While us Brits may shake our fists cursing at the telecom industry at large – swearing one day we’ll move to GiffGaff – in Latin America, telecoms is doing a world of good economically and socially, at least according to a report from industry analyst Ovum.
Ovum which has joined AHCIET to publish the AHCIET-Ovum Observatory of Telecoms Indicators in Latin America – or AOOTILA for short. As much of the world sank into economic doldrums in 2008, from then up to 2011 there has been overall growth in fixed and mobile internet connections by 72 and 41 percent respectively, according to the report.
Jobs, too, have enjoyed significant growth throughout the region. Workers employed by operators have increased by almost 60 percent – marking almost a quarter of a million jobs. Brazil and Nicaragua saw their telco workforce double, and Guetamala almost managed the same.
Telecom companies are increasing their capital investment – at roughly 28 percent overall- because they’re focusing on deploying access infrastructure. Without the correct infrastructure they are missing a trick on selling digital services, so it’s in their best interest.
In 2009, a year on from the onset of the global recession, Ovum noted that growing demand for fixed and mobile broadband has meant continuously strong investment – while capex grew by 28 percent on average to pass $22 trillion in 2011. Falling prices of entry level tariffs are helping to boost connectivity, too.
AHCIET secretary general Pablo Bello said that telcos are emerging in their influence and they do have a role to play in tackling poverty.
“It is time for countries to seriously consider how much faster we could close the digital divide and remove the regulatory moorings that are still hindering telecoms growth and equitable access to advanced services,” Bello said. “Our hard data shows that countries which have made the most progress are those where key players recognise the need for public-private cooperation with convergent public policies, regulations and taxation that encourage investment”.
“There are no magic spells to close the digital divide,” Bello said. “The key is to invest intensively in next-generation access networks and to educate on the sophisticated uses of digital connectivity, a challenge facing all participants”.