Cooperatives look to establish national mobile footprint

21 May 2004

Argentina’s national telecoms cooperatives association Fecotel and Southern cooperatives association Fecosur have announced plans to jointly invest at least USD200 million in setting up a national mobile footprint. According to Business News Americas, there are 320 local telephony cooperatives in Argentina collectively serving around 650,000 mobile subscribers. Nationwide operators Unifon (owned by Spanish operator Telefónica), Movicom (BellSouth), CTI Movil (Coinvest) and Telecom Personal (Telecom Argentina) currently serve around 7.95 million customers between them. However, Unifon is currently in negotiations to buy out Movicom, a move which Fecotel president Juan Carlos Fissore claims will lead to 40GHz of spectrum being vacated. The government is expected to allow Fecotel and Fecosur to jointly bid for the frequencies, which they can then use to facilitate their national coverage. In return, the government wants a pledge from the cooperatives to invest in one of the two new communications satellites being built by local firm Nahuelsat.