Argentina temporarily bans telcos from offering pay-TV
Juan Fernandez Gonzalez
| 24 November 2014
Although the decision is not final, Argentina's Senate has modified the new telecoms law in order to limit the services telcos can offer, including pay-TV.

According to the Senate's commission for media, the telcos incorporation into the audiovisual market is set to be gradual.

Following a statement by the commission president, Liliana Fellner, a sudden launch of direct-to-home (DTH) and fibre-based pay-TV services by the telcos would damage competition within the sector, as the telcos' networks operate throughout the whole country, something the small cable operators would find difficult to compete with.

With this change and other modifications, the telecoms legislation is on its way to becoming law, but the debate is still open. According to Argentina's national news agency Telam, no consensus was achieved during the commission's meeting and many senators disagree with new law.

The proposal of the new regulation was an unexpected move on the Government's part, with the sector actually expecting an LTE spectrum bid. The law aims to homogenise all networks under the same rules, as Argentina still retains a distinction between networks, separating cable for TV and cable for voice.

The initial project was supposed to give telcos immediate access to the pay-TV market but these latest modifications indicate that this will be done gradually. Neither the government nor the media commission have specified when or how the changes will be undertaken.