Friday, September 6, 2013

  •   Cable & Wireless to launch LTE in Cayman Islands – Caribbean
  • 100,000 Cubans sign up for internet since restrictions lifted in June – Cuba
  • Intelligence Series: Smart city movement on the rise in Latin America – Regional
  • Claro Panama to invest US$150mn in 2013-14 – Panama
  • Ciena sees growth opportunities with Tier 1 operators in Latin America – Regional


Cable & Wireless Communications (C&WC) is launching LTE mobile data services in the Cayman Islands, where it operates under the LIME brand, the company announced in a release

The services, to be launched in the 2013-14 financial year, initially on Grand Cayman, will enable LIME to provide mobile data services at speeds about four times faster than currently available in the Cayman Islands.

With the launch Cable & Wireless will become the first operator to launch LTE in the Cayman Islands, enabling customers to access services on their smartphones such as video calling and streaming of HD video clips.

The company was awarded two blocks of spectrum in the 700MHz spectrum band. The LTE network will be built largely using existing mobile cell sites, while network equipment will be supplied by Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERIC).

 100,000 Cubans sign up for internet since restrictions lifted in June – Cuba

More than 100,000 Cubans have signed up to use internet services since June 4 when the government lifted restrictions on Cubans accessing the web, according to statistics from state telco Etecsa.

Internet must be accessed via Etecsa’s network of 118 internet centers throughout the country.

Of the total that signed up, 60,000 opted for access to international internet traffic and email and the remainder for access to national internet traffic.

The provinces of Habana, Matanzas and Villa Clara led in terms of the number of people using the internet with Villa Clara alone accounting for 10,000.

Until February of this year internet access was available only to foreigners.

The provision of the service was made possible due to the fiber optic cable connecting Cuba to Venezuela and Jamaica which was activated this year.

The country’s deputy communications minister, Wilfredo González, said in June that Cuba is planning to provide mobile internet in the “relatively near future.”

President Raúl Castro began allowing the sale of cellular phone services to the general public for the first time in 2008. Cuba expects to reach 2mn mobile lines by the end of this year and 4mn in the next five years.

Intelligence Series: Smart city movement on the rise in Latin America – Regional

Recent articles in mainstream press about the smart city concept have honed in on the “command center” run by IBM (NYSE: IBM) in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, giving city staff and citizens real-time information about traffic, weather and security issues.

IBM also operates an R&D center in Rio that adapts solutions from its global R&D labs for the local market, and as if the city’s challenges were not incentive enough for perfecting such solutions, there is added pressure from rival firms that are also engaging with these challenges.

Two weeks ago, Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) also opened an innovation center in Rio de Janeiro, which although not expressly created as a smart city project, will produce solutions that will surely contribute to the concept.

There has always been a buzz about the concept, but lately it has been intensifying in the region. In the last two weeks we have reported on Entel and Chilectra promising to provide free Wi-Fi at industrial park Ciudad Empresarial; the World Bank working with the Chilean government to plan for intelligent traffic solutions in the city of Concepción; and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) securing contracts with city governments in Brazil’s Minas Gerais state to integrate big data tools with back office applications as part of a global initiative called CityNext.

Also, at the beginning of August, Telefónica’s (NYSE: TEF) Brazilian unit reported that it expects to end the year with 1,750 rain meters installed alongside its network towers and government buildings in São Paulo state, channeling weather information directly to Cemaden, Brazil’s national center for monitoring natural disasters.

This month’s Telecom Intelligence Series, available here, shows how the intensifying buzz really amounts to an inflection point in the evolution of smart city programs in this region.

 Claro Panama to invest US$150mn in 2013-14 – Panama

Claro Panama, part of América Móvil (NYSE: AMX), plans to invest US$150mn in the country from 2013-14 to help its competitiveness, Claro Panama’s commercial manager Antonio García said, as reported by local media.

García said that the company is currently in third place nationally with a 12% market share among the four operators which also include Cable & Wireless Panama, Digicel and Movistar, of Telefónica (NYSE: TEF).

Claro Panama “has not really seen profits yet” but we should see them in “10 or 15 years,” García said, talking about the company’s long-term commitment to the country.

He added that Claro has invested US$600mn in Panama in the five years it has had operations there.

In a statement, the company said that Panama’s economic stability, its GDP growth of 10.6% in 2012 which was the highest in Latin America, and its high penetration of telecommunications services at 180% are driving the investment plans.

Claro has installed 944 antennas, giving it 95% coverage of the population. García said the company was waiting for the Panamanian government to auction off spectrum for LTE services.

The executive said that Claro has a 49% share of the mobile broadband market, 80% of satellite TV subscribers and 17% in pay TV, putting it in second place in the latter category.

The company said that in the 12 months from April 2012 to April 2013, Claro’s prepaid base increased by 55%, its postpaid base by 13% and mobile broadband base by 50%.

Ciena sees growth opportunities with Tier 1 operators in Latin America – Regional

US network solutions provider Ciena (Nasdaq: CIEN) is seeing growth opportunities with Tier 1 operators in Latin America, president and CEO Gary Smith said during a presentation with investors.

“In Latin America, I think we’re seeing strong traction among some other Tier 1s,” the executive said.

“In the last quarter, we had Tier 1 wins in Asia, Europe and Latin America, and these were new Tier 1s for Ciena,” Smith added.

In a previous conference call, the executive said that Ciena is seeing opportunities in emerging markets as certain carriers in these markets are improving their network architecture.

Smith said that growth opportunities were significant in markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and the Middle East.

The company posted a US$27.1mn net loss for its fiscal 2Q13, ended April 30, compared to a US$27.8mn net loss in the year-ago period. Revenues reached US$508mn in the quarter, up 6.3% year-on-year. Non-US customers contributed 43% of total revenue.


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