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Mobile access is crucial to combat coronavirus in Latin America, says GlobalData

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With the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continuing to rise in Latin America, many countries are taking drastic measures and closing their borders to stop the spread of the virus. Telcos will play a vital role to support the population and businesses during this period of global crisis, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Marcelo Kawanami, Manager and Head of Consulting at GlobalData, comments: “The Latin America region has a low fixed broadband household penetration rate at 38% in 2019, an index just above Africa and Middle East. Nevertheless, the region’s average unique mobile user penetration rate surpasses 77%, with some countries close or over 90% such as Argentina, Costa Rica and Uruguay.

“Mobile access is a powerful tool that can support governments as a mean to centralize information related to the spread and prevention of the virus.”

Vivo Brazil has announced improvements in the capacity of its fixed and mobile networks to support a potential spike in demand. For businesses’ clients, the operator is not charging the data cap on collaboration tools, including Teams from Microsoft, and Webex from Cisco.

On March 9, Colombian President Ivan Duque announced the launch of a free mobile app containing preventive advice and news to keep the population informed.

Kawanami continues: “Many telcos in the region are focusing on actions to keep the population properly informed. Entel Chile opened the access to social media apps such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Twitter to both its prepaid and post-paid customers. TIM Brazil will provide mobile data bonus up to 100MB per day to clients that watch an informative video regarding COVID-19.”