REEDOM ON THE
differences, National access points in geographically remote areas such as Patagonia and the
Northwest contribute to this urban-rural divide.
The average broadband plan costs 115 pesos
(US$23) per month for the first twelve months, compared to a minimum monthly wage of 2,875
pesos (US$560). While some studies indicate that the average cost of a broadband plan could be
almost twice the aforementioned figure, such cost disparity is likely the result of differing scopes of
analysis—if only the initial price of service is analyzed, a lower cost estimate results; if cost is based
on average prices for the first two years of service, a higher cost estimate is seen.
In recent years, the Argentine government has accelerated its efforts to promote internet access via a
number of progressive policies. These include: the Digital Agenda of 2009, which established a
national plan for ICTs to connect citizens with government institutions in order to create a
“knowledge society;” the Argentina Connected Plan of 2010, a five-year initiative to expand
infrastructure and telecommunications services to the entire country; and the Equal Connection Plan
of 2010, which led to the provision of internet connections at all public secondary schools and laptop
computers for students throughout the country. Although universal service obligations have been in
place since 2001, the Universal Service Trust Fund, a government initiative predicated on the
enforcement of access commitments, was not enacted until November 2010.
As of 2013, these policies have resulted in increasing internet access in rural areas, schools, parks,
and public spaces.
Some provinces have also made arrangements with the national government to
build a wider fiber-optic network. In certain areas, rural cooperatives are responsible for the
installation of the network, resulting in significant growth in local penetration rates, and allowing
provincial governments to plan for future triple play service.
Considering the national
government’s share of the mobile spectrum, discussions have arisen regarding the availability of tetra
play service (a bundled service package of broadband internet, television and telephone along with
wireless service provisions) in the near future. Should the federal government decide to move
Interview with employee of the Library of the National Communications Commission,, February 18, 2012.
Hernán Galperín, “Prices and Quality of Broadband in Latin America: Benchmarking and Trends,” Center for Technology and
Society, University of San Andrés, August 2012, http://www.udesa.edu.ar/files/AdmTecySociedad/12_ENG.pdf.
The Universal Serice Trust Fund reinvests one percent of profits from ICT telecommunications companies’ profits to narrow
the gap in access to broadband services across provinces.
“Inclusion Digital fue Eje de las Politicas Llevadas Adelante,” [Digital Inclusion was the Center of the Policies], Terra Noticias,
December 19, 2012, http://noticias.terra.com.ar/inclusion‐digital‐fue‐eje‐de‐las‐politicas‐llevadas‐
adelante,474e7ceb0e2bb310VgnCLD2000000ec6eb0aRCRD.html; “,” [The Equal Connection Plan Continues its Success in 2013],
AE Tecno,, December 24, 2012, http://tecno.americaeconomia.com/noticias/programa‐argentino‐conectar‐igualdad‐continua‐
con‐exito‐hacia‐el‐2013; “Rural Schools and Islands Will Connect to Internet Through Satellite Antennas,” Diario Victoria,
August 3, 2012, http://www.diariovictoria.com.ar/2012/08/escuelas‐rurales‐y‐de‐islas‐contaran‐con‐conexion‐a‐internet‐a‐
traves‐de‐antenas‐satelitales/; “Escuelas Rirales y de Islas Contarán con Conexión a Internet a Través de Antenas Satelitales”
[Island and Rural Schools will have Internet Connection via Satellite Dishes], July 30, 2012,
Castro, “Ochenta Plazas Tendrán Acceso a Internet” [Eighty Parks will have Internet Access], La Nacion, July 2, 2012,
“El 91% de los Neuquinos Tiene Acceso a Banda Ancha en su Casa” [91% of Neuquen People Have Broadband Access at
Home] La Mañana Neuquen, January 21, 2013, http://www.lmneuquen.com.ar/noticias/2013/1/21/el‐91‐de‐los‐neuquinos‐
tiene‐acceso‐a‐banda‐ancha‐en‐su‐casa_175489; “Cooperativas Instalaron Fibra Optica en el Sur Cordobes” [Cooperatives
Installed Fiber Optics in the South of Cordoba], El Comercial, December 27, 2012, http://bit.ly/GzrS8W ; “Provinces Will Offer
their Version of Triple Play Hand in Hand with the Equal Connection Plan”, iProfesional, February 2, 2013, http://bit.ly/13Ijpo3;
“Implementation of the Network that will Bring Internet to the Whole Province Goes Forward”, El Esquiú, January 28, 2013,
REEDOM ON THE
forward with such offerings, partnerships may be formed with local governments allowing for
federal assistance in the form of necessary infrastructure. It is in this context that the government has
deemed the Federal Wireless Network an issue of public interest, a classification which will
prioritize the expansion of national internet access.
In keeping with its expanding ICT investment,
the Argentine government is now building the first three communications satellites in the country’s
The aforementioned government initiatives have resulted in a surge of data traffic over the national
Although this is a boon to projects dedicated to increasing internet access, in some cases,
such occurrences have been detrimental to quality of service.
Despite new installations of network
access points designed to improve the user experience, the regional landscape has resulted in small
businesses being provided with lower quality than residential users.
The government has spent
substantial time and money improving the national network, however connection gaps remain in
some provinces, where penetration rates remain as low as 25 percent.
When the telecommunications industry was privatized in the 1980s, the former state-owned
operator was split into two companies: Telecom Argentina, which covers the Northern region of the
country, and Telefonica de Argentina, which covers the South. Some 300 other companies have
since been granted licenses to operate as internet service providers (ISPs).
Many of these
enterprises are regional providers and serve as provincial subsidiaries of the aforementioned
umbrella companies or other large firms such as Fibertel (of Grupo Clarín), which also controls a
notable share of the broadband market.
To date, the State has not interfered with international internet connectivity. However, as part of
the Argentina Connected Plan, the government has begun work on an internal state-sponsored fiber-
optic cable backbone, to be managed by a government-owned firm upon its completion, which is
“Declaran de interés público la Red Federal Inalámbrica” [Federal Wireless Network Declared A Public Interest], Ambito,
December 17, 2012, http://ambito.com/noticia.asp?id=667793.
“Por Primera Vez Argentina Construirá Tres Satélites de Comunicaciones" [For the First Time Argentina Will Build Three
Communications Satellites], Ambito, September 10, 2012, http://www.ambito.com/noticia.asp?id=653735.
Canal AR, “En un Año Se Cuadruplicó el Tráfico de Datos en la Red Nacional de NAP” [In One Year the Data Traffic of the NAP
National Network Quadrupled], Canal AR, September 13, 2012, http://www.canal‐ar.com.ar/nota.asp?Id=17758.
, “Argentina Ocupa el 38 Lugar en la Calidad del Acceso a Internet” [Argentina Ranks 38
on Internet Quality], El Esquiú,
September 7, 2012, http://www.elesquiu.com/notas/2012/9/7/tecnologia‐253616.asp.
“Center in La Plata will Improve Internet Connection”, Bureau de Presna, June 7, 2012,
http://www.bureaudeprensa.com/comunicados/view.php?bn=bureaudeprensa_inte&key=1339083712; “Brasil y Argentina
Lideran el Ranking de Centros de Interconexión a Internet” [Brazil and Argentina Lead the Ranking of Internet Interconnection
Centers”, CABASE, December 18, 2012, http://www.cabase.org.ar/wordpress/brasil‐y‐argentina‐lideran‐el‐ranking‐de‐centros‐
de‐interconexion‐a‐internet/; Jorge Gustavo, “Las Pymes Reciben Peor Servicio de Banda Ancha que el Segmento Residencial”
[Small Businesses Have Worst Internet Quality than ResidentialSegment], Cronista, January 28, 2013, http://bit.ly/123ngzN.
“ArSat Invest 830 Million Dollars on Telecommunications,” Prensario Internacional, July 17, 2012; “Conectar “Desigualdad”:
Más del 75% de los Hogares de Jujuy No Poseen Acceso a Internet” [‘Unequal´Connection:75% of the Homes in Jujuy Lack
Internet Access,” Jujuy al Día, January 9, 2013, http://www.jujuyaldia.com.ar/2013/01/09/conectar‐desigualdad‐mas‐del‐75‐
de‐los‐hogares‐de‐jujuy‐no‐poseen‐acceso‐a‐internet/; National Institute of Statistics and Censuses, “Encuesta Nacional sobre
Acceso y Uso de Tecnologías de laInformación y la Comunicación (ENTIC)” [National Inquiry on Access and Use of TICs],
December 11, 2012, http://www.indec.gob.ar/nuevaweb/cuadros/novedades/entic_11_12_12.pdf.
“Informacion de las Empresas” [Business Information], National Communications Commission, accessed March 20, 2012,
“Argentina Broadband Overview,” Point‐Topic.
REEDOM ON THE
currently scheduled for 2015.
It remains to be seen whether or not this project will result in
greater centralization – and greater government control – of the backbone.
Mobile phone penetration in Argentina is significantly higher than internet usage, with 59 million
lines active as of late 2012,
or 143 cellular telephone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants.
mobile phone market in Argentina is dominated by three providers: Telefonica’s Movistar,
Telecom´s Personal, and Claro, owned by Mexican billionaire and world’s richest man Carlos Slim
Each provider covers approximately one third of the market; all offer 3G services.
Following a 2004 agreement that permitted Telefónica to buy Movicom, a cell phone company that
was utilizing 850MHz and 1900 MHz cellular frequencies, the government has restricted the use of
those specific bands.
In accordance with the purchase agreement for Movicom, Telefónica was
required to relinquish the frequencies to the state free of charge in order to avoid concentration of
the radio-electric spectrum in the hands of a few. After repeated postponement of auctions for the
frequency bands in 2012, the situation was finally resolved by the federal government. President
Fernandez de Kirchner announced that Libre.ar, a branch of government-owned corporation ArSat,
would administer the frequencies, offering cellular phone services through small businesses and
This decision, implemented via Resolution 71/2012 of the
(and justified with the rationale that only one of the companies
bidding for the bands met necessary requirements related to future investment and development
allows the government to regain control over the mobile sector.
To date, such control has not
extended to the government overtaking ICTs.
The Argentine government planned to launch its proprietary mobile service in March 2013, through
an arrangement with Movistar, Personal, and Claro that allows the three providers to use state-
owned frequencies. As of publication, however, the government’s mobile service had not yet been
launched. When implemented, the agreement will allow some telephone cooperatives and small
Government‐owned corporation AR‐SAT would manage the network. AR‐SAT began operating in July 2006. Its stated purpose
is to promote the Argentine space industry and increase satellite services to different parts of the country. AR‐SAT Company
National Institute of Statistics and Censuses, “Historic Series of Communications: Active Cellphones,” National
Communications Commission, accessed June 5, 2012, http://www.indec.gob.ar/nuevaweb/cuadros/14/sh_comunicac2.xls
International Telecommunication Union, “Statistics: Mobile‐Cellular Subscriptions, 2000‐2012,” June 17, 2013,
“The Richest People on the Planet 2013,” Forbes, April 4, 2013, http://www.forbes.com/billionaires/.
Gekkye, “Argentina Licita Frecuencias de Telefonia Celular” [Argentina Bids Cellular Telephony Frequencies], Geekye online,
June 6, 2012, http://geekye.infonews.com/2012/06/06/tecnologia‐23977‐argentina‐licita‐frecuencias‐de‐telefonia‐celular.php.
Marcelo Canton, “Ponen en Marcha la Empresa Estatal de Celulares” [Libre.ar, The State Mobile Company Started Working],
Clarin, December 14, 2012, http://www.clarin.com/politica/Ponen‐empresa‐estatal‐celulares‐Librear_0_828517184.html; Juan
Pedro Tomás, “Nuevamente Retrasan Licitación de Espectro Móvil” [Once More, Bid for the Mobile Spectrum is Delayed,” BN
Americas, June 8, 2012, http://bit.ly/1eUxPvl.
Resolution 71/2012, Communications Secretariat, Contabilis, http://contablis.com.ar/legislacion/resoluciones/resolucion‐71‐
“Planificación Anunció que ARSAT Explotará Frecuencias para Telefonía Celular” [It was Announced that ArSat Will Exploit
Cellular Phone Frequncies], TELAM, September 9, 2012, http://www.telam.com.ar/nota/37042/.
“Estado Administrará 25% del Espectro para Servicios Móviles con ARSAT”[The State will Administer 25% of the Mobile
Services Specter], Media Telecom, December 14, 2012, http://bit.ly/15F0VvO.
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested