Yankee: 162 million LatAm wireless subscribers in 2006

The number of mobile-telephony subscribers grew 59 per cent in 2000 in Latin America to 60 million compared with 1999, which means that 15.6 per cent of people in the region used cellular phones by the end of last year, up from 10 per cent in 1999, according to market researcher Yankee Group Inc. in Boston.

The firm puts the compound annual growth rate for mobile-telephony subscribers in Latin America at 18 per cent between 2000 and 2006, said Cristiane Mahler, a Yankee analyst who focuses on the region’s wireless markets.

“That’s impressive growth,” she said.

The region is expected to end 2006 with about 162 million mobile-telephony subscribers.

While prepaid accounts helped drive subscriber growth in 1999 and 2000 in Latin America, other factors will play a big part in the coming years, including the ongoing expansion of competition in wireless markets and the entry of new carriers in countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Colombia.

“There is still room for growth,” she said.