Alcatel-Lucent, LIME working on all-IP architecture – Caribbean

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) is deploying a microwave packet radio (MPR) solution to convert LIME’s network in the Caribbean to an all-IP architecture, Alcatel-Lucent said in a release.

The new system will serve as backhaul for the existing wireless networks, and will allow LIME to deliver next-generation mobile broadband services, including LTE.The conversion of the network is expected to be ready by the end of the first quarter of 2014.LIME, owned by Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), operates in Panama and 13 Caribbean markets.

Fitch assigns Digicel a B rating, stable outlook – Regional

Ratings agency Fitch gave Jamaican telecom operator Digicel a B rating on its long-term foreign currency debt as well as a stable outlook, according to local news source The Gleaner.

Along with the ratings, Fitch disclosed that the private company made a net loss of US$198mn for fiscal 2013, ending March 31 last year.

The key constraints on Fitch’s rating for Digicel include the company’s high leverage and exposure to low-rated countries.

“40% of its cash flow is generated from Jamaica and Haiti,” the ratings agency was reported as saying.

Factors lessening business risk over the past several years include Digicel’s diversified cash flow generation and asset base.

The company saw profits in 2011 and 2012, reporting net income of US$43mn and US$47mn respectively, though in 2010 it had reported a US$132mn loss.

The company had some $5.85bn of debt last year.

Digicel reportedly told the Financial Times last January that it has plans to invest US$500mn in expanding networks in the Caribbean and Central America.

Nokia to detail its future only after transaction with Microsoft closes – Regional

Expectations continue to surround Nokia. The Finnish group will only detail its future steps and outline a new business strategy after the process for the sale of its mobile unit to Microsoft (NYSE: MSFT) is completely concluded, according to the company’s interim CEO Risto Siilasmaa.

Siilasmaa opened a conference with Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN), the group’s network, services and mobile broadband arm, on Sunday in Barcelona as part of the run-up to the Mobile World Congress.

NSN announced it had been chosen as infrastructure supplier of UK telecoms operator Everything Everywhere for the roll out of 4G LTE mostly in rural areas of the UK.

At the conference, Siilasmaa dashed the hopes of journalists and analysts present at the conference that a new Nokia CEO would be revealed.

“We are not making any such announcements in Barcelona about the new CEO, or future developments. We will talk more about Nokia in the future, once the transaction with Microsoft is closed,” the interim chairman declared, reading a prepared speech from a teleprompter screen.

The executive insisted, however, that the company has not been “standing still” and it foresees significant opportunities to create value for shareholders. “But as the transaction is yet to close, this is not yet the moment for that.”

Microsoft acquired Nokia’s handsets unit in September last year for over US$7bn, sealing the end of an era for the world’s once leading mobile phone manufacturer.

America Móvil calls for investment-friendly regulatory framework in LatAm – Regional

Mexican telecoms giant América Móvil (NYSE: AMX) has strengthened its call for a regulatory framework in Latin America to facilitate investment from the industry, CEO Daniel Hajj said.

Hajj was one of the speakers at the opening keynote address at the Mobile World Congress, which is organized by the GSM association (GSMA) and kicked off on Monday in Barcelona. Around 80,000 people are expected to attend the four-day event, up from around 60,000 last year.

The session, called “Industry Perspective: Mobile Operator Strategies,” was largely dominated by emerging market voices, gathering together Ahmad Juffar, CEO of UAE firm Etilasat, and Chua Sock Koon, head of Singapore’s SingTel, as well as Hajj.

GSMA’s general director Anne Bouverot and chairman Jon Fredirk Baksaas were the mediators.

“Much has improved in recent years in our region in terms of digital access. Mobile penetration has increased ten times, reaching over 120% in average, the price per imput declined 85%, smartphones are now a fifth of their price three years ago… But we need to have a good regulatory framework to allow for the investments telcos need to make in Latin America. We need proper regulation, adequate spectrum charging, consumer awareness [and] infrastructure quality,” Hajj said.

According to the executive, there are four big game changers that will be shaping the market in the years ahead: higher demand for data services, driven particularly by video applications, M2M, devices and big data.

Hajj’s claims were echoed by Etilsat’s Juffar, though Juffar highlighted that the regulatory landscape in the UAE is currently significantly market-oriented.

“A good regulatory framework encompasses the engagement of all stakeholders in the industry and a broad approach towards the market. The investment needs to be made by all stakeholders involved,” Juffar said.

When questioned by Bouverot, Hajj said America Móvil will continue investing in fixed broadband as well as pay TV in Latin America, as well as mobile broadband. “We are trying to offer everything. I think it’s important to have a portfolio that’s not limited to mobile”.


For GSMA’s Bouverot, the main challenge now for the telecoms industry is to take connectivity to the other half of the planet that is still unconnected. She claimed there are roughly 6.9bn connected devices in the world, but they are in the hands of only 3.4bn people.

The explanation, according to her, is that most people, mainly in developed countries, own more than one SIM card.

For GSMA’s Baksaas, the network of the future will be all-IP, handling enormous amount of data.


Perhaps more than at any of its previous events, the Mobile World Congress agenda this year is clearly impacted by consumerization and a more device-oriented approach. New hardware releases and launches from major OEMs and handset manufacturers seem to be much more appealing than the world of telecoms infrastructure and networks.

WhatsApp to continue running autonomously, assures Zuckerberg – Regional

OTT social messaging platform WhatsApp will continue operating autonomously, though now under a better financial structure to support its growth and with potential integration with Facebook’s (Nasdaq: FB) features, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Monday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

When asked about the amount involved in the acquisition announced last week, Zuckerberg said the service is in fact worth “much more” than the US$19bn to be paid for it and stressed it was a “great” company and a “great fit for Facebook.”

According to Zuckerberg, 70% of the people that use WhatsApp use it every day. The network is estimated to have around 500mn users worldwide.

“Few services in the world are like that nowadays,” he said at the closing keynote of day one at the Congress.

Also during this year’s MWC, WhatsApp announced it would start offering voice calling services, likely to target its main OTT rivals such as Skype and Viber.

For Facebook, the world’s largest social network – or “the largest communications service of any kind that has ever existed,” as it was coined by keynote mediator David Kirkpatrick – is said to now have 1.2bn users worldwide, roughly the equivalent of the whole population of India.


During his presentation, Zuckerberg said that the NSA electronic espionage scandal broke people’s trust in government, although it somehow “brought the industry players together.” He stressed that the privacy of Facebook users is essential to the continued success of the business.​