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Local operators drive the wireless revolution forward

Shareholders in global telecom companies don’t want to hear about Latin American expansion any more. That leaves the way clear for smart, well-financed local operators.

       
Advertising mobile phones in São Paolo: the key is making
money from low-income users

This is not a good year to be a telecommunications company. If you are one of these unfortunate entities, and if you're not in bankruptcy, chances are you're saddled with debt, your shareholders are screaming after seeing their investments all but wiped out and the last thing they're interested in is adventures in the Amazon. The bubble has burst, and the hangover has started.


At the height of the bubble, investors loved emerging-market telecoms. Emerging markets were a huge opportunity for any growth-minded telecoms company: if only a small proportion of the population has a phone, the market potential is enormous. Wireless companies, especially, jumped in with both feet: a whole new type of country was envisaged, where most people would leapfrog the fixed-line stage. Aggressive foreign-owned private companies would revolutionize countries used to stolid state-run monopolies.


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