1990

The great decade of Telefónica's internationalisation begins. Argentina and Chile are the first two steps, giant steps. In our home market, another key breakthrough for the future: Moviline, the first mobile brand, is born.

One foot in Chile and one in Argentina: internationalisation is a reality

01

In 1990, Argentina experiences a serious economic crisis and a change of government. To reduce the fiscal deficit, the new authorities decide to privatise 60% of the state telephone company, TASA. A somewhat decadent monopoly in dire need of modernisation and investment. Privatisation was approached by dividing the country into a Northern and a Southern Zone in order to grant two different concessions. Telefónica was part of a consortium with Citibank and a local financial group and won both concessions, but chose to operate only in the Southern Zone. The reason: its proximity and greater traffic flow with Chile, the first country where Telefónica began operations. Only a few months ago, Telefónica had entered the Chilean market by buying almost 50% of CTC, the Chilean Telephone Company, privatised three years earlier, from the Bond Corp group. It so happens that, thanks to the agreements signed in 1979 for the implementation of data networks with Telefónica technology in both countries, when the first teams arrived in Chile and Argentina to begin management, they found there a multitude of Spanish engineers who, in a way, had paved the way for them ten years earlier.

Un pie en Chile y otro en Argentina: la internacionalización es una realidad

The principle of all things mobile

02

Moviline, the first analogue mobile telephony brand to become popular, was born in 1990 after the granting of the enabling licence, still with 1G technology. It reached 1.5 million customers, although its technology was soon overtaken by the GSM standard, the European global telephone system with new advantages such as caller identification, voicemail and, above all, SMS. Although the licence allowed it to exist until 2007, Telefónica understands that market circumstances have far exceeded what Moviline can provide to its customers and asks the regulator for its demise as a brand and service in 2004.

El principio de todo lo móvil

Payphones with cards

03

The 1990s was the last great decade for public payphones and payphones. Ten years later, the mobile phone will begin to eat away at them until their total disappearance in 2023. In 1990, managed by the subsidiary Telefónica Telecomunicaciones Públicas (TTP), there were already more than 42,000 in our streets and squares, in towns and cities, and that year the launch of the so-called Teléfon Modular was announced, which could be used with coins but also with electronic cards.

Cabinas con tarjeta

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