Argentina approves new mobile TV services
Juan Fernandez Gonzalez
| 31 October 2014
In an unexpected move, the Argentinean Government has approved a new telecoms law at a time when the industry was actually expecting an LTE spectrum bid. The Argentina Digital regulation homogenises all networks under the same law, thus allowing telcos to enter the pay-TV market.
Argentina was one of the few countries in Latin America which still retained an analogue distinction between networks, separating cable for TV and cable for voice. But since the networks' digitalisation, all of them were able to transport data and offer multiple telecom packages, something not allowed by the sector's authorities.
The regulation change sets more stable bases for both telcos and pay-TV operators in the country, which will now be able to offer triple- and quad-play packages. However, the government has not specified when and how this change will be undertaken in order to keep competition within the market, especially regarding the hundreds of local cable operators present in the country.
But the Argentina Digital law does not only lay out rules for pay-TV, it also includes some controversial rules which have been not welcomed by the industry. Through the new regulation, the Government has the ability to fix the price for telecom services such as the Internet or mobile data (including 4G which will soon be available).
The legislation defines telecoms as a public service, with the prices therefore being under the control of the state. Although many people are happy with the measure, other voices in the industry have complained, saying the decision will affect the sector's profitability and reduce investment.