaucracy to set up antenna sites. Many municipalities in the region are imposing a great deal of red tape that has long drawn complaints from operators. These municipalities see operators as an opportunity to collect extra money from, while operators are urged to fulfill regulatory required coverage. To help in this situation, some central governments have imposed a mechanism to decrease the local bureaucracy. For example, the Colombian national government in 2009 approved a law that obliges local authorities (of 1200 municipalities) to help the network deployment effort. However, the results of the law has been lackluster.

Regulators acknowledge the need to manage new technologies, such as AI, blockchain, robotics, cryptocurrency, etc. The Colombian regulator admitted that they usually have an ex-post approach, rather than ahead of the technology. Most LATAM markets have a digital regulatory agenda, but some markets such as Chile are ahead of all the other countries in LATAM.  Chile has been actively working on regulations that would bring more certainty to those seeking to invest new technologies for example.

Red Hot Issues

Cybersecurity was another important discussion topic. According to the mega-operators, America Movil and Telefonica, LATAM’s internet usage growth is similar to that of other geographic areas. This usage requires more security to protect all data exchanges.  However, most of the LATAM companies are not spending enough on security, as it is sometimes difficult to convince the CFO of the ROI (Return on Investment) of such investment.

When discussing Emerging Technology Opportunities, Claro’s Argentina CEO said “In LATAM we adopt trends, we do not set the trends. Its success depends on who is launching it more successfully.”    This phrase can summarize the LATAM market when it comes to adopting new technology. For many markets, the major roadblock is the exchange rate instability. Sometimes it is too expensive to adopt new technology, other times the exchange rate changes sharply between the time a new technology project is set up, to the time the tech gets launched.

The conference also showcased new global platform companies that are seeking to enter the region, such as Pundi, a cryptocurrency company which showcased the first blockchain call in LATAM. Local entrepreneurs that are currently serving the local market are also beginning to expand their presence in the global market.

Another major subject that continues to stand out was the high tax burden in many LATAM markets. This was a major complaint among most businesses, as in markets such as Argentina or Brazil, taxes represent more than 30% of the overall telecommunication spending cost.  This tax load has an impact on the affordability of telecommunication products and services for the end user.

Despite all the issues mentioned above, LATAM is still a very attractive region to those who are seeking iinvestmentopportunities. According to GSMA, there is still a $5.7bn operator revenue growth opportunity for the region. Recent political and economic instability has placed the region behind most others in updating its technology.  However, it is still working to catch up.


Tina has extensive consulting and analysis experience across a number of industry sectors including more than 14 years in the technology industry. Before Counterpoint, Tina spent more than 9 years in Nokia working in multiple roles and geographic regions. Tina also worked in brand and product marketing for Bestfoods-Unilever and BGH. Tina holds an MBA degree from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Term of Use and Privacy Policy

Counterpoint Technology Market Research Limited


In order to access Counterpoint Technology Market Research Limited (Company or We hereafter) Web sites, you may be asked to complete a registration form. You are required to provide contact information which is used to enhance the user experience and determine whether you are a paid subscriber or not.
Personal Information When you register on we ask you for personal information. We use this information to provide you with the best advice and highest-quality service as well as with offers that we think are relevant to you. We may also contact you regarding a Web site problem or other customer service-related issues. We do not sell, share or rent personal information about you collected on Company Web sites.

How to unsubscribe and Termination

You may request to terminate your account or unsubscribe to any email subscriptions or mailing lists at any time. In accessing and using this Website, User agrees to comply with all applicable laws and agrees not to take any action that would compromise the security or viability of this Website. The Company may terminate User’s access to this Website at any time for any reason. The terms hereunder regarding Accuracy of Information and Third Party Rights shall survive termination.

Website Content and Copyright

This Website is the property of Counterpoint and is protected by international copyright law and conventions. We grant users the right to access and use the Website, so long as such use is for internal information purposes, and User does not alter, copy, disseminate, redistribute or republish any content or feature of this Website. User acknowledges that access to and use of this Website is subject to these TERMS OF USE and any expanded access or use must be approved in writing by the Company.
– Passwords are for user’s individual use
– Passwords may not be shared with others
– Users may not store documents in shared folders.
– Users may not redistribute documents to non-users unless otherwise stated in their contract terms.

Changes or Updates to the Website

The Company reserves the right to change, update or discontinue any aspect of this Website at any time without notice. Your continued use of the Website after any such change constitutes your agreement to these TERMS OF USE, as modified.
Accuracy of Information: While the information contained on this Website has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, We disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. User assumes sole responsibility for the use it makes of this Website to achieve his/her intended results.

Third Party Links: This Website may contain links to other third party websites, which are provided as additional resources for the convenience of Users. We do not endorse, sponsor or accept any responsibility for these third party websites, User agrees to direct any concerns relating to these third party websites to the relevant website administrator.

Cookies and Tracking

We may monitor how you use our Web sites. It is used solely for purposes of enabling us to provide you with a personalized Web site experience.
This data may also be used in the aggregate, to identify appropriate product offerings and subscription plans.
Cookies may be set in order to identify you and determine your access privileges. Cookies are simply identifiers. You have the ability to delete cookie files from your hard disk drive.