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New Argentine telecom regulator blocks key sales among telcos
Thursday, September 8, 2016 5:33:50 AM America/New_York
Argentina has one of the more sophisticated telecom infrastructures in Latin America though much investment is still required to update services in rural areas. There are numerous operators licensed to provide services, but there remains insufficient competition in the broadband sector where the provision of services is dominated by a few key players. The mobile sector is also concentrated, with Claro, Telecom Personal and Movistar each having a similar share and dominating the market despite the presence of several MVNOs. In general terms, Telefónica and Telecom Argentina, in the process of being sold by its owner Telecom Italy, are the largest telcos, followed by Claro (owned by América Móvil) and Grupo Clarín.
Mobile revenue accounts for more than two thirds of total telecom revenue, and this proportion continues to rise at the expense of fixed-line sales. As in other countries in the region, fixed-to-mobile substitution has adversely affected the fixed-line market, where teledensity has fallen steadily each year since peaking in 2005. This trend is likely to continue into 2016.
Argentina’s smartphone penetration is relatively high for the region, and further growth is being stimulated by the falling cost of devices and by the extension of LTE networks. Significant improvements to the to the reliability of mobile networks have followed the auction of spectrum in the 700MHz and 1700-2100MHz bands, which increased the available spectrum for operators to 380MHz. Most of this spectrum has been set aside for LTE, while the new licenses have brought significant investment and infrastructure development to the market.
Nevertheless, economic difficulties in recent years have had an impact on telcos investment strategies, exacerbated by the devaluation of the local currency. Political issues between the government and the main media company and broadcaster Grupo Clarín contributed the passing of the Argentina Digital Act at the end of 2014. Under its provisions, telcos have been able to provide some audiovisual services, while operators have also been obliged to provide access and interconnection to competitors.
The launch of the second Arsat satellite in late 2015 will significantly boost telecom services in the region in coming years. Improved broadband connectivity in rural areas of Argentina has also contributed to the growth of OTT videostreaming, with Netflix being the market leader.
For more information see – Argentina - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses