By means of Urgency Executive Order (in Spanish DNU) No. 302 of April 9, Milei’s administration overturned Executive Order No. 690, which was issued in 2020 and set forth that Pay TV, Internet and mobile phone services were to be considered essential public utilities. Landline phone services were conisdered to be public utilities before the 2020 executive order and will keep such status after the issuance of the new order. Executive Order No. 690 was issued by then President Alberto Fernández in the context of COVID-19 pandemic in an attempt to ensure continuity of service and to regulate fees.

Over the last few years, DNU 690 has been objected to by the telecommunications industry as a whole, including companies of all sizes. Although several operators had managed to raise their fees by having courts grant provisional remedies, the newly issued order deregulates fees altogether for the whole market.

A section of the newly issued order states: “Companies that are awarded licenses to provide ICT (Information and Communications Technology) services will set the prices of their services, which will be fair and reasonable to cover exploitation costs, to enhance efficiency and to obtain a reasonable operation margin”. The provision setting forth that fees could be regulated by the pertinent authority, the National Communications Agency (Enacom), has been overturned.

Milei’s administration had previously expressed its disapproval of DNU 690. It is worth noting that one of the main reasons behind the appointment of a comptroller to oversee Enacom’s activity was the need to assess the consequences of the executive order and to find a satisfactory solution to the problem.

The new DNU explains that “ICT services have been created to be provided in a competitive market and it is therefore essential for their development and growth that licencees have the power to set prices freely”. It also notes that thanks to the provisional measures granted by courts “it was possible to prevent the distortion of prices in relation to the amount imposed by the regulatory authority”. The executive order concludes: “Taking into consideration the public interest inherent to the nature of ICT services, it is urgent to deregulate the market and to allow such services to develop freely.”

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