Panama has the potential to become Central America’s most innovative telecommunications market

Panama’s telecommunications market is in a position to become one of the most advanced in Latin America in the medium term. The revolution that proposes the digital economy will boost the country’s growth opportunities. This revolution will be reflected in the economic and social development of Panama, according to the study “Themes in Telecommunications Regulations in Panama” published by 5G Americas and part of the Latin American Market Studies Series.

The high penetration of mobile technologies allows Panama to have productive activities and social development, taking advantage of its conditions to improve other sectors of the economy and society. This creates an opportunity for authorities to leverage the market to position themselves as a growing digital economy.

“One of the important conditions that the market has is the great capacity of new technologies available to its inhabitants. In this scenario, it is important that authorities consider issues related to infrastructure and radio spectrum so that the evolution of 4G, as well as the arrival of 5G, is efficient. In particular, to take advantage of the development of the Internet of Things (IoT), which will allow the digitalization of the productive segments of the economy, “said Jose Otero, Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean of 5G Americas.

The study reinforces that Panama is one of the countries with the lowest amount of radio spectrum allocated for the use of mobile services (240 MHz). Due to high penetration of service, market authorities should consider having more of this spectrum for these technologies. To improve this situation, the National Public Services Authority (ASEP) has about 90 MHz in the AWS band as additional capacity for mobile broadband services. However, the regulatory authority has not allocated the 2.5 GHz band for mobile services, a portion that can be used for LTE development. Thus, the 614-698 MHz segment in this market was not attributed to mobile services either.

It is also important for the authorities to ratify the regulation on the development of wireless networks in order to achieve a consensus at national level that allows operators to be predictable in the construction of new networks. These efforts are needed to enhance the arrival of the Panama Weather Alert Systems, which are under the responsibility of the National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC), incorporating better weather alerts for the population, an essential strategy to save lives before any natural disaster.

In this study, we analyze the main indicators of the mobile broadband market, as well as characteristics and development opportunities in a digital environment. Finally, it highlights the situation of the radioelectric spectrum, the development of infrastructure, the norms to implement signal blockers and the use of universal service.