2014: a year of major events for the LatAm tower industry

From the Brazilian World Cup to TowerXchange Meetup Americas - an exciting ten months ahead

Read this article to learn:

  • TowerXchange Meetup Americas 2014 announced
  • How the Mexican telecom industry could change thanks to the constitutional reform
  • An exciting year for the Brazilian telecom sector
  • Entel’s expansion into Peru
  • From 2011 to 2013: the exponential growth of the regional tower industry in numbers
  • The first Latin American tower count

What can the telecom tower industry expect from this new year? 2014 has just started but expectations are already high for yet another intense year for the Latin American telecom tower industry. 2013 closed with a few relevant news such as the acquisition from SBA of over 2000 towers from Brazilian carrier Oi, ANATEL ruling against Telefonica holding TIM Brasil’s stake while Telecom Italia kept denying any rumour regarding its sale of the Brazilian company and the announced Mexican secondary telecom reforms being postponed until Q1 2014.

We are now looking at how the market has been evolving in the past two months while updating on recent news regarding the LatAm tower industry.

Finally, we’re also pleased to unveil the first TowerXchange independent tower count for Latin America!


A few events are dominating diaries, with the Brazilian World Cup high up on the agenda of telecom companies involved in swiftly upgrading capacity to cope with thousands of visitors and an exponential growth in data traffic during the sport event of the year in June. At the same time, TowerXchange take a close look at Mexico and its constitutional reform and potential positive impact on the competitiveness of the local telecom industry. The expansion of Entel in Peru thanks to the acquisition of Nextel from NII Holdings is another interesting move and we will pay attention when the company releases its Peruvian plans later this year.

Another event to mark on your agenda is the TowerXchange Meetup Americas 2014. We are very proud to announce that the LatAm tower industry will gather from 20-22 May in Orlando, Florida, to host TowerXchange’s first Meetup for the region. So set aside some time in your diary for the most interactive and targeted event of the year, an invitation-only gathering of the top 200 decision makers in the Latin American telecom tower industry.

In addition to our closed door, exclusive Meetup, we offer our participants the unique occasion to join PCIA Wireless Infrastructure Show, which will be taking place simultaneously. The PCIA Wireless Infrastructure Show attracts over 2,000 attendees, including senior representations from North American towercos and investors. This co-location is a great opportunity to offer TowerXchange attendees three days of focused, intense LatAm networking while also exposing them to key suppliers and lessons learned in the highly mature and profitable North American tower industry.

Tracking the growth of the independent tower sector in Latin America

In 2011, approximately 7,287 towers were sold in the region with key transactions taking place in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and in Central America. An interesting year for the regional industry mostly thanks to Telefonica actively divesting its portfolios across the region in continuation with the previous year.

2012 followed a very similar pattern with 6,378 towers divested. However, only 958 of them were sold outside of Brazil, with the remaining 5,420 Brazilian tower sales consisting of medium scale transactions of 800-1,900 towers each.

In 2013 the number of towers being sold reached double digits for the first time – with an astonishing 14,035 total towers divested, more than double the previous year. Again, Brazil ruled the way with 12,369 towers being sold and the remaining 1,666 in Mexico.

We are left wondering if 2014 is able to follow the same growing pattern and offer yet another eventful year for the industry. We expect that over the next few months we will talk more about consolidation and partnerships among carriers, network deployment and Het-Net in Brazil, in preparation for the World Cup. Other countries will keep pushing forward to adapt their industry model to the growing demand for innovation, and we predict tower companies being well placed to help. But the biggest wild card is represented by Mexico, its reform, and the potential for increased competition – see our Mexico case study for expert analysis.

While TowerXchange keep a close eye on the development of the LatAm industry, we are offering our readers a first snapshot of the regional tower count. We will keep updating this chart with new transactions in order to provide a comprehensive perspective on the tower portfolios of each independent towerco in the region.

This analysis is generated through consultation with the towercos, review of transaction coverage, quarterly reports and annual results. Different towercos count towers differently – for example, some include sites for which permits have been obtained but where no tower has yet been built, others do not. As such, this table should be treated as our best estimate. If your company owns or operates independent telecom towers in Latin America, I would be delighted to hear from you and to add your towers to the count. Contact me at: aneri@towerxchange.com

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