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Argentina is playing catch up in the 4G race

Argentina is moving on to its next stages of rolling out 4G across the country. In mid-June, the Argentinian telecoms ministry Secretaría de Comunicaciones (SeCom) awarded airwaves in the 700MHz band to three telecoms – Movistar (owned by Telefonica), Telecom Personal, and Claro (owned by America Movil). Argentinian broadband provider Arlink also received 3G and 4G frequencies. The bidding process for the frequencies was completed late last year, totalling $2.23bn, which exceeded expectations.

“This strategic decision of the Federal Government will allow all users in the country access to a mobile service better and faster,” said SeCom.

Argentina’s need for faster services has been growing. Companies like Movistar have been pushing for greater connectivity and speeds in Argentina in the hopes of catching up with the pace of mobile technology on other continents. For instance, Japan and the EU are already working together on 5G while South Korea has scheduled its 5G networks for 2018. Movistar and Telecom Personal both claim to have 500,000 clients each capable of using the 4G networks at this early stage.

Many of Argentina’s South American neighbours have long beaten the country to the punch on releasing 4G lines. Brazil, Chile, and Bolivia to name just a few already have 4G lines in operation so why has Argentina lagged behind?

The main reason is political rather than a lack of infrastructure, which is a result of government policies, says Rodrigo Angel, regional director of Latin America at B2X, a consumer device repairs firm.

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