Imowi: the cooperatives presented a new mobile phone operator, which will have a payment of 705 pesos
was presented on fourth mobile operator and the first virtual mobile operator (OMV) cooperative from the country. Is about and says, which had been announced back in November 2020 and which finally saw the light of day yesterday at a face-to-face event in which representatives of the Chamber of Telecommunications Cooperatives (CATEL), the Argentine Satellite Solutions Company (ARSAT), the Ente Communications Authority (ENACOM) and COLSECOR, the organizations that make up this first stage, with more than 300 communities and cooperatives throughout the country.
The peculiarities of this new player are several: it is a virtual mobile operator that takes advantage of other existing networks -such as Movistar’s-, but who owns own infrastructure hand in hand with cooperatives that are part of completing the comprehensive communications offer that they already offer in each place, and that it has been developing a management platform that is already operational and will work in the same way throughout the country.
The launch will be from the hand of five cooperatives from 32 localities, but the idea is that every month it will be extended for those who want to join. In all cases, the proposal will have for customers a single fee of 705 pesoss for a base plan of 3 GB of data, calls, SMS and WhatsApp included. Data bonuses of different capacities and duration can be easily added to this plan through self-management channels and an application that is already available.
The initial group of cooperatives is made up of those of Del Viso (Telviso), San Miguel del Monte (Coopmonte), Tortuguitas (Cooptortu), Villa Gobernador Gálvez (Telvgg) and Pinamar (Telpin), grouped under the Cooperative for the Provision and Marketing of Community Broadcasting Services (Colsecor), the entity that represents them. During the first semester of 2022, localities annexed to the aforementioned areas will be added to later begin to deploy coverage in the disconnected areas.
Argentina has about 1,000 electric cooperatives and 1,500 SMEs, that are not necessarily related to or offer telecommunications services. From this announcement, and with the support of ENACOM and ARSAT, the deployment of a new mobile coverage in disconnected areas will be included, which implies a investment of 150,000 dollars for each locality. The launch of this service involves a total investment of US$ 2,000,000.
“Here there is no protagonist, there are many, and the role of cooperatives is key because they provide the local muscle in every corner of the country” he indicated Ariel Fernandez Alvarado, president of CATEL, who highlighted the role of Movistar by taking them as partners and complementary: “The State is also essential in all its areas: the Secretariat of Public Innovation, the ICT Undersecretary; ARSAT, which is the backbone of this project, everything we think about inside is based on the REFEFO; ENACOM as an actor that organizes us; also the Ministry of Productive Development on which INAES depends and distinguished the great potential of cooperatives”, he emphasized.
As mentioned earlier, the cooperatives will use the Movistar infrastructure to provide the mobile service, thanks to an agreement with Telefónica approved from the license granted by ENACOM.
The challenge of Imowi will be offering, in addition to the basic plan, a comprehensive quadruple play service with fixed telephony, internet, TV and, now, mobile telephony. In that case, the complete service will cost 2,390 pesos and will offer 300 megabytes of fiber, fixed telephony and pay TV with streaming. The first to offer that product will be Telviso.
“I think that cooperatives have a marketing tool, which is word of mouth and personalized attention. People still need that possibility, to talk to someone to solve their problems” added Víctor Barrera, vice president of COLSECOR.
The planning will be mixed, complementing fixed and mobile services. “There are places in the country that do not have a fixed internet network and only have cell phones; It will seek to complement what already exists to expand connectivity. The idea is that the cooperatives make releases every week. We are going to complete the fixed offer and we will look for the fixed user to incorporate the mobile”, concluded the president of CATEL.