Triple-play investment depends on regulator; Wi-Fi goes south

28 Nov 2006

BNamericas, quoting local paper Perfil, reports that incumbent Telefónica de Argentina (TAR) will invest between ARS150million and ARS200 million (USD48.8 million-USD64.6 million) in its satellite TV and internet-protocol (IP) TV infrastructures in 2008 if the government promises to approve triple-play voice, broadband internet and TV services early next year. TAR chief executive Juan Waehner said that if a regulatory decision is not made until later on in the year, investment would be limited to ARS20 million-ARS80 million. Telcos have been badgering the government to allow them to offer bundled services over a single network, while cable TV operators have asked them not to approve triple-play, claiming such a move would put them out of business. Regulators the Comisión Nacional de Comunicaciones (CNC) and Secretaría de Comunicaciones (SeCom) have said they are considering modifying current legislation but have not said when they will be ready to do so. Waehner said that his company will be able to offer TV services via broadband in the short term, and is aiming for nearly a million broadband customers by the end of 2007, up from around 310,000 at the end of June 2006.

Meanwhile, also reported by BNamericas, TAR has launched a Wi-Fi service in the world’s most southerly city, Ushuaia in the Tierra del Fuego. In addition to 50,000 or so residents, Ushuaia entertains around 200,000 tourists a year, who can now benefit from wireless broadband. TAR has signed agreements to promote the development of tourism with a number of provinces, and has already set up Wi-Fi hotspots on Mount Aconcagua, the Perito Moreno glacier and the Antarctic base of Marambio, all top tourist draws.

Argentina, Telefonica Argentina (Movistar)