The total mobile services market in Latin America is nearing saturation in terms of number of subscribers. In Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico, the mobile penetration rates were 92.2, 84.3, and 77.2 percent, respectively.
In these countries, the mobile content services market is expected to grow by a double-digit rate. One of the main drivers is the penetration of smartphones and other capable handsets, which enable advanced contents. Another driver is the increase in the adoption of mobile broadband.
“The high prices for data plans in Latin America, coupled with a common perception of mobile data as a high-cost service, inhibit the demand for advanced contents,” explains Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Bruno Neto.
In Argentina, Chile, and Venezuela, mobile penetration reached 119.2%, 103.8%, and 105.1%, respectively in 2009. Nevertheless, mobile content penetration among mobile users in these countries reached 14.8%, 12.1%, and 9.5%, respectively.
In Latin America, 65% of the total mobile content services market revenues came from subscription services, in which users pay to receive information by message. These services include information on various topics, such as soccer, horoscopes and even economics. With 16% and 15% of total content revenues, music and game downloads are among mobile content services that generate more revenue for operators in Latin America.
Although video and TV still represent very little of the revenue with content services, they are expected to have the highest growth in the region over the next five years.
The market for mobile content services is just in the beginning of its expansion and provides strong growth in the coming years in LA, expecting to reach about 150.4 million users by 2014. The launch of mobile operators application stores should help boost demand for content services.