Argentina with a population of more than 41 million is often considered as one of the promising emerging market for fiber optic business. There are 11 million houses and more than 10.14 million fixed telephone lines in Argentina. Nominal GDP 621 billion USD, equivalent to 15,000 USD per person. Investment in telecom sector is estimated at 5 billion USD. One of the attractive factor for fiber optic business is that Argentina has more than 6.3 million fixed line broadband subscribers.
Mobile phone density is 1.63 meaning 163 phones per 100 people. There are 13 million mobile broadband subscribers indicating the choice toward mobile broadband. 60% of home in Argentina have computer and 25 million people use internet. 56 out of 100 houses have cable tv connection. FTTx is still at its primary stage in Argentina with around 43,000 subscribers.
Though we are focusing on fiber optic market, it would be helpful if you know the history and composition of the country, as the business is shaped and influenced by many factors including the political history. Argentina, the culture of which is shaped by majority immigrant population from Italy and Spain has a long history after it got independence. Argentina came in to existence after Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay parted from the larger area called Rio Plata. Argentina’s political scenario was never smooth and calm, often dominated by internal conflicts between Federalists and Unitarians and then civilians and military factions. Those conflicts are reflected in today’s economic condition of the country.
Fixed line operators
• Telecom Argentina
• Telefónica Argentina (Telefónica)
• Personal (Telecom Argentina)
• Claro (América Móvil)
• Movistar (Telefónica Argentina)
Furukawa and Nexans have fiber optic cable manufacturing facilities in Argentina. By establishing factories for producing optical fiber cables, these companies take advantage of the status of domestic suppliers. Supply from the domestic market reduces the lead time that helps projects to finish within scheduled time. Installed cables in Argentina last year contained more than 1.1 million optical fibers, indicating that Argentina has the potential to grow in terms of installed fiber kilometers. With an compounded annual growth rate of around 10 percent it is estimated that Argentina requires more than 1.7 million kilometers of optical fibers after four years. Domestic cable manufacturers were able to supply almost 50 percent of the local demand, leaving the supply chance for remaining 50 percent of the cable quantity to foreign suppliers. There are no optical fiber drawing factories in Argentina. Optical fibers are imported to the country. Cable consumption trend in the country indicates that both Furukawa and Nexans together supply cables in the market equivalent to less than 0.5 million fiber kilometers.
Argentina opened its telecommunications market to competition and foreign investment in 1998. This move encouraged the growth of modern telecommunications technology in the country. Fiber optic cable trunk lines are being installed between all major cities. Most of the main communication lines are already digitalized and the availability of telephone service is improving. Telecommunication sector in Argentina make use of microwave radio relay, fiber optic cable networks and a domestic satellite system with 40 earth stations to serve the trunk network. Argentina provides landing point for the Atlantis-2, UNISUR, South America-1, and South American Crossing/Latin American Nautilus submarine cable systems that provide links to Europe, Africa, South and Central America, and US.
The Argentine telephone system is more modern following privatization in the 1990s and recent market deregulation. The network was initially developed primarily by ITT, and grew following the system’s nationalization in 1948 and the creation of the ENTel State enterprise. ENTel provided Argentines the widest access to phone service in Latin America Following ENTel’s privatization in 1990 the number of telehone lines grew significantly.
Telecommunication system is largely replaced with a domestic fiber optic ring that runs at 2.5 Gbit/s to connect the main central offices. From these main central offices, local calls are routed through 10 Gbit/s fiber optic links, or 3 × 155 Mbit/s microwave links. These links are spaced at about 30 km. The network links serving smaller towns are spaced at 60 km.
Telefónica de España, a Spanish company introduced ADSL in Argentina in 1998, through Speedy. Cable service provider Fibertel offers Cable-modem service in a limited range of cities. ADSL is monopolized by Telecom in the north with Arnet ADSL, and Telefónica in the south with Speedy ADSL.