3G Comes to Argentina...wait not really...

So recently one of the big three mobile carriers here launched their first 3G network. With an advertisement campaign worth noting on TV, print media, and billboards. There's no doubt that "The first 3G zone has come to the Argentina" and everybody should embrace it fully and jump up of joy and be grateful to the great mobile Gods. But..

Apparently Personal has spent close to 165 Millions bucks on setting up this whole HSDPA network infrastructure. That's a whole lot of money no doubt, and since it's common practice here, everybody wants to make back the money they invest on something ASAP. Thus, the rates for their service and everything associated with it are just plain ridiculous. Let's take a look..

  • Notebook Express Card/34 - Merlin XU870 3G HSDPA 7.2 - around $333 Dollars + Tax.
  • Data Plan Offer #1: 1 Gig. (insert laugh here) - around 65 Dollars + Tax.
  • Data Plan Offer #2: 200 Mb. (...) - around 33 Dollars + Tax
It's worth mentioning that you will be charge for every mb. (in case of the 1 Gig plan) or every kb. (in case of the 200 Mb. plan) that you spend over the limit. Not big surprises there.

So the prices are outrageously high, but how's the coverage? If you follow Personal's claim, which basically states "3G comes to Argentina" then maybe Argentina looks like this? instead of like this. Don't worry is common practice here for many big corporations to actually see "Argentina" as that area . Us that live in other provinces and not the Buenos Aires Capital area have been getting the short end of the stick for some time now. It's common practice, you get used to it. Again, not big surprises there.

So by now you may be saying, "It's their initial roll-out, cut them some slack man!", and I will. For one, the speeds they are are offering are average at best (up to 1.2 mb). Secondly, the phone equipment available that actually works on this 3G network is a mere 2 phones (Samsung A706 and LG MU500). Finally, and this is my point of view, 3G will actually be available nationwide by ...hmm...2008-9-ish, at best? So they should stop making it sound like it's "nationwide", when in reality its only a small zone in one province.

In the end, I can only agree with what the guys over at Celularis.com had to say about this story (translated to English by yours truly),

... but from a certain point of view this tends to look more like a move to be "the first" and not "the best" something that, I at least, excepted from the guys at TIM*

*TIM = Telecom Italy. Owners in part of Personal.

About this entry