IDC Forecasts Mobile Data Market in Latin America Will Soar to US$4.2 Billion by 2004

MIAMI, FL — DECEMBER 5, 2000 — A booming cellular market in Latin America is expected to fuel the development of mobile data, driving the market value of this segment to US$4.2 billion by 2004, according to the recently released study by IDC, Data on the Go: The Mobile Data Market in Latin America, Forecast and Market Analysis 2000-2004. The report states the number of cellular subscribers in the region will grow to 143 million while the number of mobile data subscribers will jump to over 71 million users by 2004.


"While the average revenue per user earned by cellular operators continues to decrease due to increased competition, mobile data immerges as a critical revenue source given the expected traffic increases derived from wireless application protocol (WAP) and the per-message fees that will be collected from short messaging services," said Hector Hernandez, senior research analyst with IDC Latin America.

While in the short term, most of the mobile data activity will be in the form of short messaging services, WAP-based services will have already taken off by 2001 and will be generating almost US$200 million in revenues from over 107 million minutes that Latin American users will utilize that year. As the volume and scope of content and applications increase substantially, WAP protocol comes into play as a more advanced technology for the delivery of wireless data over cellular networks because it does not have constraints regarding the length of the data that is being transferred. According to IDC, the number of WAP users is expected to soar from just over half a million by yearend 2000 to more than 19 million in 2004.

"The greater flexibility and potential of WAP-based applications will drive the WAP market with greater prevalence after 2001, once some of the main obstacles, such as limited handset availability, lack of localized content, and infrastructure limitations, are removed," Hernandez said.

Despite these obstacles to WAP implementation and the dilemma relating to the choice of investing in short-term solutions versus making bold moves toward deploying third-generation technologies, the number of cellular operators offering WAP services in the six largest markets in Latin America has already increased from 7 in July to 23 in October 2000. Due to the interest that cellular players are placing on the market, the biggest obstacles to the development of mobile data services in Latin America are slowing eroding.

More information on the size, dynamics, and forecasts of the cellular and mobile data markets in Latin America, including SMS and WAP-based applications, can be found in IDC's new report Data on the Go: The Mobile Data Market in Latin America, Forecast and Market Analysis 2000-2004 (IDC #LA1076G). This study provides regional and country data and forecasts on major cellular and mobile data market drivers and inhibitors, the number of subscribers, total traffic, and the total cellular and mobile data market value in the key six countries in Latin America (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Venezuela). To purchase this report, contact Demetra Georgakopoulos at 1-800-343-4952 extension 4496 or

About IDC

IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in-depth analysis, and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice. More than 700 analysts in 43 countries provide global research with local content. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.

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