2013 Argentina - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

Publication Overview

Argentina has one of the most advanced telecom markets in Latin America, but faces economic and political problems. This annual report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Argentina’s fixed-line, mobile, broadband, and pay-TV sectors. Subjects include:

  • Market and industry analyses and overviews;
  • Facts, figures, and statistics;
  • Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
  • Telecom infrastructure;
  • International satellites and submarine fibre optic cables;
  • Major players, revenues, subscribers, mobile ARPU;
  • Fixed broadband (ADSL, cable modem, FttH);
  • Internet and VoIP;
  • Convergence and triple play solutions;
  • Pay TV market;
  • Mobile voice and data markets;
  • Next generation mobile (3G and mobile broadband);
  • Scenario forecasts for the fixed-line, mobile, and broadband markets for the years 2015 and 2020.

Key developments:

TASA’s and Telecom’s fixed-line revenues increase by 12% and 13% respectively; state-owned Arsat is building three new satellites (Arsat-1, Arsat-2, and Arsat-3); Argentina Conectada will require an investment of AR$8 million (about US$1.8 million); more than 30 telecom cooperatives have been awarded pay TV licences; Argentina’s three top mobile operators launch handsets with built-in free-to-air digital terrestrial TV reception; a new decree has been passed to regulate Mobile Virtual Network Operators.

Companies covered in this report include:

Telefónica de Argentina/Movistar, Telecom Argentina/Telecom Personal, Claro, Grupo Clarín/Cablevisión, Nextel, Nuestro Móvil, Arsat/Libre.ar, IPLAN, IP-TEL, Fecotel, Fecosur, COTEL, Cotecal, Phonevision/Omnivision, DirecTV, Supercanal, Telecentro, Red Intercable, MercadoLibre.

Researcher:- Lucia Bibolini
Current publication date:- April 2013 (12th Edition)

Executive Summary

Argentina’s mobile revenues are two thirds of the total and growing

BuddeComm’s yearly update of Argentina - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband, and Forecasts provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications market of Argentina, including the regulator’s statistics, company data, and other industry indicators to the end of 2012, as well as estimates for 2013 and expected market developments in the coming years.

Economic climate

For Argentina, 2012 was a disappointing year, with GDP growth well below market forecasts. The outlook remains uncertain; economists’ projections vary between 1.8% and 4.6% GDP growth for 2013. Inflation remains a serious problem. Other macroeconomic, legal, and regulatory challenges include nationalisation risks, tight import controls, and restrictions on currency exchange.

Telecom revenues

Telecom revenues are expected to reach more than US$17 billion in 2013. Mobile revenues account for more than two thirds of total telecom revenues, and this proportion continues to rise at the expense of fixed-line sales. Considering both mobile and fixed-line revenues, Spain’s Telefónica/Movistar and Italy’s Telecom Argentina are the largest telecom operators, with consolidated revenues of US$4.92 billion and US$4.87 billion respectively in 2012. Mexico’s Claro is in third place, with US$3.22 billion, and Argentina’s Grupo Clarín occupies a distant fourth place, with US$1.68 billion.

Competition

The country’s regulatory framework encourages competition and supports smaller telecom players. Argentina has adopted a single licence system (Licencia Única), which telecom companies must obtain regardless of the services they wish to provide. When operators apply for a licence, they must list which services they wish to offer, but can at any time register for additional ones. However, broadband competition is weak, and the wholesale market is poorly regulated.

Fixed-line market

Argentina’s teledensity is the fourth highest in South America after Uruguay, Chile, and Brazil – having been overtaken by the latter in 2012. As in other countries, fixed-to-mobile substitution has adversely affected the Argentinean fixed-line market. In fact, since peaking at 24.5% in 2005, the country’s teledensity has shrunk by 2.5 percentage points.

Fixed-line operators

The local fixed-line market is made up of the following: the incumbents Telecom Argentina (Telecom) and Telefónica de Argentina (TASA); some 400 small telecom operators, mostly cooperatives; a number of cable TV companies that offer fixed telephony over their networks as part of triple play bundles. TASA and Telecom own respectively 52% and 45% of the country’s fixed lines in service. Unlike other countries where triple play has helped boost the flagging fixed-line sector, the only company that could have made a difference – Grupo Clarín – has not been allowed to offer telephony services.

Broadband market

In terms of broadband penetration, Argentina ranks third in Latin America after Uruguay and Chile. But economic and political difficulties have had a negative impact on investments, and the high broadband penetration figures hide a less glowing picture: in terms of mean download speed, Argentina ranks 11th in Latin America.

Broadband players

The two fixed-line incumbents Telefónica de Argentina and Telecom Argentina dominate the ADSL market, offering similar services and together controlling about 68% of all broadband in the country. The only meaningful competition is cable modem, offered by Grupo Clarín, but political interference has put the company at risk.

National broadband plan

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 plan, launched by the government in October 2010, is to be implemented over five years. State-owned satellite company Arsat is responsible for the project.

Pay TV market

Argentina’s pay television market is the most mature in Latin America. In fact, Argentina is a world leader in terms of pay TV penetration, with about two homes out of three subscribing to pay TV services. Pay TV households are evenly distributed, with penetration in the major cities only slightly higher than in the rest of the country.

Pay TV companies

Grupo Clarín’s Cablevisión is the country’s leading pay TV operator with about 36% of the market; DirecTV is the second largest player, with a 20% share; Supercanal, Telecentro, and Red Intercable have approximately 6% to 7% each; the remaining 25% of the market is shared among small local companies and cooperatives.

Mobile market

Argentina is one of the most dynamic mobile markets and the third largest in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico. Mobile penetration looks set to reach approximately 147% by end-2013, with the number of subscribers increasing by 3% annually. Many Argentineans own multiple SIM cards, some having different phones for work and personal calls, some having a phone for each mobile company to take advantage of special offers, and some requiring an additional SIM card for mobile broadband.

Mobile operators

Three mobile companies compete neck-and-neck, each one controlling about one third of the country’s mobile market. América Móvil’s Claro is the market leader, followed by Telecom Personal (the mobile unit of Telecom Argentina, controlled by Telecom Italia). Telefónica’s Movistar is in third place. Nextel has but a small 3% market share, and Fecosur, an association of fixed-line telecom cooperatives, offers Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) services branded Nuestro.

Smartphones

Argentina’s smartphone penetration is well above the estimated world average; at end-2012, about 24% of Argentineans owned a smartphone, compared with an estimated 15% world penetration. In 2013, Argentina’s smartphone market is expected to outperform all other markets in the region.

Market Highlights

  • In 2013, Argentina’s fastest growing telecom segment is likely to be 3G, both for mobile broadband and for phone-based internet browsing. The country’s smartphone market is expected to outperform all other markets in the region.
  • In partnership with Brazil, Argentina is developing the local link of a new submarine cable network, the Atlantic Cable System (ACSea);
  • Argentina is the world’s most engaged social networking market in terms of time spent on social media websites. The country’s Facebook user base is the twelfth largest globally, and about 15% of the population use Twitter.
  • The bitter fight between Cristina Kirchner and Grupo Clarín continues. The survival of the pay TV and broadband operator remains uncertain. The Audiovisual Law is, in the eyes of Clarín, nothing but an act of revenge on the part of a president unwilling to accept criticism. Kirchner, for her part, accuses Grupo Clarín of using its media outlets to try to topple her administration.
  • Having been awarded about 25% of Argentina’s mobile spectrum in September 2012, state-owned Arsat is preparing to provide wholesale mobile services under the brand name Libre.ar, but the project may take some time to implement.

This report is essential reading for those needing high-level strategic information and objective analysis on the telecom sector in Argentina. It provides further information on:

  • Regulatory environment;
  • Economic trend and its impact on telecommunications;
  • Analyses of Argentina’s telecom sectors;
  • Telecoms operators – consolidations, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Company performances and ARPU statistics;
  • Spectrum auctions and regulatory issues;
  • 3G and mobile broadband developments;
  • Historical and current subscriber statistics and forecasts.

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Key Statistics
    • 1.1 Country overview
      • 1.1.1 Economic background
  • 2. Telecommunications Market
    • 2.1 Overview of Argentina’s telecom market
    • 2.2 Market analysis – 2013
  • 3. Regulatory Environment
    • 3.1 Background
    • 3.2 Regulatory authorities
      • 3.2.1 Secretaría de Comunicaciones (SeCom)
      • 3.2.2 Comisión Nacional de Comunicaciones (CNC)
      • 3.2.3 Secretaría de Defensa de la Competencia y del Consumidor
    • 3.3 Interconnect
    • 3.4 Number portability (NP)
    • 3.5 Single licence
  • 4. Fixed Network Operators
    • 4.1 Overview of operators
    • 4.2 Telefónica de Argentina (TASA)
    • 4.3 Telecom Argentina
    • 4.4 Telecom cooperatives
    • 4.5 Claro
    • 4.6 IPLAN
  • 5. Telecommunications Infrastructure
    • 5.1 National telecom network
      • 5.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
      • 5.1.2 Public payphones
    • 5.2 International infrastructure
      • 5.2.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 5.2.2 Satellite networks
    • 5.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 5.3.1 CDMA 450
      • 5.3.2 IP and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
    • 5.4 Wholesale
  • 6. Broadband Market
    • 6.1 Overview
      • 6.1.1 Broadband statistics
      • 6.1.2 Broadband market analysis
      • 6.1.3 National broadband plan
    • 6.2 Broadband players
      • 6.2.1 Overview
      • 6.2.2 Telefónica de Argentina (Speedy)
      • 6.2.3 Telecom Argentina (Arnet)
      • 6.2.4 Cablevisión (FiberTel)
    • 6.3 Cable modems
    • 6.4 Asymmetrical digital subscriber line (ADSL)
    • 6.5 Fibre-to-the-home (FttH) networks
    • 6.6 Wireless broadband
    • 6.7 Media convergence
      • 6.7.1 Triple play models
      • 6.7.2 Broadband TV (IPTV)
  • 7. Digital Media / Digital Economy
    • 7.1 Digital economy
      • 7.1.1 E-government
      • 7.1.2 E-education
      • 7.1.3 E-commerce
      • 7.1.4 Online banking
    • 7.2 Digital media
    • 7.3 Broadcasting
      • 7.3.1 Pay TV overview
      • 7.3.2 Regulatory issues
      • 7.3.3 Cable TV
      • 7.3.4 Satellite-based digital pay TV developments
      • 7.3.5 Digital terrestrial TV
  • 8. Mobile Communications
    • 8.1 Overview of Argentina’s mobile market
      • 8.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 8.2 Regulatory issues
      • 8.2.1 Spectrum auctions
    • 8.3 Mobile technologies
      • 8.3.1 Overview
      • 8.3.2 Third Generation (3G) mobile networks (UMTS)
      • 8.3.3 Long-term evolution (LTE)
      • 8.3.4 Mobile handsets/smart phones
    • 8.4 Mobile network operators
      • 8.4.1 Claro (previously CTI Móvil)
      • 8.4.2 Telecom Personal
      • 8.4.3 Movistar
      • 8.4.4 Nextel Argentina
    • 8.5 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO)
      • 8.5.1 Overview
      • 8.5.2 Nuestro Móvil
      • 8.5.3 Libre.ar
    • 8.6 Mobile voice services
      • 8.6.1 Prepaid
    • 8.7 Mobile messaging
      • 8.7.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
    • 8.8 Mobile broadband
    • 8.9 Mobile content and applications
      • 8.9.1 Mobile TV
    • 8.10 Mobile satellite
  • 9. Forecasts
    • 9.1 Forecasts – fixed-line market 2015; 2020
      • 9.1.1 Scenario 1 – higher fixed-line growth
      • 9.1.2 Scenario 2 – lower fixed-line growth
    • 9.2 Forecasts – fixed broadband market 2015; 2020
      • 9.2.1 Scenario 1 – higher broadband growth
      • 9.2.2 Scenario 2 – lower broadband growth
    • 9.3 Forecasts – mobile market 2015; 2020
      • 9.3.1 Scenario 1 – higher mobile market growth
      • 9.3.2 Scenario 2 – lower mobile market growth
      • Table 1 – Country statistics Argentina – 2013
      • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2013
      • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2013
      • Table 4 – Broadband statistics – 2013
      • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2013
      • Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
      • Table 7 – Evolution of GDP in Argentina – 2000 - 2013
      • Table 8 – Fixed and mobile market share – 1998 - 2013
      • Table 9 – Telecom revenue of major operators – 2010 - 2012
      • Table 10 – Telecom revenue by segment and as proportion of national GDP – 2010 - 2015
      • Table 11 – Fixed lines in service – market share – 2003 - 2013
      • Table 12 – TASA fixed lines in service – 2000 - 2013
      • Table 13 – Telecom Argentina fixed lines in service – 2000 - 2013
      • Table 14 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1996 - 2013
      • Table 15 – Public phones – 1996 - 2013
      • Table 16 – TASA wholesale accesses – 2005 - 2012
      • Table 17 – Internet users and user penetration – 1996 - 2013
      • Table 18 – Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration rates – 2001 - 2013
      • Table 19 – Fixed broadband market share by technology– 2003-2013
      • Table 20 – Broadband operators’ market share– 2003 - 2013
      • Table 21 – TASA – broadband subscribers – 2001 - 2013
      • Table 22 – Telecom – broadband subscribers – 2003 - 2013
      • Table 23 –FiberTel – broadband subscribers – 2003 - 2013
      • Table 24 – Cable modem subscribers and penetration rates – 2001 - 2013
      • Table 25 – ADSL subscribers and penetration rates – 2001 - 2013
      • Table 26 – Argentina – B2C e-commerce spending – 2005 - 2013
      • Table 27 – Facebook users and penetration – 2008 - 2013
      • Table 28 – Pay TV (cable and satellite) subscribers and penetration rates – 1999 - 2013
      • Table 29 – Pay TV operators’ market share – 2010 - 2012
      • Table 30 – Cablevisión cable TV subscribers – 2000 - 2013
      • Table 31 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 1998 - 2013
      • Table 32 – Mobile operators’ market share – 1999 - 2013
      • Table 33 – Evolution of mobile ARPU in Argentina – major operators – 2010 - 2012
      • Table 34 – Claro – mobile subscribers – 1999 - 2013
      • Table 35 – Personal – mobile subscribers – 1999 - 2013
      • Table 36 – Movistar – mobile subscribers – 1999 - 2013
      • Table 37 – Nextel – mobile subscribers – 2002 - 2013
      • Table 38 – Mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio – 2004 - 2013
      • Table 39 – Mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2008 - 2013
      • Table 40 – Forecast fixed lines – higher growth scenario –2015; 2020
      • Table 41 – Forecast fixed lines – lower growth scenario –2015; 2020
      • Table 42 – Forecast broadband subscribers – higher growth scenario –2015; 2020
      • Table 43 – Forecast broadband subscribers – lower growth scenario –2015; 2020
      • Table 44 – Forecast mobile subscribers – higher growth scenario –2015; 2020
      • Table 45 – Forecast mobile subscribers – lower growth scenario –2015; 2020
      • Chart 1 – Fixed and mobile subscribers in Argentina – 2002 – 2013
      • Chart 2 – Fixed-line market share at a glance – 2012
      • Chart 3 – Evolution of fixed lines in Argentina – 2002 – 2013
      • Chart 4 – Fixed broadband technologies at a glance – 2003 - 2013
      • Chart 5 – Broadband market share at a glance – 2003 - 2013
      • Chart 6 – Evolution of pay TV in Argentina – 2000 - 2013
      • Chart 7 – Pay TV operators’ market share at a glance– 2012
      • Chart 8 – Mobile market share at a glance – 2012
      • Exhibit 1 – Map of Argentina
      • Exhibit 2 – Telefónica de Argentina at a glance
      • Exhibit 3 – Telecom Argentina at a glance
      • Exhibit 4 – Telecom Argentina – shareholder and antitrust issues
      • Exhibit 5 – Grupo Clarín at a glance
      • Exhibit 6 – Claro at a glance
      • Exhibit 7 – Telecom Personal at a glance
      • Exhibit 8 – Movistar at a glance

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Mobile & Wireless Broadband and Media
Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure)
Regulations & Government Policies
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Number of pages 61

Status Archived

Last updated 30 Apr 2013
Update History

Analyst: Lucia Bibolini

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