Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri has demanded that a new law for information technology and telecommunications be drafted, in order to “improve investment competition, lower prices, and improve user service”.
Addressing congress earlier this month, Macri requested that this law be enacted soon, as Argentina cannot stand still at a time when the world around is marching forward, according to local press.
“There will be a place for small, medium, and large companies, both national and international, to actively participate in the conversation to guarantee net neutrality and the plurality of content,” he reportedly said during his speech at congress.
“If we are better connected, we will be able to offer better products and services, and we will be more prepared for the economy that is coming, where innovation and digital will be fundamental to create employment.”
Stronger ICT infrastructure, he continued, would also make way for new knowledge-based services and cut down workload for a large number of businesses, besides paving the way for the proliferation of services like telehealth.
Macri has long begun overhauling the telecom sector, forming the regulator Enacom by merging the Federal ICT Authority (AFTIC) and the Federal Authority of Audiovisual Communication Services. This has paved the way for a number of sweeping changes.
In June last year, Macri’s government issued a decree allowing companies to offer quadruple play services that include landlines, mobile phones, pay television, and internet.
Delighted by the reform, Telecom Argentina said it would invest US$5 billion in the country through 2020 to expand its network and improve infrastructure, with the provider aiming to invest US$1.3 billion by the end of this year.
Spain’s Telefonica SA — the other major player in Argentina’s telecoms market, which operates through the mobile phone service brand Movistar — is also talking of investing close to US$2 billion in the country through 2019.
Claro, owned by Mexican company America Movil, plans to invest some US$400 million per year through 2020 to improve service for the 21 million customers it has in Argentina.
Macri expects the telecom reforms to attract US$20 billion in investments in a space of four years.