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Chile's Mobile Market Is Small but Advanced

Chile’s mobile user base will expand slightly to reach 13.0 million in 2016

July 21, 2016 | Mobile

Chile is one of the most developed economies and mobile markets in Latin America, with the highest smartphone uptake rates across the region. So far, advertisers have been cautious about their investments in mobile, but eMarketer projects that mobile ad spending will expand at a sustained double-digit rate as familiarity with the channel improves throughout the rest of the decade, as explored in a new eMarketer report, “Mobile Chile 2016: Updated Forecasts and Key Growth Trends” (eMarketer PRO customers only).

Mobile Phone Connections in Chile, 2010-March 2016 (millions, % change and % of population)

Next to Brazil, Mexico and even Colombia, however, Chile is a relatively small market with a population projected to reach 18.2 million in 2016, according to the Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas (INE), the country’s census bureau.

As a mobile market, Chile is one of the most developed among the six countries in the region tracked by eMarketer; Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru are the other five. Total mobile connections in Chile have hovered at about 23 million almost every month since August 2012, according to local telecom regulator Subsecretaría de Telecomunicaciones (SUBTEL). Such stability points to a mature market.

There are three major mobile carriers in Chile: Spanish Telefónica’s Movistar, domestic player Entel and Claro, the brand used by Carlos Slim’s América Móvil in Spanish-speaking Latin America outside of Mexico.

Together, the three competitors control almost all of the market. Entel and Movistar are constantly trading the top spot. According to SUBTEL, Entel currently heads the market with 35.7% of mobile connections as of March 2016. Movistar had 34.3% that month, while Claro’s share was 24.1%.

Mobile Phone Users and Penetration in Chile, 2015-2020 (millions, % change and % of population)

eMarketer projects that the number of mobile phone users in Chile will reach 13.0 million in 2016, a 1.5% year-over-year increase. This expansion is just slightly higher than the population’s growth rate, which was 1.04% in 2015 and will drop to 0.89% in 2020, according to INE. Mobile phone user penetration will rise slightly from 73.9% this year to 75.1% in 2020, when 13.7 million individuals will regularly use a mobile phone, eMarketer estimates.

Chile’s mature mobile market comes sharply into focus when taking a closer look at the country’s uptake of the mobile web. According to SUBTEL, the number of mobile internet connections has slowly risen from just over 9 million in March 2013 to 11.8 million the same month this year. Over nine in 10 (91.9%) of them were for a smartphone, and the rest with dongles (4.7%) and machine-to-machine (3.4%) connections.

eMarketer PRO customers can view the full report here.

Get more on this topic with the full eMarketer report, “Mobile Chile 2016: Updated Forecasts and Key Growth Trends.”

eMarketer releases over 200 analyst reports per year, which are only available to eMarketer PRO customers.

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