The requirement to roll out 4G in World Cup host cities across Brazil has contributed to a boost in the number of new users of the high-speed technology, according to new research.
Two million out of the three million 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) users in Latin America are based in Brazil, according to the study, carried out by wireless industry trade association 4G Americas.
The research adds that in the first six months of 2014 alone, the number of fourth-generation mobile technology users has gone up by 50 percent. According to the Brazilian telecommunications agency Anatel, out of the 273 million mobile phones in operation in Brazil, about 2.4 million handsets are LTE-ready. The vast majority — about 146 million — are GSM-based.
The trade association credits the growth of 4G LTE subscriptions to investments made by local providers ahead of the World Cup and the Olympic Games in 2016.
"Latin America realized tremendous growth of LTE in the first quarter of this year," said Chris Pearson, President of 4G Americas. "Brazil is leading the acquisition of LTE connections in the region, speared by the World Cup and Olympic events that have progressed the deployment of LTE network coverage. The demand for mobile broadband services across the region continues to positively affect the increase in LTE subscriptions."
The report points out that while smartphone penetration was at 20 percent by the end of 2013 and fuelled the uptake of mobile broadband, LTE subscriptions grew by one million users in the first quarter, while HSPA and HSPA+ connections increased by 19 million in the same timeframe.
4G Americas predicts that LTE subscriptions in the region will continue to experience an annual growth rate of nearly 100 percent for the next five years.