The total mobile subscription in Uruguay reached an estimated 5.4 million in 2020-end, accounting for a very small share of 0.7% of the total mobile subscriptions in Latin America region. Over the next five years, the total mobile subscription will grow at a CAGR of 4.5% and MNOs will add a combined 1.3 million subscriptions, bringing the country’s total mobile subscriptions to 6.7 million by 2025.

This growth will be supported by continuous rise in smartphone subscriptions, projected rise in M2M/IoT subscriptions as well as rising multi-SIM ownership. Moreover, mobile subscription penetration of the population in Uruguay will grow further to reach 186.0% by 2025.

4G subscriptions accounted for 73.3% share of the total mobile subscriptions in 2020. Its share will grow further to reach 81.9% of the total mobile subscriptions by 2025, driven by growing 4G network coverage. In April 2019, Antel switched on the first 5G radio bases in the Latin America, covering selected areas in the state of Maldonado.

The service has focused on FWA and later in 2020 in IoT solutions. For this launch, Antel has adopted a non-standalone (NSA) technology approach that allows operators to leverage existing LTE infrastructure for the roll out of 5G services.

To support 5G development in the country, URSEC, the Uruguayan regulator, will allow telcos to conduct 5G Standalone trials (SA) on temporarily assigned spectrum in the 26GHz band. Also, in addition to the 26GHz band, the regulator is scheming the use of the 3.5GHz-3.6GHz range for 5G services. We expect 5G to constitute 16.2% share of the total mobile subscription by the end of 2025.