International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) 11th Global Symposium for Regulators

Date: Wed, 09/28/2011 - 17:32

International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) 11th Global Symposium for Regulators

Allocating digital dividend spectrum for mobile broadband could contribute up to Us$15 billion to the latin american economy

At the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) 11th Global Symposium for Regulators in Armenia, Colombia, the GSMA and AHCIET announced that allocating ‘digital dividend’ spectrum in the 700 MHz band for the deployment of mobile services could contribute almost US$15 billion to the Latin American economy and will expand Mobile Broadband coverage to nearly 93 per cent of the population. The figures are from a new study , jointly commissioned by the GSMA and AHCIET and conducted by Telecom Advisory Services LLC (TAS), on the economic and social impact of the digital dividend in Latin America.
“Mobile Broadband presents a huge opportunity to drive connectivity across the region, as well as to contribute tens of billions of dollars to the overall economy,” said Tom Phillips, Chief Government and Regulatory Affairs Officer at the GSMA. “The switchover from analogue to digital TV across Latin America won’t be completed for a number of years. However there is currently significant capacity in the 700 MHz band ready to be utilised, and we urge all governments across the region to act now and allocate this spectrum for Mobile Broadband and reap the vast social and economic benefits this will provide.”
The figures represent the total economic impact of licensing the digital dividend spectrum for Mobile Broadband in Latin America, as well as the purchase of network infrastructure, support and commercial services. This contrasts with a gain of only US$3.5 billion if the band remains reserved for broadcasting across the region. For the five major economies in Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, the upside of allocating the digital dividend to Mobile Broadband is even more significant, contributing up to almost US$11 billion, compared to just under US$3 billion if the band is reserved for broadcasting.
Digital dividend spectrum is currently allocated for broadcasting in most Latin American countries, but, as a result of the transition from analogue to digital TV, this spectrum now has significant free capacity. By allocating digital dividend spectrum for Mobile Broadband technologies, such as HSPA and LTE, the disparity between the connected and disconnected, commonly known as the digital divide, can be lessened. Through the re-allocation of digital dividend spectrum, Mobile Broadband coverage could increase from 75% to approximately 95% of population in Argentina, 75% to 95% in Brazil, 53% to 90% in Colombia, 39% to 94% in Mexico and 65% to 89% in Peru.
The deployment of the 700 MHz spectrum for Mobile Broadband across Latin America also delivers significant social and economic benefits. This includes an additional US$3.1 billion in GDP growth, 5,540 more jobs and US$2.6 billion further tax revenue than would be created through broadcasting services. It would also help generate a consumer surplus of US$5.2 billion. Furthermore, there will be significant social impact, through improved access to educational resources, improved health services and greater financial inclusion.
Pablo Bello, Secretary General of AHCIET, added: “This study demonstrates how Mobile Broadband technology will become a key contributor to Latin American social and economic development. It will expand the reach of the internet to nearly 93 per cent of people across the region and will help create many new business and employment opportunities.”
Dr. Raul Katz of TAS stated: “The digital divide, in terms of supply, demand, prices and coverage, is still an issue. However, the region has a unique opportunity to address this and create an inclusive, information-based society. With a few exceptions, Latin American countries can seize the opportunities that Mobile Broadband delivers without delay.”
Phillips concluded: “The use of the 700 MHz band for Mobile Broadband is essential to achieving universal broadband internet access for people across Latin America. By acting now, governments have the opportunity to transform Latin American society and also drive its economy by helping to create an US$8 billion IT industry across the region, driven by local demand and a thriving export market for Mobile Broadband products and services.”

PHOTO ITU / P.M. Virot

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