In a further step towards convergence, Argentina is to remove the regulatory differences between satellite and cable TV, thus enabling every telco to start delivering direct-to-home (DTH) services.
Although it’s not yet the final convergence law, the new set of rules presented by the government aims to eliminate regulatory differences in the telecom market by standardising the conditions on infrastructure sharing, mobile spectrum and satellite communications.
According to the bill, there is no point in keeping different laws for cable-based and satellite video services, as they’re both identical from the users’ point of view. Removing the differences will boost pay-TV competition, claimed the government.
The new legal framework would enable every telco to deliver DTH services across the country, including the recently-merged Telecom-Cablevision, Telefónica’s Movistar and Claro. However, local telcos would be protected in small towns (fewer than 80,000 inhabitants) for an unspecified period of time.
The Argentinian analyst Enrique Carrier sees the new regulation as a positive change but pointed out that the real impact on the market will come through the more specific regulation, which is yet to be developed.
“This bill can be seen as a move to repair former legal mess,” said Carrier. “It’s a step forward in the right direction. However, assuming it’s going be sanctioned, the key will be in the specific rules for each vertical. The devil is in the details.”