Argentina’s infant networks grow to adolescence

It’s been six months since our last Argentina State of Mobile Networks report came out, and over that half year OpenSignal has measured some noticeable differences in Argentina’s 4G performance – but they’re not all improvements. In our new Argentina report released today, we found that Argentina’s fledgling LTE networks have started to spread their wings, providing signal to a greater number of Argentines. But we’re also starting to see Argentina’s already rather sluggish LTE networks slow down further.

Buenos Aires at night (Photo Credit: Flickr user Rodrigo Paredes)

Buenos Aires at night (Photo Credit: Flickr user Rodrigo Paredes)

Once again, Movistar was the operator to beat in 4G during the first quarter. It had the highest LTE availability of the three major Argentina operators as its customers were able to connect to its 4G network 63% of the time. Claro and Personal still have some ground to make up for with 4G availability metrics of 41% and 51% respectively, but both have managed to improve their 4G reach since last year. In 4G speed, Movistar and Personal were statistically tied with download averages between 9 and 10 Mbps, while Movistar also took the prize for overall speed across 3G and 4G networks.

From a global perspective, though, Argentina’s LTE speeds and availability aren’t much to brag about. With the typical LTE connection measuring just 9 Mbps, Argentina is well below the global average of 13.5 Mbps, and in a comparison between the major countries of South America, Argentina falls lagged behind most of its continental peers in both coverage and speed.

What’s more, Argentina’s speeds seem to be slowing down, not speeding up. In November average 4G download speeds ranged from 9.7 to 11.3 Mbps among the three operators. In the first quarter only one operator barely managed to cross the 10 Mbps threshold. Argentina’s LTE networks weren’t that powerful to begin with, utilizing limited amounts of spectrum, but as 4G services start to mature, it appears more customers are competing for that limited bandwidth. Operators will likely solve that problem as soon as they expand LTE into new frequency bands.

You can find the full report here, complete with interactive charts and a more detailed analysis of our data. Let us know what you think below in the comments.

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