Latin Business Chronicle has just launched its Latin Technology Index, a review of how 17 countries in Central and South America are rising to the challenge of boosting penetration rates in PC, fixed and wireless telephony, Internet, and broadband Internet.When it came to wireless, subs topped ten million - in other words two thirds of the eligible population in Chile use a mobile. There is another country in the Americas which weighs in with 67.62%. Goes under the name of the United States of America... More locally, there is Chile’s neighbour Argentina, the only Latin competitor that came anywhere near Chile, at 57.3%.
How broadly was broadband spread?
Chilean broadband users are admittedly off to a slow start, but even at just over 4.5% they are running at twice the rate of the nearest competitor. This latter is once again Argentina. Figures consulted for the Index are those generated by the ITU.
And how close is Argentina? Argentina won the silver medal in the Latin Technology Index. Her success in encouraging the came second-highest broadband and wireless penetration rates in Central and South America ensured her this position, underpinned as she was by the area’s fourth-highest Internet and fixed telecom rates. The gap between Argentina and third-placed Costa Rica is less pronounced. Costa Rica tops the PC and fixed telecom indices, while coming second in Internet penetration.
As mentioned 2005 data was used to compile the Latin Technology Index. Support for the findings did, however, come from Pyramid Research. This organisation reveals that in 2006 Chile once again led the region in Internet and broadband.
Did anyone else feature?
The two economic giants of Latin America, Brazil and Mexico, did feature in their own battle for placing on the Index. Brazil may indeed be the largest economy in the region but even its higher telecom penetration (fixed or wireless) failed to prevent it being overtaken by Latin America’s number two, Mexico, which overtook Brazil in PC, broadband and Internet. The two counties’ reward was fourth place for Mexico and fifth for Brazil. In fact the two players in question prove that a major economy does not mean high penetration rates. Over three million broadband users - nearly five times as many as Chile’s total - still only means 1.8% penetration. Internet penetration was just under 12%. Compared with Chile’s total of a whisker under 18%. As for wireless Brazil is eight times better connected than Chile but not only does Chile beat the USA as previously mentioned but it puts Brazil in the shade with the latter’s 46.3%.
And the non-classified?
All the world loves a loser, they say, and Honduras has that dubious honour. She lags behind the other 16 countries in wireless, broadband and PC penetration. Nicaragua and Bolivia are little more successful. Honduras and Nicaragua fall in the bottom five performers in all five categories but Bolivia redeems herself, as it were, by only finishing in the bottom five of four out of the five categories. Then there are those with very mixed accomplishments: Ecuador under-performs in Internet, broadband and PC penetration, but acquits herself well in wireless. Paraguay is an Internet, broadband and fixed telecom loser but fights back in PC. Peru trails smaller economies despite substantial success in certain fields. But it’s Chile all the way down to Patagonia.
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