CANTO Caribbean Roundup – November 2013

CANTO Caribbean Roundup – November 2013

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CANTO  Caribbean Roundup – November 2013

 

After several months of speculation French telco Orange agreed to sell 100% of its Dominican Republic mobile subsidiary Orange Dominicana for approximately US$1.4bn to Luxembourg-based telecoms group Altice.

Orange Dominicana’s purchase is subject to the approval of local authorities and will be submitted to the Orange board of directors during the week of December 9.

Also in November, Altice’s subsidiary Altice Caribbean took over 88% of Orange Dominicana competitor Tricom.

Orange Dominicana has a 40% mobile market share, with América Móvil subsidiary Claro holding approximately 50% and Viva and Tricom making up the balance.

Orange Dominicana raised doubt about the rumored sale in October after saying the company planned to continue

investing to improve its network.

Financial results

Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) saw total revenues fall by 3% to US$935mn during the six months to September 30, as growth in Panama was offset by declines in the Caribbean and Monaco.

The Caribbean region saw revenues fall by 6% to US$521mn as slight growth in mobile revenues was not enough to offset declines in broadband, TV, fixed voice and enterprise services.

CWC saw growing demand for mobile broadband, with mobile data revenue up 29% in the quarter. Mobile subscriber numbers were up 8.3% in Panama and 1.8% in the Caribbean.

Broadband upgrades

As well as its investments in HSPA+ networks, CWC is also set to launch LTE in the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas before the end of this year.

CWC unit Lime Jamaica is upgrading its mobile network to provide broadband speeds of up to 21Mbps in the country with an investment of US$79mn.

The rollout started in October and US$20mn of the funds will be spent within this financial year, which ends March 2014.

CWC Caribbean competitor Digicel launched 4G LTE services across the Cayman Islands with 99% population coverage.

Digicel was granted both in the 700MHz and 1800MHz spectrum and initially rolled out in 1800MHz.

As of May this year, 16 of Digicel’s 31 markets had HSPA+ and one, Antigua and Barbuda, had LTE. The company was also granted an LTE license in the 700MHz band in February for Turks and Caicos.

Regulation

Jamaica’s Spectrum Management Authority (SMA) has invited companies to express their interest in potentially bidding for licenses in the 1800MHz, 1900MHz, 1700/2100MHz and 2.5/2.6GHz bands.

In October, the SMA was forced to cancel an auction for the 700MHz band after it failed to attract a single bidder, despite high initial levels of interest from 10 countries.

The Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (Ectel) has published a request for expressions of interest for a consultant to implement price cap plans.

Ectel is asking for an economist or financial advisor with specialist knowledge of telecommunications policy with at least five years’ experience in retail tariff regulation and price cap plans.

Expressions of interest must be received by December 12.

In brief

Puerto Rico will assume leadership of the Latin American telecom regulators association Regulatel in 2014 after the head of Puerto Rican telecoms watchdog JRTPR, Javier Rúa Jovet, was elected as the association’s president.

French satellite operator Eutelsat and CaribSat, an ISP covering the French West Indies and French Guiana, have signed a distribution agreement for the IP Easy satellite broadband service provided through the Eutelsat 8 West A satellite.

Starting in Guadeloupe, the service will be extended to Martinique, Saint-Martin, Saint-Barth and French Guiana from January 1, 2014.