Official statistics may be over-inflated

17 Sep 2007

BNamericas, quoting local consultancy Prince & Cooke, reports that the mobile subscription figures released by national statistics agency Indec may be inflated. A study by the consultancy estimated that by the end of 2007, there would be around 27 million mobile subscribers, equivalent to a penetration of 69%. This figure is below that of Indec, which at the end of July put Argentina’s mobile user population at 36.3 million. A Prince & Cooke officer said the reason for the discrepancy is that operators have differing criteria defining an ‘active line’, including lines that are not in service, resulting in inflated figures. The consultancy believes its figures are more accurate because they were the result of a national survey conducted independently of the operators. The officer added that the operators’ inclusion of inactive lines could be unintentional, since ‘users sometimes buy subsidised telephones and do not cancel the previous line.’. The study found approximately 17% of mobile users have 2-3 lines.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, there were 34.6 million mobile subscribers at the end of June 2007. Movistar Argentina was the market leader, with a 35% share, followed by CTI Movil (34%), Telecom Personal (29%) and Nextel (2%). Further operators are set to join the fray in the near future in the form of cooperative associations Fecotel and Fecosur, who were granted the right to offer mobile telephony services in July, and were guaranteed sufficient spectrum to do so. It is thought the cooperatives could gain a 7% market share within ten years.