During 2016 there was a lot of discussion and doubt about the feasibility of the Red Compartida model for Mexico's 700MHz spectrum. The spectrum and network are to be controlled by an independent wholesaler, meaning that any operator offering services via that network will in effect be operating as an MVNO.

MVNOs in Mexico continue to have a tiny share of the overall mobile market, but the country has jumped well into the lead in terms of the number of active MVNOs operating, which would appear to work against the opinion of those who doubted the Red Compartida model.

Before all the Mexican MVNOs came out of the woodwork, it was Colombia that stood out as Latin America's most successful market for virtual operators, and in June 2016 5G Americas noted a general wave of growth in the MVNO segment across the region, with multiple permits now awarded in Peru and Argentina, and Virgin getting the ball rolling in Ecuador.

However, it is still only a handful of markets in Latin America that have enough of an MVNO culture to be able to discern this group as a relevant component in terms of market share.

Figure - Mobile Penetration, Unique Users


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