Argentina - Mobile Infrastructure, Broadband, Operators - Statistics and Analyses

Synopsis

Argentina has one of the most dynamic mobile markets in Latin America and is the third largest in the region after Brazil and Mexico. Mobile penetration has fallen in recent years in line with a reduction in the number of subscribers 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. Pricing competition among operators has reduced the incentive for multiple-SIM card ownership. As a result, the number of mobile subscribers fell 2.8% in 2017, by a further 5.3% in 2018 and by 1.4% in the first nine months of 2019.

Three players closely compete in the market, with América Móvil’s Claro marginally the market leader. The other significant players are Telecom Personal (the mobile unit of Telecom Argentina) and Telefónica’s Movistar. Nextel Argentina 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. The regulator has encouraged the market entry of additional MVNOs to increase competition. Market changes are anticipated in 2020 if Telefónica Group completes its plan to sell its business unit in Argentina, as part of a wider effort to exit Latin America though retaining its interests in Brazil.

Significant improvements to the capacity 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 3G. In addition, the regulator is aiming to reassign 600MHz spectrum from pay-TV services for mobile broadband use. Operators have trialled 5G though given the continued capacity of LTE infrastructure it is unlikely that commercial 5G services will be available before 2021.

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 2024.

Key developments:

  • Personal contracts Huawei to trial 5G;
  • Movistar Argentina begins deploying LTE-M and NB-IoT technologies;
  • Mercosur bloc countries end mobile roaming charges;
  • Regulator allows MNOs to access ARSAT spectrum;
  • Government provides €20 million for two 5G trials;
  • Movistar, Claro and Telecom Personal awarded 15-year licences in the 2.5GHz band;
  • Spectrum in the 700MHz band allocated to licensees;
  • MNP rules amended;
  • Report update includes the regulator's market update to September 2019, telcos' operating data to Q3 2019, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Claro, Telecom Personal, Movistar, Nextel Argentina, Nuestro Móvil, Libre.ar, Virgin Mobile, Tesacom

Table of Contents

  • Market analysis

  • Mobile statistics

    • General statistics
    • Mobile data
      • Short Message Service (SMS)
    • Mobile broadband
  • Regulatory issues

    • Spectrum auctions
      • 450MHz
      • 600MHz
      • 2.5GHz
      • 700MHz, 1900MHz and 1700MHz
      • ARSAT spectrum
    • Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
    • Calling Party Pays (CCP)
    • Roaming
    • SIM card registration
  • Mobile infrastructure

    • 5G
    • 4G (LTE)
    • 3G
    • Other infrastructure developments
      • Mobile satellite
      • IoT
  • Major mobile operators

    • Claro (previously CTI Móvil)
    • Telecom Personal
    • Movistar
    • Nextel Argentina
    • Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
  • Appendix – Historic data

  • Related reports


List of Tables

  • Table 1 – Growth in the number of mobile subscribers and penetration – 2009 – 2024
  • Table 2 – Mobile subscriber annual change – 2009 – 2019
  • Table 3 – Change in mobile operators’ market share – 2010 – 2019
  • Table 4 – Change in the ratio of mobile prepaid/postpaid subscribers – 2013 – 2019
  • Table 5 – Change in the number of prepaid and postpaid mobile subscribers – 2013 – 2019
  • Table 6 – Growth in mobile market revenue and investment – 2013 – 2019
  • Table 7 – Mobile annualised ARPU – 2013 – 2019
  • Table 8 – Growth in mobile voice traffic – 2013 – 2019
  • Table 9 – Decline in SMS traffic – 2007 – 2019
  • Table 10 – Growth in the number of active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration rate – 2009 – 2024
  • Table 11 – Change in annual mobile numbers ported – 2012 – 2019
  • Table 12 – Growth in the number of Movistar’s LTE subscribers and penetration – 2016 – 2019
  • Table 13 – Increase in the number of LTE base stations in service – 2015 – 2019
  • Table 14 – Growth in the number of Claro’s mobile subscribers – 2010 – 2019
  • Table 15 – Growth in Claro’s wireless revenue – 2012 – 2019
  • Table 16 – Change in Telecom Personal’s mobile subscribers and annual change – 2009 – 2019
  • Table 17 – Change in the number of Telecom Personal’s prepaid, contract, mobile broadband subscribers – 2013 – 2019
  • Table 18 – Change in telecom Personal’s mobile ARPU – 2012 – 2019
  • Table 19 – Development of Telecom Personal’s mobile service revenue – 2012 – 2019
  • Table 20 – Personal – mobile data and voice usage per month– 2013 – 2018
  • Table 21 – Change in the number of Movistar’s mobile subscribers – 2010 – 2019
  • Table 22 – Development of Movistar’s mobile revenue – 2009 – 2019
  • Table 23 – Decline in Movistar’s blended mobile ARPU – 2008 – 2019
  • Table 24 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration – 1998 – 2009
  • Table 25 – Historic - Nextel mobile revenue – 2012 – 2015
  • Table 26 – Historic - Nextel mobile ARPU – 2012 – 2015
  • Table 27 – Historic - Mobile operators’ market share – 1999 – 2009
  • Table 28 – Historic - Nextel – mobile subscribers – 2002 – 2015
  • Table 29 – Historic - Telecom Personal mobile subscribers, annual change – 1999 – 2009
  • Table 30 – Historic - Movistar – mobile subscribers – 1999 – 2009
  • Table 31 – Historic - Claro – mobile subscribers – 1999 – 2009

List of Charts

  • Chart 1 – Growth in the number of mobile subscribers and penetration – 2009 – 2024
  • Chart 2 – Change in mobile market share at a glance – 2010 – 2019
  • Chart 3 – Change in the ratio of mobile prepaid/postpaid subscribers – 2013 – 2019
  • Chart 4 – Change in the number of prepaid and postpaid mobile subscribers – 2013 – 2019
  • Chart 5 – Growth in mobile market revenue and investment – 2013 – 2019
  • Chart 6 – Growth in mobile voice traffic – 2013 – 2019
  • Chart 7 – Decline in SMS traffic – 2007 – 2019
  • Chart 8 – Growth in the number of active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration rate – 2009 – 2024
  • Chart 9 – Change in annual mobile numbers ported – 2012 – 2019
  • Chart 10 – Growth in the number of Movistar’s LTE subscribers and penetration – 2016 – 2019
  • Chart 11 – Increase in the number of LTE base stations in service – 2015 – 2019
  • Chart 12 – Growth in the number of Claro’s mobile subscribers – 2010 – 2019
  • Chart 13 – Growth in Claro’s wireless revenue – 2012 – 2019
  • Chart 14 – Change in Telecom Personal’s mobile subscribers and annual change – 2009 – 2019
  • Chart 15 – Change in the number of Personal’s prepaid and contract subscribers – 2013 – 2019
  • Chart 16 – Change in telecom Personal’s mobile ARPU – 2012 – 2019
  • Chart 17 – Development of Telecom Personal’s mobile service revenue – 2012 – 2019
  • Chart 18 – Change in the number of Movistar’s mobile subscribers – 2010 – 2019
  • Chart 19 – Development of Movistar’s mobile revenue – 2009 – 2019
  • Chart 20 – Decline in Movistar’s blended mobile ARPU – 2008 – 2019

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