A convergent giant is born in Argentina, as the Ente Nacional de Comunicaciones (Enacom) has given the green light to the merger of Telecom and Cablevisión, the country's leading telco and pay-TV provider.
The decision anticipates the new regulation to allow full convergent telecom services in the country, effective from January 2018. The merger operator will be the first in line to start offering quad-play services, including pay-TV, mobile and broadband.
However, Enacom has established a series of special conditions for the resultant company, in order to try to protect competition and the small players outside the country’s largest cities.
“The regulation established that full convergence would be enabled in January 2018 only for Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Rosario,” said the analyst Enrique Carrier, referring to the difficulties of offering convergent services out of the three most populated areas of the country.
“But Cablevisión offers pay-TV outside these cities. Therefore, the Enacom had to rule for the merger company not to start selling packaged services until 2019, when convergence will be enabled in every town over 80,000 inhabitants,” he continued.
The merger will shake up the entire telecom and pay-TV market, as the resultant telco will have around 30 million customers: over 50% of the fixed broadband market and 40% of pay-TV.
Aiming to keep competitive offerings for the users, Enacom has also ruled that the merger company, as the dominant player, will have to allow other players to use its telecom infrastructure. Such condition will be mandatory over the next two years and will continue to apply in those markets in which the company has over an 80% share.