Semiconductor giant Qualcomm recently hosted financial analysts at its headquarters to tell them about its plans for the future and key performance areas. The full (150+ slide!) presentation can be seen here, and it contains a lot of interesting information if you’re sufficiently technically inclined or follow the mobile industry closely. From my perspective, most of it was TL;DR. But the presentation did talk a little about its plans for emerging markets, and Latin America featured prominently in its growth plans, underlining the important role that mobile devices — including smartphones — will play going forward.
First off, note that the greatest amount of growth in 3G/4G deployment is going to occur in Latin America. While LatAm certainly lacks the scale that China and India command, this is still a key number worthy of note. And economically Latin America is in a much better position than either China or India, suggesting that per-device revenues could be higher than in other growing regions.
Again, Latin America features prominently in number of devices shipped. While developed regions remain stagnant, LatAm competes convincingly with the big players (China & India) on percentage growth terms.
A 27% CAGR number is fairly impressive considering we’re already nearly halfway into the period noted. While I was somewhat surprised by the notation about Push-to-talk (PTT), it does make a certain amount of sense. My observation of the PTT feature in developed countries has been that it is used frequently by on-the-go businesses and tradespeople as a substitute for phone calls when only short conversations are necessary. That feature set could have a lot of utility in Latin America.
While everyone acknowledges that wireless penetration is expanding quickly, I was struck by the 3G/4G expansion in this graph for emerging regions. That is significant growth considering the relative amount of infrastructure outlay it will require. However, when you consider that many emerging regions are skipping 1G/2G systems altogether and going straight from antiquated POTS infrastructure, it makes some sense.
While it’s far from the whole story — phone markets need strong economies to support expansion and political risk is an ever-present worry in emerging and frontier markets — overall this presentation was instructive for those taking the time to look at specific areas. LatAm is on a positive trajectory — can it continue?