Telefónica challenges Telecom-Cablevisión merger in Argentina


Telefónica announced that it challenged the decision of Argentina’s Commerce Secretariat to approve the merger between Telecom and Cablevisión. According to the company, the combination “involves the main pay TV provider in the country” and “will concentrate almost 60% of the fixed broadband market nationally and up to 90% in certain cities.”
In a statement, Telefónica said, “this resolution reaffirms discriminatory treatment for the rest of the operators, puts obstacles to the development of effective competition in the telecommunications market and favors a dominant operator in the sector.” In addition, the company believes that the merger “endangered investment in the sector and will have very serious consequences for the future of Argentina’s telecom industry.”
The company also said that it has already started “the necessary legal action to fight the decision, which we consider unjust and discriminatory. We are analyzing all the international tools at our disposal to defend our rights.”
According to Telefónica, the government’s resolution will not limit “the anti-competitive impact of the merger,” since “for a long time the merged company will be the only one that will be able to offer integrated packages in Argentina, while its competitors will continue to face limitations to make competitive offers.”
In addition, it indicates that the resolution “does not impose effective measures so that competitors can access the fixed networks of the merged company in the interior of the country”. Likewise, the company considers that the resolution does not establishes conditions “to prevent Telecom from having preferential access to relevant content and has not established rules for its commercialization without discrimination for all competitors”.
The telco said that the resolution “does not solve the clear competitive advantage that Telecom has in spectrum to provide mobile services (80 MHz more than its competitors), but merely advises Enacom to prevent that the merged company use that spectrum until it is return.”