IDC: wireless data services to explode in Latin America

Rabid competition among providers of wireless telephony services in Latin America is thinning their revenue streams, but rising demand from subscribers for using mobile phones to exchange data, such as text messages, could inject much-needed cash into the providers’ coffers, according to a new study.

Cellular telephony subscribers will spend just US$221 million to use their handsets for data transmission in 2000 in Latin America, but that figure is expected to soar to $4.2 billion in 2004, according to a study released Tuesday by market research firm International Data Corp. (IDC). The spending comes in the form of increased use of mobile phones, charges for exchanging text messages and subscription fees for receiving content such as news, stock quotes and weather reports from providers.

The growth in mobile data-transmission revenue will be fueled in large part by an increase in cellular subscribers in Latin America, from 63.6 million in 2000 to 143 million by 2004, said H