Argentina has one of the most dynamic mobile markets in Latin America, being the third largest in the region after Brazil and Mexico. Mobile penetration was about 140% by mid-2015, with a slight fall in the number of subscribers year-on-year following a period of annual growth of 3-4%. Many Argentineans own multiple SIM cards, some having different phones for work and personal calls, some having a phone for each mobile company to take advantage of special offers, and some requiring an additional SIM card for mobile broadband.
Three mobile companies compete neck-and-neck, with América Móvil's Claro the market leader, controlling about a third of the mobile market by subscribers. The other significant players are Telecom Personal (the mobile unit of Telecom Argentina, controlled by Telecom Italia and in the process of being sold) and Telefónica's Movistar. Nextel has a small market share, while Fecosur, an association of fixed-line telecom cooperatives, offers services as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), under the Nuestro brand.
Argentina's smartphone penetration is relatively high for the region, though it continues to be held back by the high cost of devices. Significant changes to the reliability of mobile networks are anticipated during the next few years following the auction of spectrum in the 700MHz and 1700-2100MHz bands, which increased the available spectrum for operators to 380MHz. Most of the spectrum has been set aside for LTE, while 37.5MHz was reserved for 2G and 3G. The new licensing will bring significant investment and infrastructure development to the market.
This report provides an overview of Argentina's mobile market and a brief profile of the mobile operators. It contains key market statistics and analyses on regulatory matters, as also scenario forecasts up to 2020.
Regulator rejects the sale of 49% stake in Nextel Argentina by NII Holdings; spectrum in the 700MHz bloc allocated to licensees; revised set of rules and procedures for MVNOs established; multi-spectrum auction for 3G and LTE services delivers $2.233 billion; roaming deal with Chile and Peru on the cards; MNOs sign MoU on Calling Party Pays rules; Claro Argentina investing $400 million annually in infrastructure, Arsat awarded 25% of Argentina's mobile spectrum, provides wholesale mobile services under the Libre.ar brand; MNOs offer handsets with built-in FTA air digital terrestrial TV reception; new law regulates Mobile Virtual Network Operators; MNP rules amended; Claro launches OTT service Clarovideo; telcos' operating data to Q3 2015; recent market developments.