Argentina is extending a price freeze for TV, Internet, and mobile service until the end of the year, deeming them “essential public services.”
The freeze means providers won’t be able to raise prices going forward without government approval, according to a statement sent after-hours Friday. Prices on those items had been frozen since May, with the ban set to expire at the end of the month.
The move marks the government’s latest measure to contain prices amid inflation running at 42% annually and an economic contraction deepened by a nationwide lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19. Argentina has already frozen prices on 2,000 consumer goods it also deems essential.
“As we face the restrictions the pandemic imposes on us, nobody should have to give up part of their income to cover price hikes on those services,” President Alberto Fernandez said in a tweet Friday night that followed the announcement. “We’re guaranteeing access for everyone.”
His government has banned layoffs, doubled severance pay and implemented various currency controls. The decree is set to be published by the end of Friday in the official gazette.