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 early 2016, with a slight fall in the number of subscribers year-on-year following a long period of steady annual growth. Many Argentineans own multiple SIM cards, some having different phones for work and personal calls, and some having a phone for separate mobile networks to take advantage of special offers. Other subscribers have an additional SIM card for mobile broadband services.
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 Argentina, which was sold to the conglomerate Grupo Clarin in January 2016, 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 subscriber forecasts to 2021.
Personal on track to provide 85% LTE population coverage by end-2016; NII Holdings completes the sale of Nextel Argentina to Grupo Clarin; 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, new law regulates Mobile Virtual Network Operators; MNP rules amended; Claro launches OTT service Clarovideo; report update includes telcos’ operating data to Q1 2016, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Claro, Telecom Personal, Movistar, Nextel, Nuestro Móvil, Libre.ar, Virgin Mobile, Tesacom.