Argentina - Fixed Broadband, Digital Economy and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses
Although Argentina's broadband penetration is the third highest in Latin America, after Uruguay and Chile, economic and political difficulties during the last decade have impacted on sector investments, with the result that the average download speed, at about 5.3Mb/s in the first quarter of 2016, is relatively low for the region.
The market suffers from limited competition. The two fixed-line incumbents Telefónica de Argentina and Telecom Argentina dominate the DSL platform. These operators offer similar services and together control about 68% of all fixed-line broadband connections in the country. The only meaningful competition is from the cable modem platform, itself dominated by Grupo Clarín's Cablevisión unit. The company had a difficult relationship with the former government, resulting in it having to separate its operations, including its broadband division Cablevisión (providing services branded as FiberTel) into separate entities as part of new media legislation introduced in 2013. A change of government enabled Grupo Clarin to acquire Nextgen Argentina from NII Holdings in January 2016, despite the deal having been opposed by the regulator on the basis that it had not been conducted with proper process.
A national connectivity plan, dubbed Argentina Conectada', involves the deployment of broadband services and free-to-air digital TV to underserved parts of the country. The five-year plan was launched by the government in late 2010. The state-owned satellite company ARSAT is responsible for the project. In August 2016 ARSAT also became a partner in a project to deliver low-cost broadband to 1,200 localities across the country. The project is expected to cost ARS4.53 billion (about $310 million), of which ARS3.66 billion will be used to connect localities to the Federal Fibre-Optic Network (REFEFO), which is comprised of a federal backbone network made up of thirteen geographic regions, as well as provincial networks interconnected to the backbone. When complete, the network will span 58,000km and connect around 2,600 localities, accounting for 90% of the population.
Argentina's pay TV market is the most mature in Latin America. The country has one of the highest rates of pay TV penetration, with about two homes out of three subscribing to services. Pay TV households are evenly distributed, with penetration in the major cities only slightly higher than in the rest of the country. OTT videostreaming has become very popular, with Netflix by far the market leader. Indeed by early 2016 Argentina had the third highest number of subscribers to Netflix in Latin America, behind Mexico and Brazil.
Cablevisión is the country's leading pay TV operator with about 36% of the market; DirecTV, now owned by AT&T, is the second largest player, with a 20% share; Supercanal, Telecentro, and Red Intercable have approximately 6% to 7% each, while the remaining 25% is shared among small local companies and cooperatives. The IPTV and VoD sectors are underdeveloped, although Cablevisión planned to launch such services by the end of 2016.
This report provides an overview of Argentina's broadband and pay TV markets, accompanied by relevant statistics, analyses, and broadband scenario forecasts to 2021.
Telecom Argentina increases investment to offer bundled services over FttP infrastructure; Grupo Clarin invests in bundled services, decides to split up Cablevisión and create Cablevisión Holding; Netflix streaming accounts for a fifth of broadband traffic; telcos barred from providing audiovisual services until at least 2018; TVFuego builds a GPON network; Argentina Conectada requires ARS8 million investment; AT&T acquires DirectTV operations in the US and Latin America; more than 30 telecom cooperatives awarded pay TV licences; Supreme Court rejects appeals against ban on telcos' ability to provide broadcasting services, including IPTV and VoD services; Telecom Personal launches Wi-Fi service; report update includes company financial and operating data to Q2 2016, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Telefónica de Argentina, Telecom Argentina, Grupo Clarín, Cablevisión, Claro, VeloCom, Netizen, Phonevision/Omnivision, Telpin, DirecTV, Supercanal, Telecentro, Red Intercable, ARSAT, MercadoLibre.