Argentine state-owned telecoms operator Arsat will use the mobile spectrum it was awarded by the government in September 2012 to provide wholesale wireless services to small- and medium-sized companies and local telecoms cooperatives. According to the Ministry of Federal Planning, Public Investments and Services, the mobile service will be provided under the brand Libre.com and will offer consumers ‘better service quality and technology’. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that Arsat was handed almost 25% of the country’s 3G frequencies in September, after an auction for the 850MHz and 1900MHz spectrum was cancelled by the government, as only one of the six participants – Claro – had met the financial requirements of the tender. Planning Minister Julio De Vido argued that awarding the frequencies to Claro would give the operator an unfair advantage in the market and create a virtual monopoly, and as such it was decided that the spectrum would instead be handed to Arsat. The state-owned company already offers broadband and digital TV mainly in rural and underserved parts of the country, and also oversees the deployment of the government’s ‘Argentina Conectada’ national fibre-optic network project.
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