Closing the coverage gap: Digital inclusion in Latin America
GSMA Intelligence published this report on mobile broadband network coverage in Latin America. Produced in collaboration with the GSMA’s Latin America and Connected Society teams, this is the first in a series of reports focused on addressing the barriers to delivering digital inclusion in the region.
In this first report we reveal that one in ten of the Latin America population – about 64 million people – are still outside of 3G/4G mobile broadband coverage range, and unable to benefit from the social and economic benefits that mobile broadband connectivity can deliver. Closing these ‘coverage gaps’ and providing universal mobile broadband access is therefore a major goal for regional governments, particularly as fixed-line penetration is very low across much of the region.
The report outlines how governments and operators can work together to solve challenges on the supply side (sustainable investments, spectrum availability) and the demand side (connecting rural, lower income and widely dispersed populations). Operator-led initiatives discussed in this report include infrastructure sharing and other forms of collaboration that can harness alternative connectivity solutions such as satellite. Meanwhile, we highlight the need for governments to move away from mandatory regulations on coverage and quality of service, and allow competition in a free and open market to guide mobile operators’ investment decisions – alongside other government-led incentives such as financial support and increased spectrum and infrastructure access.