Argentina is one of the most mature telecom markets in Latin America. This report covers trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, Internet, broadband, pay TV, and converging media.
Argentina has one of the most solid state-of-the-art telecom infrastructures in Latin America. In 2009, despite the economic downturn, telecom revenues were up by 11% year on year. Broadband revenues enjoyed the highest growth rate, followed by mobile telephony.
Argentina’s telecom market in 2010 is unlikely to behave very differently from 2009. The fixed-line market will doubtless continue to stagnate. The mobile market will probably continue to expand at a slightly lower rate than in 2009. Broadband will be Argentina’s fastest growing telecom sector. Demand for fixed broadband should remain strong - this market has much potential for growth, as has mobile broadband.
Argentina’s fixed-line teledensity is higher than in neighbouring Brazil and Chile - in fact, it is one of the highest in Latin America. Two regional incumbents, Telefónica de Argentina and Telecom Argentina, dominate the local fixed-line market despite liberalisation, but the long distance market is highly competitive and VoIP is well developed.
With penetration rates upward of 120%, Argentina is, together with Uruguay, the leader in South and Central America. And yet the Argentine mobile market continues to grow, as more and more users sign up for multiple mobile accounts. Three operators, Movistar, Claro, and Telecom Personal, run a close competition for market share.
All three mobile companies offer 3G services nationwide. Mobile broadband is becoming increasingly popular, driven by the shortage of fixed broadband accesses outside of the main urban centres and the expansion of 3G networks.
In terms of Internet user penetration, Argentina is the regional leader, with a rate more than twice as high as the world average. The broadband market is one of the most developed in Latin America, only second to Chile’s. ADSL is the main broadband technology, but cable modem occupies a significant place with about one-fourth of the subscriber base.
The market is divided fairly equally between Telefónica de Argentina, Telecom Argentina, and Grupo Clarín. All three companies offer broadband wholesale services, but continue to dominate the market. Argentina’s telecom law establishes that dominant operators must provide access to the local loop, but Local Loop Unbundling was never properly regulated and implemented.
Argentina’s pay television market is the most mature in Latin America. In fact, Argentina is a world leader in terms of cable TV penetration, with more than one home out of two being subscribed to cable TV services.
Market highlightsArgentina’s economy is showing higher growth rates than originally forecast thanks to increased government spending ahead of the 2011 elections, robust consumer activity, bumper crops, and a strong rebound in neighbouring Brazil.The country’s regulatory framework encourages competition and the rise of smaller telecom players. However, Number Portability has been delayed for many years, with implementation now expected either before the end of 2010 or in 2011.Telecom Argentina has been under cross-holding scrutiny since rival operator Telefónica acquired a stake in its parent Telecom Italia. The government ordered Telecom Italia to sell its stake in Telecom Argentina, but this order was overturned by an Argentinean Court. The Italian telco remains locked in a legal battle with the Argentinean government.Mobile spectrum auctions are expected to take place in the second half of 2010 to reallocate Movistar’s 42.5MHz of returned spectrum.Together with the returned spectrum, the regulator reportedly plans to offer 90MHz of radio spectrum in the 1710MHz-1755MHz and 2110MHz-2155MHz frequency bands for the provision of 3G and 4G services such as Long Term Evolution (LTE).Both Telefónica de Argentina and Telecom Argentina undertook LTE tests in the first half of 2010, in partnership respectively with NEC Corporation and Ericsson.Argentinean telecom cooperative Fecosur has signed a Mobile Virtual Network Operator agreement with Telecom Personal to offer services over the latter’s infrastructure under the brand name Nuestro.A controversial new Audio-Visual Communications Law limits the number of television licences one company can own and allows telephone cooperatives into the pay TV sector.The Argentinean government has adopted the Brazilian version of the ISDB-T standard for the launch of digital terrestrial TV in Argentina.Argentina Internet, broadband and telecoms statistics - 2007 - 2010
Sector 2007 2008 2009 2010 (e)
Internet users (million) 16 20 23 25
Penetration rate 40.7% 50.3% 57.3% 61.7%
Annual growth 23% 25% 15% 9%
Total subscribers (million) 2.56 3.47 4.30 5.10
Penetration rate 6.5% 8.7% 10.7% 12.6%
Annual growth 61% 35% 24% 19%
Fixed lines in service
Total subscribers (million) 9.43 9.74 9.76 10.00
Penetration rate 24.0% 24.5% 24.3% 24.7%
Annual growth -0.3% 3.4% 0.2% 2.4%
Mobile telephony subscribers
Total subscribers (million) 38.56 43.70 48.40 53.00
Penetration rate 98.0% 110.0% 120.6% 130.8%
Annual growth 28% 13% 11% 10%
(Source: BuddeComm based on industry data)
For those needing an objective and high-level strategic analysis on Argentina, this report is essential reading and gives further information on:
Telecom Argentina’s shareholder structure and cross-ownership issues.
Mobile market outlook and developments, including company performance, ARPU, spectrum awards, and mobile data services.
The development of 3G and mobile broadband services in Argentina.
An analysis of Argentina’s broadband market, including ADSL, cable modem, WiFi, WiMAX, and Broadband Powerline (BPL).
Regulatory issues surrounding the pay TV market and the repercussions of the new media law.How different scenarios are likely to affect the fixed-line, mobile, and broadband markets in the ten years to 2020.Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.
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