New Argentine telecom regulator blocks key sales among telcos. 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, Telefonica and Telecom Argentina, in the process of being sold by its owner Telecom Italy, are the largest telcos, followed by Claro (owned by America Movil) and Grupo Clarn.
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 Clarn 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.
This report provides an overview of Argentina’s telecom market and regulatory environment, accompanied by statistical data, and analyses on recent developments. The report also reviews the broadband and pay TV segments, including scenario forecasts to 2020. In addition, it assesses the mobile market, providing a profile of the key operators and their strategies for mobile broadband into 2016, key market statistics, and analyses on regulatory matters.
New regulatory body, AFTIC, replaces SeCom and CNC;
Regulator blocks Telecom Italia’s sale of its indirect stake in Telecom Argentina to Fintech;
Argentina Digital Act comes into force, leading to radical overhaul of telecom sector;
Economic outlook into 2016 remains uncertain;
Arsat-1 and 2 satellites launch, providing a range of services across Argentina and neighbouring countries;
Telcos’ network investment strategies driven by broadband and data communications services; Netflix streaming accounting for a fifth of broadband traffic;
Regulator rejects the sale of 49% stake in Nextel Argentina by NII Holdings;
Revised set of rules and procedures for MVNOs established;
Report update includes telcos’ operating data to Q3 2015, recent market developments.
Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications