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Mobile internet is still in its infancy in Mexico. Despite recent reforms aimed at leveling the playing field for both carriers and consumers, adoption remains contained. According to Cisco Systems estimates, there were 81.5 million mobile device users in Mexico in 2014. That figure was expected to rise to 95.7 million by 2019, when 73% of the population should use mobile devices.
Advanced devices are rarer. Cisco estimated there were only 30 million smartphones and 1 million connected tablets in use in Mexico last year. Top mobile broadband connection speeds were also currently scarce, with just 1% of mobile connections offering 4G speeds in 2014. While growth is on the way, total smartphones and tablets in use were expected to reach a modest 73 million and 6 million, respectively, in 2019. 4G connections should represent a little over one-fifth of the mobile links that year.
Mexico is also yet to move past the heavily concentrated market it has been under América Móvil’s dominance. While average revenue per user (ARPU) has descended slightly in the past year, consumers are still wary of using up their data allowances and incurring costly overcharges. As a result, average data traffic per user remained at 353 MB per month in 2014, said Cisco. Fully 68% of traffic came through smartphones, which will continue to drive most mobile data traffic in 2019, when two-thirds will come through such devices. That year, the average mobile data user will consume more than 4.19 GB per month.
In the current scenario, Mexico was the market with the least average time per day spent on smartphones (1.8 hours) in December 2014, according to Informate Mobile Intelligence. The company found that smartphone users in the US led in this metric, spending 4.7 hours each day on their phones. Other Latin American nations were also in the lower end of smartphone usage, with consumers in Brazil and Argentina devoting 1.9 hours and 1.8 hours daily, respectively.
eMarketer estimates there were 28.7 million smartphone users and 18.1 million tablet users in Mexico in 2014. Those figures will rise to 34.2 million and 22.9 million, respectively, in 2015.
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