The Chamber of Telecommunications Cooperatives (Catel, in Spanish) presented “imowi”, the brand with which it will market its virtual mobile service, and announced that they will be focused on getting 300,000 customers. The cooperatives will take their offer to the whole country, especially to small and medium-sized towns that are not reached by large operators due to cost and / or profitability reasons.
Those that already provide telephony, pay TV and internet, by incorporating mobile phones will be able to offer quadruple play and improve their competitive profile. It was anticipated that in the future SMEs that do not provide other ICT services may also operate as MVNOs.
Catel president, Ariel Fernández, declared that the officialization of Imowi represents "the initial kick towards the objective of reaching the largest number of populations in the shortest time possible."
Catel pointed out the investment of US$ 2.000,000 to shape the first mobile operator cooperative and highlighted the complementation with Movistar as a network and infrastructure operator. Public investment and Arsat also praised the development of the Federal Fiber Optic Network (Refefo, in Spanish).
It was reported that at this stage the service will be available to Colsecor, which represents more than 250 cooperatives nationwide; and for the Cooperativa Telefónica de Vivienda y otros Servicios Públicos Del Viso Ltda. (Telviso); the Cooperativa Eléctrica de Monte Ltda. (Coopmonte); the Cooperativa Telefónica de Pinamar Ltda. (Telpin); the Cooperativa de Provisión de Servicios Públicos de Tortuguitas Ltda.; and the Cooperativa Telefónica de Villa Gdor. Gálvez Ltda. (Telvgg).
Miguel Factor, Colsecor manager, said that between January and March 2021 the stage of technical tests will begin, and in April the platform will be operational prior to the commercial launch of the service, in June 2021.
Luis Delamer, Wholesale Director, Strategy and Regulation atTelefónica de Argentina, highlighted that large companies and small have “complementary skills”. And he added: "We knew that this project was going to work because the virtual mobile operator does not have to be a strong player, the key is daily contact and the ability to provide customer service."
The Undersecretary of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), Martín Olmos, congratulated the companies for developing “a highly complex project with the aim of bringing connectivity to small places where there are no incentives for other economic actors to go.”