December 31, 2016 / 12:25 AM / 2 years ago

Argentina set to increase telecoms competition -source

BUENOS AIRES, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Argentina will loosen regulations in the telecommunications sector in a bid to increase competition among providers and modernize the country’s internet service, a government source with knowledge of the situation told Reuters on Friday.

For months, companies in the sector have been preparing for a more competitive market. The government has said it expects the reforms to attract $20 billion in investments over four years.

The new rules will allow satellite TV company DirecTV to provide satellite internet services and let cable operator Cablevision SA provide 4G mobile telephone services, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“We are defining clear rules so that the telecommunications market develops under conditions of competition and companies make investments that bring work and connectivity to the whole country,” Communications Minister Oscar Aguad said in a statement provided by the ministry on Friday.

The telecom reform is one of many changes on President Mauricio Macri’s agenda as he tries to drive investment into an economy that was highly regulated, cut off from capital markets and largely ignored by investors for a decade before he took office and started implementing reforms a year ago.

Telecom Argentina and Telefonica de Argentina announced investments this year, while Argentina’s largest media conglomerate, Grupo Clarin, is spinning off subsidiary Cablevision SA, saying in August it could better face competition as a stand-alone unit.

Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; Editing by Leslie Adler

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