|IN BRIEF: Brazil installs satellite control antenna – Brazil, Jamaica
The antenna that will be used to control Brazil’s geostationary satellite, currently under construction, has been installed in capital Brasília.
The 18m-high antenna was set up at the command center of the defense and strategic communication geostationary satellite (SGDC, in Portuguese).
The satellite was considered a priority project for the communications ministry. It is being built by French-Italian firm Thales Alenia Space (TAS) at an estimated cost of 1.7bn reais, and will be launched by February 2017, the ministry said.
Digicel Barbados to absorb tax increase – Barbados
Caribbean telco Digicel will not increase its mobile rates in Barbados as a result of higher VAT on telecom services, said regional CEO Paul Osborne.
Barbados announced last month that it would increase its tax on cell phone use, including voice and data, from 17.5 to 22%, starting January 1. Finance minister Chris Sinckler said that the extra tax would raise 14mn Barbadian dollars (US$7mn) every year.
Digicel decided that it would absorb the tax into all its plans, meaning that its customers did not need to expect an increase in their phone and internet bills.
“We absolutely applaud the government’s education initiative and its objectives and we’ll continue to be in full compliance with all tax regulations,” Osborne told Loop Barbados. “Digicel will continue to pay all our taxes over to government at a new increased rate.”
On the other hand, Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), which operates under the brand Flow, has warned its customers that they will see an increase on their bills.
Liberty Global in LatAm investment mood – Caribbean, Regional
After completing its purchase of Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), Liberty Global does not rule out new acquisitions in Latin America.
CEO Mike Fries said at the Citi 2016 Global Internet, Media & Telecommunications Conference that the company still has M&A ambitions in both Europe and Latin America.
Fries said that the CWC purchase was a seminal moment for Liberty Global. The company also operators cable systems in Puerto Rico, through Liberty Cablevisión, and Chile, through VTR.
CWC accepted a US$8.2bn offer from Liberty Global for 100% of its share capital in November. The operation, expected to conclude in 2Q16, will combine CWC’s 6.3mn customers in Latin America and the Caribbean with Liberty’s 1.5mn clients in Puerto Rico and Chile.
Liberty Global also obtains the 728,000 customers CWC took on when it merged with Columbus International.
Liberty Global’s Latin American operations saw a 6.7% year-on-year increase in revenue to US$309mn in 3Q15.
Uruguay tops LatAm LTE penetration – Regional, Uruguay
Uruguay leads Latin America with nearly 49% LTE penetration, followed far behind by Chile with 18%, according to consulting firm 4G Americas.
Peru (13.5%), Brazil (11.6%) and Argentina (10.4%) round out the list.
Latin America has an average of nearly 9% LTE penetration. The technology is present in 18 markets, with only Cuba and El Salvador lacking operators offering it.
Fourteen of the markets have below-average penetration, including Bolivia (7.7%) and Mexico (7.2%), which have had the technology since 2012.
Is dialogue the key to improving infra deployment in LatAm? – Regional
The dialogue between governments and telecom operators is key in infrastructure deployment, and should be based on clear, standardized procedures at a national level, says 4G Americas in a new paper.
Deployment of mobile telecommunication infrastructure is regulated by different legislation in Latin American countries, which is often inconsistent and contradictory and leads to delays and restrictions at the time of expanding and building new networks.
“One has to consider that the number of local administrative bodies, or municipalities, may range from one hundred to several thousands in Latin American countries, each one potentially with their own rules,” said José Otero, 4G Americas Director of Latin America and the Caribbean.
The report suggest that infrastructure application processing terms should be short, defined and include automatic approval such as ‘positive administrative silence’. As for shared use of infrastructure, including antennas, the paper suggests promoting voluntary agreements within technical, economic, operating and legal feasibility – and avoiding the intervention of the government.
Nevertheless, the state should provide “a clear legal framework, which encourages investment and recognizes telecommunications as a main axis in the development of economy and society,” Otero added.