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Argentine regulator Enacom has granted local telecoms co-op chamber Catel a license to operate as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in nine provinces starting in 2018.
Catel will invest some US$2mn in a centralized platform to be used by its 31 member co-ops in the provinces of Buenos Aires, Chubut, Córdoba, La Pampa, Mendoza, Misiones, Río Negro, Santa Cruz and Santa Fe, covering a target audience of 2mn users. The entity will essentially operate as an enabler (MVNE) for the co-ops.
The body will offer services through an agreement reached with Telefónica in early November. The move is designed to enable small telcos and cable companies to complement their existing triple play services with mobile, thus helping them compete against the large telcos that will be able to offer pay TV starting next month.
It will join the only other existing MVNO in the country, Nuestro, which has 30,000 clients on Argentina's Atlantic coast.
At the end of October, Enacom awarded subsidies from the universal telecoms fund to telecoms co-ops in Córdoba and Río Negro provinces to provide internet access to underserved areas.