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  • Writer's pictureDany Goldraij

Uruguay to invest US$ 750m in communications

Updated: Feb 6, 2021


Uruguay is not only a country with a favorable investment climate, a promising macroeconomic performance, and a strategic location for international trade. It is also one of 34 countries worldwide to deploy 5G network in its cities.

Telecom Argentina seeks to expand its mobile telephony, broadband, cable, and satellite television businesses through the acquisition of local companies.

The firm is in talks with Spain’s Telefónica to acquire Movistar's Uruguay assets,. Movistar is the second-biggest local player behind Antel, according to El Cronista newspaper.

Telefónica started a process to sell its Latin America operations, except Brazil’s, in November 2019 to focus on that market, Spain, Germany, and the UK.

Representatives of Telecom Argentina and its shareholder Grupo Clarín traveled to Montevideo at the end of November to meet with government officials, including President Luis Lacalle Pou, El Cronista reported recently.

At the meeting, the Argentine representatives vowed to increase investments in Uruguay but did not detail any plan or provide figures.

Telecom Argentina already has cable (Cablevisión Uruguay) and satellite television (Flow) operations in Uruguay, with which it reaches 140,000 users in the capital and various locations in the interior.

The firm is also looking to expand in Paraguay, where it is analyzing investment alternatives in the telecommunications sector, according to El Cronista.

ANTEL has recently completed the installation of the first commercially available 5G network in Latin America. This makes Uruguay one of the first countries in the world to introduce the new 5G mobile communications standard.

Communication tower
Communication tower - 5G

The telecommunications company built the infrastructure as part of a public-private partnership. According to the company, the new network enables the supply of up to one million devices per square kilometer with a transmission speed of one gigabyte per second. Likewise, as claimed by José Otero, President of the non-profit organization “5G Americas”, Uruguay is the third country in the world to start regular 5G operations.

What is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation of mobile radio and the direct successor to 4G, which is also known as Long Term Evolution (LTE). The main features of the new network are higher data rates and shorter latency times.

The aim of 5G is to increase the transmission speed in the network and to reduce the latency times to enable real-time communication between devices

uruguay map
uruguay map

2015 -- Uruguay to invest US$ 750m in communications in 2015-2018

Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez has announced investments of US$750mn in communications as part of a US$12bn infrastructure investment plan slated for his five-year tenure.

Some 66% of the investment will be financed with public funds and the rest will come from the private sector.

A major infrastructure overhaul was one of the election promises of Vázquez, who took office on March 1.

Energy will account for the lion's share of the investment plan with US$4.23bn, while highways will get US$2.36bn, social infrastructure US$1.87bn, including hospitals, education and public safety, US$1.32bn for housing, US$550mn in water and sanitation, US$550mn for ports, and US$360mn for railways.

Uruguay's state telco Antel has a monopoly on fixed broadband communications. Over the 2010-2014 administration of José Mujica, the government invested US$1.37bn in telecommunications infrastructure.

By Patrick Nixon

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