Argentina - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses
Argentina to reassign 600MHz spectrum for mobile use by mid-2018
Argentina has one of the more advanced telecom infrastructures in Latin America, though much investment is still required to update services in rural areas. To this end the government has embarked on a large-scale National Broadband Plan. In August 2016 the state-owned infrastructure operator ARSAT launched a ARS4.53 billion project to extend broadband services to some 1,200 rural communities. Economic and political difficulties during the last decade have impacted on sector investments, and while the economy outlook into 2017 remains uncertain the devaluation of the peso against the US dollar continues to impact on operator revenue, and thus on investment plans.
Although there are numerous operators licensed to provide services, there is insufficient competition in the broadband sector, and the provision of both broadband and mobile services is dominated by a few key players. Spain’s Telefónica/Movistar and Telecom Argentina, which was recently sold by Telecom Italia, are the largest telcos, followed by América Móvil’s Claro/Telmex. The pay-TV sector is dominated by Grupo Clarín, which also has an interest in the broadband segment as well as the mobile market following its January 2016 acquisition of Nextel Argentina.
The country has one of the most dynamic mobile markets in the region, being the third largest after Brazil and Mexico. Mobile penetration was about 143% by mid-2016, with a slight fall in the number of subscribers year-on-year following a long period of steady annual growth. Three mobile companies closely compete in the market, with Claro marginally the market leader. Grupo Clarin has now entered the market via Nextel Argentina, and though Nextel only has about 7% market share Grupo Clarin is able to add mobile services to its broadband and cable TVs offerings. By the end of 2016 the conglomerate is also expected to have launched ITPV/VoD services. The MVNO is gaining in strength, with Virgin Mobile becoming one of the more recent licensed players. Resolution 38/2016 has in addition introduced regulations aimed at facilitating the entry of smaller MVNOs and so encouraging market competition.
Significant improvements 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, while by mid-2018 operators will also be able to make use of spectrum in the 600MHz band which will be reassigned from pay-TV providers.
The broadband market suffers from limited competition. The two fixed-line incumbents Telefónica Argentina and Telecom Argentina dominate the DSL platform, with the only meaningful competition coming from the cable modem platform, itself dominated by Grupo Clarín’s Cablevisión unit. The five-year national connectivity plan, dubbed ‘Argentina Conectada’, is being managed by the state-owned satellite company ARSAT, which also recently became involved in a ARS4.53 billion project to deliver low-cost broadband to 1,200 rural localities across the country.
This report provides an overview of Argentina’s telecom market and regulatory environment. It also reviews the broadband and pay TV markets, accompanied by relevant statistics, analyses, and broadband scenario forecasts to 2021. In addition the report assesses the mobile market, providing profiles of the mobile operators, a review of the growing MVNO sector and subscriber forecasts to 2021.