Argentina declares TV, cable and mobile services ‘essential’ and freezes prices until year-end

Caminito Street, in La Boca, this is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Buenos Aires

Argentina’s government has issued a new decree of necessity and urgency (DNU) declaring internet, mobile and pay-TV services “essential” and preventing operators from hiking prices until the end of the year. “As we face the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, nobody should have to give up part of their income to cover price increases on those services,” said president Alberto Fernandez in a tweet before pledging to “guarantee access for everyone.”  argentina mobile service

Earlier this year, Argentina’s operators accepted the government’s request to freeze fixed and mobile telephony, internet and pay-TV prices until the end of August to help family budgets affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. The price freeze has now been effectively extended until the end of 2020, with telecommunications regulator Enacom confirming that providers will be unable to raise prices without its approval. The watchdog also said sector investments must be targeted at reaching the most disadvantaged parts of the population during the pandemic and beyond.

However, local operators said the price control measures could adversely affect investment, with the GSMA issuing a statement describing the decree as “regressive” and “detrimental to the sustainability of investments” in the country. “Far from guaranteeing access to all citizens, the provisions jeopardise the quality of consumer services and the expansion of connectivity, which could serve to increase the digital divide,” it said. Enacom director Carlos Ambrosini told news agency Infobae that he intends to work with all sectors to develop an “equitable mechanism” for users and companies alike. argentina mobile service

Argentina’s inflation is currently running at 42 percent on an annual basis and the government has frozen prices on some 2,000 consumer goods considered essential. Earlier this month it reached a deal with investors to renegotiate USD 65 billion in debt following its ninth default.

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