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