Online Prices In The Third World

Readers will know that I live in Argentina which is considered by most people to be a third-world developing country and as such is privileged by geographical pricing for many online goods and services. I refer specifically to downloadable media such as video games, music, some software, and many video streaming services. Geographical pricing is based on a country’s earning power and what customers in a specific country are willing to pay. For example, Netflix’s Premium service in the USA costs $20 per month but the cost in Argentina is around AR$1900 or $10 per month after taxes (depending on the rate of exchange on that day), which is significantly lower and gets back to what customers in specific countries are willing to pay. But there is a caveat which I mention later.

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It Pays To Shop Around For The Best Prices

Financially, life in Argentina is complicated but every cloud has a silver lining, and finding that rainbow is a very gratifying experience, but we have to dig around so let me give you some examples. A couple of years ago we cut the cable and changed Internet service providers to a fibre optic, 100Mbps service that has always been excellent. Then the football World Cup came around and although the public TV service was showing the matches, they were sharing it with a sports broadcasting company, TyC. I then just happened to find a page on our ISP’s website offering streaming packs, one of which included TyC for about $1.50 per month, so I signed up straight away and we was able to watch all the matches. That price was significantly lower than if we had gone direct to TyC by the way.

For the last year or so, I had been paying the UK price of £9 per month for Prime Video until I noticed that our ISP was also offering Prime but in a different pack for the amazing price of just over $1 per month, so I cancelled my UK subscription and snagged the Argentina price straight away.

However, there are caveats. Due to the dire economic situation in the country with the central bank being very low on dollar reserves and inflation at 100%, numerous taxes have been invented for purchases made in dollars. So when a service is paid to a company that doesn’t have a branch or presence in this country and the bill is paid in either pesos or dollars, it attracts heinous taxes of up to 75%. However, some companies in Argentina appear to have made arrangements with corporations outside the country who may or may not have a presence here, whereby they are able to offer streaming packs at affordable prices. We are only able to watch HBO, Paramount, Prime, Star+, and others for this very reason, without having to pay those ludicrous taxes.

The other caveat is that the current administration pegs the Argentine peso/US dollar at an artificial exchange rate of $187 which doesn’t represent reality in the slightest because the street rate is $380 and the figure that everyone else but the government uses to change money. But I digress and I’m not suggesting that readers move to Argentina or indeed use VPN tricks to take advantage of such prices. It’s clear that companies like Steam, Epic Games, and others would rather have a piece of the cake than none at all, which is just fine by me and many others living in Argentina.

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