5G technology advances in Latin America
Uploading and downloading files at a higher speed, enjoying streaming services without interruptions, as well a massive connection of devices are some of the benefits of the fifth-generation (5G) network, which represents a gradual challenge of connection and disconnection of 2G and 3G networks for Mexico.
According to the Ericsson Mobility Report, Latin America will go from 11 Exabytes consumed in 2019 to a total of 1,686 Exabytes in 2025. This data demand will require not only more modern networks, but also larger portions of the radio spectrum.
This increase in data consumption will also respond to an advance of 5G technologies and further growth of IoT, reads the report "Best practices in disconnection of disused mobile networks for Latin America", prepared by 5G Americas.
In addition to operators' investment in infrastructure, developing mobile broadband networks requires a radio spectrum. According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the spectrum required by 2020 should be in the range between 1340 and 1960 MHz, depending on the market environment (low and high).
However, none of the Latin American markets reached even half of the ITU's recommendation for a competitive low market environment at the beginning of 2020. In Mexico, at the end of last year, the amount of spectrum was 700 MHz, which represents a 3.2-fold increase prior to the Telecommunications Reform, according to The Competitive Intelligence Unit (CIU).
But it is not enough, that is why the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT), recently approved the bases for bidding 41 blocks of radioelectric spectrum to expand the coverage of mobile connectivity networks, both telephony, and internet. This auction process will increase the availability of spectrum in the 800 MHz, PCS, AWS, and 2.5 GHz bands.
The migration from 3G or 4G technology to the 5G network will be possible from the allocation of various frequencies of the radio spectrum this 2021.
The 5G Americas report indicates that "the shutdown of 2G and 3G networks will have positive repercussions in terms of reducing mobile operators' costs, mainly because they will be able to focus their resources on boosting new technologies".
Especially if we consider that "the coexistence of networks of different technologies, 2G, 3G, 4G and soon 5G, is inefficient in the day-to-day operations of operators. In this context, an intelligent process that carries out the shutdown of networks that are becoming obsolete can bring benefits when developing 5G, but it also requires a series of challenges for operators," explained José Otero, vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean of 5G Americas, in a press release.