The boom in the market for mobile services to major companies in Latin America means that service providers are now able to offer a wide array of services. For the moment, however, sophisticated mobile services are, for a variety of reasons, not within the reach of all businesses in the region.

Mobile Enterprise Services: Wide Variations among Latin American Countries

Business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan has just published a report entitled Latin American Mobile Enterprise Services Markets, which looks at the market for mobile services to the business sector in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela. This sector has seen a sharp rise in the Latin American countries overall, with revenues reaching $16.53 billion, up by 4.5% in 2012. However, the report reveals that provision of mobile services is not progressing at the same pace in all the countries studied, and that specific affordability issues in each country will mean that over the next few months providers will have to adapt their service offerings, making available specialised services that are also more reasonably priced.

Not all countries are equal

While Chile has three mobile virtual mobile networks operators (MVNos) – Virgin Mobile, Mobile GTD and Netline – other countries are still struggling to reach 100% penetration. However, among the six Latin American countries with developed economies, Mexico is the only one in this situation. In the same vein, market growth also depends on various factors which appear to be country-specific. In Argentina, service providers need to concentrate on offering lower prices, accessibility to compatible multi-SIM cards, the development of M2M (machine-to-machine services) and access to the Internet via high-speed broadband. In Colombia, priority needs to be given to personalised applications and cloud computing. In every country however, mobile operators first and foremost need to deploy services which are affordable, innovative and which match the real needs of their client companies, the Frost & Sullivan report underlines.

Some services remain inaccessible

Overall, the main drivers for growth identified by Frost & Sullivan are M2M, high-speed broadband capacity for mobile devices, the existence of a large number of app developers, and cloud computing. As Frost & Sullivan ICT Industry analyst Maria Agustina Di Genaro explains: “Mobile operators have to develop solutions which show enterprises that the value they derive from the deployment justifies the high cost.” Nevertheless it remains a fact that a high proportion of local small or medium-sized firms still find sophisticated mobile services inaccessible due to either prohibitive cost or technical reasons, the main drawbacks being low penetration of smart devices and mobile data services, heavy taxes on mobile devices, limited 3G network coverage and security concerns.

By Kathleen Comte