Federal District, Jalisco and Veracruz lead in mobile connections
According to data from Comisión Federal de Telecomunicaciones (COFETEL), there were 94.6 million mobile connections in Mexico in Q4 2011. And 42.6 million of them were in just four states plus the Federal District, representing nearly half of all mobile connections in the country.
eMarketer estimates that mobile connections in Mexico will reach 98 million in 2012, making it the second-largest market in Latin America, after Brazil.
While the sheer size of its population makes Mexico stand out in terms of total mobile connections, it trails most markets in Latin America in both mobile penetration overall and adoption rates for postpaid plans.
According to the February 2012 GSM Association and A. T. Kearney report “Latin American Mobile Observatory: Driving Economic and Social Development through Mobile Broadband,” based on Wireless Intelligence, mobile subscription penetration in Mexico reached 87% in 2011. In the same period, the penetration rates in Chile, Argentina and Brazil were 139%, 135% and 123%, respectively. The same study found that the postpaid mobile penetration rate of 14% in Mexico also trailed that of Chile (29%), Argentina (29%) and Brazil (20%).
Postpaid plans are a catalyst for mobile broadband uptake worldwide, and Mexico is expected to follow that pattern—eventually. This year, however, Wi-Fi hotspot usage in urban areas is driving smartphone uptake and mobile internet traffic in the country, but not necessarily mobile broadband adoption. In the case of the hotspots trend, smartphone users, especially owners of second-hand devices who have no credit cards or cannot afford a data plan, use Wi-Fi hotspot networks to access the internet, primarily via smartphones. Access to those networks is usually granted by fixed broadband providers to their existing customers at no extra cost.
“In Mexico, the decision to use a smartphone with or without a data plan is primarily dictated by income, resulting in different online habits that will affect online consumption among both types of users,” said eMarketer analyst Osbaldo Franco.
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Check out today’s other articles, “Brand Advocates Are Here to Help” and “How Mobile Expedites Search, Approval and Purchase of Products.”