According to Frost & Sullivan, the telecom sectors in Brazil and Mexico present a mixed bag, with declines or stagnation in some tech areas and major opportunities in others.
The current Brazilian economic crisis, regulation imbalances for smaller operators, high tax burdens for telecom services, and spectrum and cost limitations for broadband services continue to dampen growth in the Brazilian telecommunications services market, which saw $40.35 billion in revenue in 2015.
"We did see a 31.4% drop in revenue last year in this market due to depreciation of the local currency," said Carina Gonçalves, digital transformation industry analyst for Frost & Sullivan. "However, we can expect moderate growth over the next few years, with estimated revenues of $46.99 billion expected by 2021, mainly driven by the increasing penetration of pay TV and broadband, rising competitive forces, the rise in multiple-play bundles and value-added services (VAS) offers, and infrastructure investments for the expansion of fiber-optics networks and mobile broadband networks."
According to Frost & Sullivan, services providers that are growing above market, such as regional player Algar Telecom and global players like Level 3 and Orange Business, are emphasizing customer service, innovative business strategies and network expansion.
While mobile data, fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and IPTV revenue services have double-digit growth compared to 2014 (30%, 90.8%, 58.1%, respectively), mobile and fixed-voice services presented significant drops of 11.1% and 4.6%, respectively. Causes for the drops are related to decreasing mobile termination rates, cost reduction initiatives by consumers and enterprises due to the economic situation, as well as substitution for other types of communication, such as messaging and unified communication & collaboration solutions.
"In general, service providers are likely to find more growth opportunities in less penetrated markets, such as pay TV and fixed and mobile broadband, with the rise of small cable TV associations and Internet service providers (ISP) in the Brazilian market," said Gonçalves. "Moreover, over-the-top services are also increasing adoption, stimulating price re-positioning of traditional services. Data and demand for mobile connectivity services are the main drivers for most of these competitive forces."
The current Mexican telecommunication services market is still dominated by Telmex and its mobile arm Telcel, with the exception of the pay TV segment, where Televisa has the largest share. In this context, smaller competitors find it hard to capture market share and generate the much-needed return on investment. Over-the-top (OTT) services providers and systems integrators bring further competition in the fight for market share, creating a complex scenario within a mature market.
According to Frost & Sullivan, the market earned revenues of $26.9 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach $31 billion in 2021. Regulators have been trying to curb the dominance of Telmex and Telcel with only limited success. However, the recent merge between Axtel and Alestra brings a new and more powerful competitor into the marketplace.
"Although the regulatory effort to curve down Telmex/Telcel dominance over the Mexican market is still underway," said Ignacio Perrone, digital transformation industry manager for Frost & Sullivan, "the competitive landscape has already been revitalized, in particular with the entrance of AT&T into the mobile segment and the merge of Axtel and Alestra, which gave birth to a more solid competitor with a solid customer base combining residential and enterprise customers."
"Despite CAGR growing at single digits in all the segments, specific technologies or services in each segment present higher growth rates," said Perrone. "Thus, mobile data is expected to grow at double digits, while mobile voice is already declining. Among fixed-broadband technologies, ADSL is losing share, while cable modem and FTTH are growing steadily. In the pay TV segment, CATV is expected to decline, while DTH and IPTV will continue to grow. Data communications technologies present a very diverse scenario, with Metro Ethernet growing at double-digit rates, while circuits and private lines are declining. The only exception is fixed telephony, where all services - local voice and international long distance - are decreasing."
With the traditional services market considered to be mature, service providers are likely to find more success for growth in less penetrated markets, such as pay TV and data communications. In pay TV, specifically, OTT services are increasing adoption and stimulating price repositioning of traditional services. In data communications, the small and medium-sized business segment is driving growth, as large enterprises are already saturated. In addition, telecom players continue to invest in network expansion and upgrades, while looking toward new revenue sources such as mobile data, FTTH IPTV and value-added services.