Tag Archive | "Arsat"

Argentina Launches Second Telecommunications Satellite

Argentina celebrated the launch its second geostationary satellite into space yesterday, a national project to provide more of its own telecommunications services and reduce its dependency on foreign satellites.

ARSAT-2 in Bariloche, ready to be shipped to French Guyana for its launch (photo: Argentine government)

ARSAT-2 in Bariloche, ready to be shipped to French Guyana for its launch (photo: Argentine government)

“We are in a better time, we are in a time where the future has arrived,” said President Cristina Fernández in an address from the Casa Rosada to mark the launch.

The ARSAT-2, a three-tonne satellite, launched from an Ariane 5 rocket out of French Guyana at around 5.30pm. It took three years to make at a price of around $200m with 50% of its parts sourced locally.

“This is the heritage of all Argentines, this is the investment of 40m Argentines so we should look after it,” said President Fernández. “Therefore, we want to declare national interest in the development of the satellite industry.”

The President wants the country to produce a further eight satellites over the next two decades. Its first satellite was launched last year and was an immense source of national pride. A third satellite, ARSAT-3, is in the works and will eventually be launched into orbit as well, as part of the effort to expand telecommunications services to Argentines.

“Today, the local market’s demand for capacity far exceeds the ARSAT-2 and actually there are other satellites providing those services,” said Matías Bianchi, the president of state-owned company ARSAT, in an interview with Télam. “We have a lot of work ahead of us to advance in this market.”

The company was founded in 2006 by the late president Néstor Kirchner to provide digital broadcasting, create locally manufactured satellites, and improve internet access and security across the country.

Posted in News From Argentina, Round Ups ArgentinaComments (0)

Argentine State Company to Own 20% of Mobile Phone Sector

Minister of Planning Julio De Vido, announced last night that the state owned company, Argentine Company of Satellite Solutions, (Arsat) will take control of 20.1% of 3G mobile services.

“This is going to open up the market and will generate competition,” said De Vido, “Argentines are sick of monopolies.”

The government cancelled a tender that it had put out for companies to operate 25% of the mobile phone frequencies in Argentina. Of the five companies that bid for the contract, only Claro met Argentina’s financial requirements, Claro is a part of Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim’s business empire America Movil.

De Vido insisted that, “it is not a state takeover.” Instead it is a precaution against “anything that causes a situation in which companies, which maybe today don’t have a monopoly as service providers, end up becoming [monopolies],” he said.

The original tender was put out to control 25% of the country’s mobile phone business, Arsat will take control of 20.1% . Argentina’s US$14bn mobile phone market is currently controlled by America Movil’s Claro, Telecom Italia’s Personal, and Teelfonica’s Movistar.

Besides Claro, Nextel Communications Argentina and Telecom Argentina, indirectly controlled by Telecom Italia, and two local groups submitted bids for the tender.

De Vido said letting Claro win, “would have led to more concentration.”

Arsat is already building three new satellites in the country and with the government’s help, small companies will now find it easier to become internet providers in parts of the countries that are typically controlled by only one or two major corporations. This means consumers will have access to more choice when it comes to accessing the web or using cell phones.

The government is also studying ways in reducing monopoly control in telecommunications business, according to De Vido.

President Cristina Fernández has been internationally criticized recently for increasing state control over many businesses including nationalizing the leading energy company YPF, the main airline, and billions of dollars in private pension funds.

However, De Vido was persistent in making clear that the government has no intention of taking over the 3G mobile services in Argentina.

Posted in Current Affairs, News From Argentina, News Round Ups, Round Ups ArgentinaComments (0)

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As a possible ‪Grexit‬ looms in the old continent, we revisit Marc Rogers' article comparing Greece's current situation to Argentina's own 2001-2 crisis.

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