Thursday, September 7, 2017
ICT: The week in 10 stories – Regional
Cablevisión Holding, the spin-off of Argentine media giant Grupo Clarín, debuted on the Buenos Aires stock market (BYMA) Wednesday. In addition, on Thursday shareholders of Telecom Argentina and Cablevisión Holding approved the proposed merger of the two companies.
Cablevisión will have 55% of the new company and Telecom Argentina 45%. The company will focus on offering quadruple play.
Mexican telecom giant América Móvil and Spanish operator and competitor Telefónica are paying fines to the Colombian government imposed as part of an asset reversion trial.
América Móvil’s Claro subsidiary was fined 3.1tn pesos (US$1.06bn), while Telefónica was ordered to pay 1.6tn pesos.
In July a Colombian court ruled that the telcos had to pay fines for breaching contracts dating back to 1994 that allowed them to use public telecom infrastructure for 10 years.
Telefónica Colombia said it ColTel plans to raise a total 1.84bn euros (US$2.15bn) in capital, with 472mn euros going to pay the fine and some 1.37bn euros to be also be used to prepay all commitments to Parapat, the consortium that owns assets and pension funds of the former companies that resulted in Colombia Telecomunicaciones.
Positivo Tecnologia, Brazil’s largest electronics company, is taking its Quantum smartphone brand to Argentina, Uruguay and Chile, after having introduced it to Paraguay, and will also sell its Vaio laptop line in Peru.
In 2018 Positivo is considering exporting phones to Africa, where the company has contracts and already sells laptops and tablets to the Kenyan and Rwandan governments.
Technology companies are eying business opportunities related to Chile’s plans to publish a regulatory framework for ancillary services to ensure greater stability for a power grid that has been precarious.
National energy commission CNE has drawn up a draft regulation for ancillary services, which are services and equipment needed to support the transmission of electric power from seller to purchaser; in other words, providing more stability and predictability to the system.
Opportunities identified include battery-based energy storage systems and hybrid natural gas and lithium ion battery solutions.
In an effort to foster convergent services in Mexico, the OECD has recommended that telecom regulator IFT assess the possibility of allowing preponderant economic agent Telmex to enter the pay-TV market.
Faced with a global increase in cyberattacks, Brazil and the US have discussed the first results and new steps to take in their cybersecurity cooperation, which was formally established in late 2015.
A meeting was held Wednesday in Brasília between the information policy secretary of Brazil’s science, tech, innovation and communications ministry (MCTIC) and the US’s National Science Foundation (NSF).
Colombia’s national spectrum agency ANE has published regulations for the use of TV White Space (TVWS) to use this unassigned spectrum for broadband.
In television networks, white space refers to the unused wireless spectrum gaps between channels for buffering purposes. This space is similar to what is used for 4G and can thus be used to deliver widespread broadband.
CARIBBEAN – CUBA
Deep Blue Cable is eyeing a potential landing in Cuba for its high-speed fiber optic cable, which would be used by broadband providers and internet companies.
Dennis O’Brien, head of Deep Blue Cable and telco Digicel WAS reported as saying the project was intended to go into operation by the end of 2019 and would cost US$450mn.
Brazil will appeal against a decision from the World Trade Organization ordering the country to withdraw industrial stimulus programs in 90 days, during which time it will remodel the subsidies, a MCTIC ministry official confirmed to BNamericas.
On Wednesday, the WTO said that seven Brazilian stimulus programs, including four directly related to electronics and IT, have provided nearly US$8bn in incentives since 2010. The subsidies benefitted the electronics, steel and auto sectors, among others.
The US court in charge of the bankruptcy process of US enterprise communications platform and telecommunications company Avaya approved the company’s disclosure of its restructuring plan.
Avaya filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January and then in April submitted a reorganization plan to the US bankruptcy court for the Southern District of New York. The company believes it can come out of bankruptcy by the end of this year.
Extreme weather underscores need for backup generation – Regional
The increasing frequency of extreme weather events in Latin America underscores the need for off-grid power generation solutions.
That’s according to Samara Salgado, Latin America marketing director for Generac, a US-based fabricator of portable, residential, commercial and industrial generators.
“These types of natural phenomena, with climate change, which before were unthinkable, are now happening and it’s a trend we’re seeing across Latin America,” Salgado told BNamericas in an interview in Chilean capital Santiago.
Salgado cited the vulnerability of Puerto Rico, which was bracing for the impact of Hurricane Irma on Wednesday, as well as recent weather-related blackouts in Chile and Central America.
Generac, which has been active in Latin America for about five years, views the IT, infrastructure, mining, and oil and gas segments as particularly attractive growth opportunities in the region, Salgado said.
The company, which offers backup power applications of up to 2MW, has factories in Mexico and Brazil, but through distributors reaches clients throughout the region, Salgado said.
NFV and SDN technologies for faster service creation and deployment – Regional
Network operators will reap great rewards in terms of agility and automation with the implementation of virtualization and NFV orchestration.
The virtual network function (VNF) manager is an ETSI MANO stack component that coordinates and automates tasks via a virtual infrastructure manager to request VM creation and trigger VNF instantiation and configuration. It automates the collection of alarms and performance metrics to trigger scaling and healing, and can be defined once then deployed multiple times.
NFV orchestrator coordinates the creation of the network service, operating on network service descriptors (NSDs). The NSD has scaling, monitoring and policy information, allowing automated service management and the definition of service topology as a VNF forwarding graph independent of physical topology. To implement a forwarding graph, orchestrator parses information about requirements, determines virtual links between VNFs, and delegates their creation to a VIM or SDN network controller/WAN infrastructure manager, whether in a data center managed by a single VIM, or when the interconnection of functions in multiple data centers is required.
But, in order to get the most from VNFs, service providers need to both implement the technology and shift their thinking away from ideas based on physical networks. They may, for example, adopt continuous delivery – which gives immediate feedback on software changes and increases agility and robustness – or DevOps, based on multi-disciplinary agile teams delivering new functionalities combining cost efficiency and quality.
Costa Rica’s ICE eyes public connectivity program – Costa Rica
Costa Rican state-run telco ICE is seeking to provide public connectivity in its home country, replicating the success of the project it developed in Nicaragua in partnership with power utility Enatrel.
ICE is participating in a tender to operate the connected public spaces initiative launched by the national telecommunications fund (Fonatel) in May. If selected, this would be ICE’s first public connectivity project in Costa Rica.
ICE would have to provide internet in 985 spots in 360 districts, considerably more than the 300 public spots it connected in Nicaragua. The telco will also have to connect 62 public libraries, 28 train stations and several universities.
According to calculations from regulator Sutel, the project entails broadband deployments with download speeds of 50Mbps that can be scaled up to 100Mbps.
The project will require investments of US$45mn, reported daily La República, citing data from Fonatel.
Earlier this year Fonatel vowed to invest US$8.4mn in the CR Digital inclusion program.
TCS focusing on artificial intelligence in LatAm – Regional
Artificial intelligence, robotics and automation have become a major focus for Indian ICT consulting company Tata Consulting Services (TCS) in the last year, as firms are increasingly focusing on automation to improve efficiency, a senior executive at TCS told BNamericas.
According to Ashok Krish, TCS’ head of workplace reimagination, AI is one of five main areas the company is focusing on, the others being mobile, big data, social and cloud.
“Five years ago, everyone was talking about building a mobile app. Then it was big data and AI is an extension of big data,” Krish said.
The executive said that disruption is happening fastest in industries such as retail, which is less regulated than banking, for example.
“In retail stores, artificial intelligence is being used to instantly clear checks using photo recognition, while big data is informing staff what to put on the shelves, when and where,” Krish said.
TCS is also working with major car manufacturers in the region to develop software for autonomous vehicles.
According to Krish, emerging markets are starting to customize digital solutions to their own reality instead of just copying Silicon Valley business models.
WeChat, for example, which in China is more popular than Whatsapp, has developed its own bank and has become the default method for selling for many businesses.
This is being seen particularly in the area of e-commerce, where local vendors are leveraging technology and creating their own means of marketing products.
“Many companies no longer have a website but have a WeChat site. They direct you there, show their products and then do the transaction over their own billing platform.”
TCS Iberoamerica (TCSI) provides IT services, business solutions and outsourcing to clients across 14 countries in Mexico, Central America, South America, Spain and Portugal.
TCSI operates global delivery centers in Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and Uruguay and maintains global BPO services centers in Chile and Ecuador.
The information presented and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CANTO and/or its members