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The Covid-19 pandemic has cast a spotlight on the importance of digital technologies and connectivity, and served as a catalyst for innovation and new ways to deliver essential services remotely, including education and healthcare. The mobile industry in Latin America has risen to the challenge of sustaining social and economic activity in the region during the pandemic, despite unprecedented growth in data traffic. On average, operators reported a 25% increase in mobile data traffic during lockdown. By the end of 2020, nearly 360 million people in the region, representing 57% of the population, will be connected to the mobile internet. However, with nearly 300 million people in the region still unable to connect to the mobile internet, the pandemic serves as a reminder of the need to accelerate efforts to close the digital divide and ensure no one is left behind.
The mobile market in the region will reach several important milestones over the next five years: 15 million mobile 5G connections in 2022, half a billion smartphone connections by 2023, and more than 400 million mobile internet subscribers by 2025. These achievements will be underpinned by operators’ continued investment in network infrastructure. Despite the economic uncertainty brought about by the pandemic, operators in the region will invest $99 billion in infrastructure rollouts between 2019 and 2025.
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