Argentina. At the close of the fourth quarter of 2017, eight markets in Latin America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean already had at least one LTE-Advanced network (LTE-A or LTE-Advanced) deployed in its territory. Although the delivery of new spectrum allowed some of these launches, it is necessary to continue cleaning bands such as 700 MHz to increase service coverage.
Most of the LTE-A networks in the region were presented as of the second semester of 2016, after completion of band allocation processes such as 700 MHz and 2,5 GHz. Not all the spectrum delivered in these bands is "clean" ( free of interference from other communication systems) by the occupation of other services, such as broadcasting.
In 2017, LTE-A deployments were announced in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Uruguay. These complements those that occurred at 2014 in Puerto Rico and at 2016 in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru. For the first quarter of 2018, it is expected that the first networks of this type will be announced in Costa Rica and Mexico.
LTE-Advanced is an evolution of the fourth generation technology (4G) LTE. One of its main advantages is that it uses the aggregation of carriers (carrier aggregation, CA) to provide higher data transmission speeds, reaching theoretical peak rates of up to 3 Gbps for download (download) and 1,5 Gbps in upload or upload ( upload), according to the white paper LTE to 5G: Cellular and Broadband Innovation, published by 5G Americas.
Obtaining more spectrum remains a priority for the development of mobile broadband. Depending on the degree of occupation of the spectrum by market, allocating the 700 MHz and 2,5 GHz bands can provide up to an additional 280 MHz for mobile services. Prospects such as 600 MHz, 2,3 GHz, 3,5 GHz bands and millimeter wave spectrum bands above 24 GHz (mmWave), considered for 5G, will aggregate around 10 GHz of new spectrum as a whole.
In Latin America and the Caribbean there were 2017 closures around 18 LTE-A networks, and there were at least 22 mobile operators in eight different markets that deployed LTE in the 700 MHz band. Not in all cases offers of services on said band were available at the national level. In markets such as Argentina or Brazil, for example, the spectrum of the digital dividend was assigned, but the spectrum is not completely available for use throughout the national territory.
The conditions that encourage the emergence and expansion of LTE-A networks will lay the foundations to move towards the next generation of mobile technologies (5G) in Latin America. 5G will be designed to integrate with LTE networks and many 5G features will be implemented as extensions of LTE-Advanced and LTE-Advanced Pro networks before there is full availability of 5G.
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