Argentina finally allows telcos to enter pay-TV market

Juan Fernandez Gonzalez
| 18 December 2014

After a long debate and a temporary ban which kept telcos from offering audiovisual services, Argentina's new telecom law has been approved and will allow large telecom groups to enter the pay-TV market, although it will keep restrictions at a local level in order to protect competition.

The country's telecom operators will be allowed to offer cable TV throughout the country via the networks which have been deployed by the local cable operators, a decision which generated strong opposition from the cable association ATVC, as it believes the government is giving international telecom groups free access to the national infrastructure.

Following the Argentina Digital law, Argentina's telecoms authority will have the right to decide when and which telcos will be given permission to start offering pay-TV in an attempt to avoid unfair competition in the smallest local markets. The same restrictions will be applied for the satellite and direct-to-home (DTH) markets.

Initially the law was to give telcos full access to the audiovisual market, but a senate modification ruled that incorporation into the audiovisual market was to be gradual.

The main goal of the new law is to homogenise all networks under the same rules - as Argentina still retains a distinction between networks, separating cable for TV and cable for voice - as well as guaranteeing the whole population access to telecom services.