CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNamericas: 01/24/14
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Banco Popular and Orange to launch Dominican mobile banking service – Dominican R.
Roundup: Digital TV, CTU, GT&T – Regional
Roundup: Telefónica, Caribbean carrier meeting, Boingo – Regional
Digicel planning to invest US$500mn in Caribbean, Central America in 2014 – Regional
Altice to raise US$1bn in IPO – Regional
|Banco Popular and Orange to launch Dominican mobile banking service – Dominican R.
Banco Popular Dominicano (BPD) and mobile operator Orange Dominicana have agreed to launch a prepaid mobile banking service called “Orange m-peso” in the Dominican Republic, according to a press release by the bank.
Orange m-peso will be first opportunity for Dominicans to combine their phone plans with virtual bank accounts. The company expects the service to increase financial inclusion among those who do not currently have bank accounts, said the release.
Any level of individual plan, phone model or brand will be able to use the service free of charge. Clients will also be able to transfer money to any other user of the service, regardless of where they are in the country.
Orange Dominicana, the local subsidiary of French telco Orange (NYSE: ORAN), will be authorized to carry out transactions as a subagent of Banco Popular. Users will be able to deposit or take out cash from Orange stores upon the service’s activation, and soon afterward from Banco Popular’s network of ATMs.
In November, Luxembourg-based telecoms group Altice agreed to purchase Orange Dominica for US$1.4bn.
Over 45,000 homes across Venezuela’s Zulia state now have access to digital TV services, state-run telecoms operator Cantv said in a statement.
The government of Venezuela expects its digital TV service to reach 80% of the country’s population by 2015, according to previous reports.
The Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) held a ministerial workshop on a regional approach to number portability on January 16 in Grenada, the CTU said in a statement.
The objectives of the workshop were to explain number portability and its different modes of implementation as well as to sensitize CTU members to the role of number portability in a fully liberalized ICT market.
The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) has signed a three-year sponsorship contract valued at 9mn Guyanese dollars (US$43,700) with the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG), local press reported.
As the official sponsor of THAG, GT&T will disburse 3mn Guyanese dollars annually to the organization over the next three years.
GT&T’s Chief Executive Officer Radha Krishna Sharma said that the donation will support the organization’s overall operations.
Argentine telecoms operator Telefónica de Argentina (NYSE: TAR) expects total investments in Buenos Aires province to reach 1.9bn pesos (US$245mn) this year, the telco said in a statement.
This figure represents an increase of 73% compared to investments in 2013.
TAR is fully owned by Spanish telecoms giant Telefónica (NYSE: TEF).
Telecoms media brand Capacity Media has selected the Dominican Republic to host the Telecom Carrier Business Meeting, Digital Journal reported.
To take place on February 4-5, 2014 in Santo Domingo, the event serves as the annual meeting place for telecom ministers, regulatory bodies and local and international executives.
Wi-Fi connectivity provider Boingo has been selected as the exclusive Wi-Fi and distributed antenna system (DAS) provider at Brazil’s São Paulo international airport, the firm said in a release.
Under the contract, Boingo will design, install and manage advanced Wi-Fi and the DAS networks at the site.
Irish-owned mobile operator Digicel is planning to invest around US$500mn this year in expanding its networks in the Caribbean and Central America, the company’s founder Denis O’Brien told the Financial Times.
O’Brien said there would be a “massive push” this year in the telecoms business into next generation mobile and fixed line services. Digicel also operates in several Pacific islands.
O’Brien is also in the online recruitment business in China.
“We’re surging capex this year. We think there are great opportunities to go for more market share and new products. We have a massive push,” he said.
The executive reportedly said he is evaluating acquisitions, but outside Europe, unlike Liberty Global (Nasdaq: LBTYA) and Vodafone which have been concentrating on Europe.
The company pulled out of an auction to acquire Orange Dominicana, which in November was acquired by Altice.
Digicel issued US$500mn in senior notes in December.
Digicel Group posted an 8% year-on-year increase in revenues in the fiscal year ended March 31 to US$2.78bn.
Last month, the operator said it planned to invest B$25mn (US$12.5mn) in 4G infrastructure in Barbados over the next 12 months.
European cable and telecommunications company Altice Caribbean, the company which in November acquired Dominican Republic operators Orange Dominicana and Tricom, plans to raise 750mn euros (US$1bn) through an IPO on the NYSE Euronext stock exchange in Amsterdam, Altice said in a statement.
The company is expected to use the money to reduce its 3.5bn euros in debt. The listing is an effort to take advantage of the recovering investor interest in the European telecoms market.
The shares are offered at 24.75-31.25 euros each. The subscription period runs until January 30.
In November, Altice announced the US$1.4bn purchase of Orange Dominicana and the US$400mn takeover of 88% of Tricom.
Besides Western Europe (France, Belgium and Luxembourg, Portugal and Switzerland) and Israel, Altice also operates in the French overseas territories (Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guyana).
In the nine months ending September 30, Altice had 367,000 mobile subscribers in the French overseas territories. In the Dominican Republic, taking into account the pending acquisitions, Altice had 3.29mn mobile subscribers.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2013, Altice had an Ebitda margin of 42.3%.