Demand forecasts for passive infrastructure equipment and services in Central and South America
TowerXchange checks in on demand across six different categories of equipment and services in the 14 most active CALA tower markets
Central and South America are interesting regions, home to dozens of towercos and very different local telecom markets. In spite of significant macroeconomic challenges, CALA markets have been able to attract considerable investments and have been embracing the independent towerco business model over the past seven years. In this market by market review, TowerXchange focuses its attention of opportunities for equipment and service providers as well as offering an update on who the key players are in terms of towercos and MNOs in each CALA market.
In the run up to fourth edition of the TowerXchange Meetup Americas, taking place June 7 and 8 in Boca Raton, we offer our readers an exclusive analysis of where opportunities lie for tower manufacturers, turnkey providers, energy solution companies, RMS and site management system suppliers, access control experts as well as consultants.
In this article, we analyse the dynamics of the top fourteen markets in the region as well as provide snapshots of some of the other countries which are yet to see any towerco activity but might become interesting targets in the future.
Here are the specific categories we are analysing:
- Energy: our focus in this category is on backup and primary power solutions, energy storage and energy efficiency solutions.
- RMS, ILM and access control: is there need for remote monitoring and access control systems on most towers? Are they connecting to a NOC and to a Site Management or Infrastructure Lifecycle Management platform? And if not, should they?
- How many new towers are being built in the region? And who is deploying 4G LTE hence densifying its network? Which portfolios are currently being sold, opening to a wave of upgrades on existing sites?
- Where is there demand for small cells, microcells, DAS and other infill and in-building solutions? And in which markets are the greater volumes of such solutions being deployed?
- Where are deals happening? Which countries are still designing their telecom and infrastructure legal framework? These are the markets where the expertise of consultants and law firms is high on demand!
Selected estimated CALA tower counts
Brief commentary on a selection of CALA’s less active telecom markets
- Belize: TowerXchange estimates that there are less than 100 towers in Belize, with no active towerco to date in this duopoly.
- Cuba: In 2016, Cuba and the U.S. have reinstated their diplomatic relations which is a first step towards a modernisation of the country’s economy. However, the time isn’t right yet for its telecom sector to open up to towercos, especially since to date there’s only one, state-owned MNO, ETECSA and not a real interest in giving up the ownership of its infrastructure. That said, TowerXchange is aware of a number of solution providers and MSPs working with the MNO in the country.
- Honduras: The only known towerco in Honduras is Continental Towers and for now, there’s been little visibility on the local industry and its potential with around 20% towerco penetration and the two carriers – Tigo and Claro – still holding on to their tower portfolios.
- Jamaica: TowerXchange is aware of only one towerco - Continental Towers Corp - active in Jamaica. Digicel and FLOW are both engaged in 4G deployment with the former having launched service earlier in 2016 and the latter actively building the network.
- Panama: SBA, PTI, Continental Towers and Torres de Panama are all active towercos in the country. And news on this market will be announced shortly! Panama is a stable market with four creditworthy MNOs - C&W, Movistar, Claro and Digicel - and high growth potential in terms of its overall economy.
- Uruguay: Uruguay is yet to welcome any towerco (beside a company called Uruguay Torres of which we don’t know anything but the name…) but TowerXchange expects it to be the next target virgin market for towercos right after Paraguay. With a stable and competitive MNOs landscape - consisting of state-owned Antel, Movistar and Claro - we might see some towerco action in the near future.
- Venezuela: The local telecom sector is behind in terms of its development compared to the rest of the region, with mobile penetration below 100%. However, the market has been growing fast and local MNOs Movilnet and Movistar are both engaged in deploying 4G LTE across major cities.