Argentina has made a full turn-around from its terrible recession, and the telecom sector has been growing apace. Fixed-line teledensity is 22.4%, similar to Brazil and Chile, and about 4% higher than the Latin American average, but there remains a marked discrepancy between urban and rural areas. While fixed lines have stagnated, mobile telephony has boomed, and Argentina’s mobile phones outnumber fixed line in service by more than 2.5. Mobile penetration is on a par with Brazil’s, higher than most other South America countries, but still a long way behind Chile. Three mobile companies operate in the country: Movistar, CTI Móvil, and Telecom Personal. Following the merger of Unifón and Movicom BellSouth in January 2005, the merged entity, Movistar, accumulated surplus spectrum which it must relinquish in stages, between 2005 and 2008. Three companies are vying to secure Movistar’s returned spectrum: cooperative start-up Comarcoop, CTI Móvil, and Hutchison. Argentina’s Internet market is the third largest in Latin America, and penetration is among the highest in the region. Traditionally, cable modem was the more popular medium of broadband access, but ADSL has consolidated its leadership in the country’s broadband market. Convergence strategies offer promising prospects in Argentina, and several companies are investing in triple play services. Digital terrestrial TV is under discussion: Argentina is likely to adopt the same system as Brazil, and the introduction of digital TV is expected to take place in September 2006.
Argentina is covered in our report on The Mercosur Countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay) and Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela.
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