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Source: WSJ
By: Taos Turner

Claro, a unit of Mexico's America Movil SAB (AMX, AMX.MX), said Wednesday it will invest $450 million in Argentina in 2013 to extend and improve its communications infrastructure around the country.

The news comes after Claro said earlier this year its investments in the 2011 and 2013 period would total around $1.25 billion.

Claro said in a statement the daily use of Internet for work and family matters has risen and that today around 40% of the company's 20 million customers use their phones to connect to the Internet everyday.

Because of that, Claro said it is "necessary to keep investing to improve the network and let all those people be connected without interruptions."

Customers in Argentina frequently complain of interrupted and slow 3G service. But extremely few people have elected to switch carriers, partly because of the belief that no mobile company in the country offers noticeably better service than any other.

Claro is the largest of Argentina's four mobile companies. Telecom Argentina SA (TEO, TECO2.BA) reported 18.2 million wireless subscribers at the end of 2011, followed by Spain's Telefonica SA (TEF, TEF.MC) with 16.7 million and the Nextel Argentina unit of U.S.-based NII Holdings Inc. (NIHD) with 1.5 million.

Claro had said earlier this year it was "optimistic" about government plans to auction 850 megahertz and 1900 megahertz spectrum, but the government later ditched those plans and instead has moved itself to enter the mobile business, making it harder for Claro and others to expand and improve their services.

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