|Digicel deploys LTE in Turks & Caicos – Caribbean Digicel has launched its LTE network in Turks & Caicos, becoming the first operator to offer the service on the Caribbean Island.
The operator, which controls 94% of the mobile market on the island, according to the Turks & Caicos Sun, will start offering the service on the islands of Providenciales, Grand Turk and North Caicos. The remaining islands will be covered in the near future.
Turks & Caicos is the last in a spree of LTE deployment across the Caribbean. Choice Wireless launched its network in the US Virgin Islands in January, whereas LIME did so in Antigua & Barbuda in November. Puerto Rico, Dominica and the Cayman Islands also have operative networks.
Latin America ended 2014 with 12mn LTE subscriptions, representing 488% growth compared to the 2mn subscriptions seen the previous year, according to 4G Americas. The leading countries in the LTE race are Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.
GSMA predicted that 4G LTE networks will reach over three quarters of Latin Americans by 2020.
Telefónica R&D investment rises 6% in 2014 – Regional Telefónica invested 1.11bn euros (US$1.19bn) in R&D projects in 2014, up 6% versus 2013, the company said in a statement.
The telco also said it had invested a total of 6.97bn euros in research, development and innovation in 2014, some 13.5% more than in 2013.
Among the projects that Telefónica launched in 2014 were ThinkingThings, an end-to-end platform that enables users to create new products and services for the Internet of Things and Click&Pizza, which is a partnership between Telefónica and Telepizza that allows users to order a pizza at the click of a button from a device that can come in the form of a fridge magnet.
Firefox Hello is a free video call service, while Tu Go is an application that enables users to make a phone call using their phone number but from any data-connected device.
In 2014 Telefónica R&D also pushed its move towards a virtualized network with the creation of the NFV Reference Lab on which it is working with Ericsson.
In November, the company kicked off the Data Transparency Lab, a community of technologists, researchers, policymakers and industry representatives working to advance online personal data privacy through scientific research and design.
To read more about the progress Telefónica is making with NFV see this week’s interview with Telefónica CTO Enrique Blanco.
Telefónica has been betting heavily on the development of M2M technology. In February Telefónica Business Solutions said it was extending its m2m Global Partner Program to Latin America in 2015.
Telefónica launched an Internet of Things (IoT) R&D center in Chile in November last year that will seek specific initiatives from startups to complement the country’s IoT vision for particular industries.
Roundup: Ericsson, D-Link, Silver Peak – Chile, Regional Ericsson has appointed Clayton Cruz as sales VP for Ericsson Latin America.
The executive will report to Ericsson Latin America president Sergio Quiroga.
Cruz has worked at Ericsson for 18 years in Brazil, Mexico and Sweden, and recently as Latin America broadband director with a focus on high quality networks.
“Clayton has a proven leadership track record and he will contribute vast management experience to the company in his new role,” Quiroga said.
D-Link has appointed Pedro Cisterna as its new business sales manager for Chile.
Cisterna has more than 20 years’ experience in the industry having worked as product manager in IT wholesalers Tecnoglobal and Intcomex distributing networking brands like Cisco, D-link and HPN.
He has also worked with Chilean integrator Coasin and the Chilean unit of Logicalis.
Between 2008 and 2012, Cisterna worked as channel sales account manager with D-Link.
California-based WAN optimization products manufacturer Silver Peak has appointed John Vincenzo as global chief marketing officer.
The executive will also hold the position of SVP and joins the company at a time of expansion and growth of the WAN segment.
Bejore joining Silver Peak, Vincenzo was marketing VP for Embrane, a company that delivers a distributed software platform that powers high-performance, elastic, virtual network services on-demand.
The executive also worked as global marketing VP for 3Com Corporation.
According to Vincenzo, Silver Peak software is in keeping with the market trend away from hardware and toward virtualization.
Hondutel forecasts US$1mn earnings for 2015 – Honduras Honduras’ state-owned telco Hondutel expects to end 2015 with earnings in the black for the first time since 2010, based on financial results for the two first months of the year.
January and February gave the telco a profit of 3.38mn lempiras (US$158,000), a far cry from the 72.7mn-lempira loss for the same period last year. The positive results led manager Jesús Mejía to tell local media that the company telecom would end the year with earnings of around 2bn lempiras and profits at 20-30mn lempiras.
This would be the first time in five years that the troubled telco, which has been flirting with bankruptcy for a while, has ended the year in profit. The last time was in 2010, when the company made earnings of 3.2mn lempiras.
Hondutel’s problems became acute in 2013, when it reported a loss of 752mn lempiras, prompting the firm to close down customer service centers and cut more than half of its managerial positions via an early retirement plan, as well as suspend 700 low-productivity workers who rejected early retirement.
The measures panned out well, cutting losses by 63% to 189mn lempiras in the first nine months of 2014, although this was not enough to return it to financial health. The company reportedly required a cash injection of US$600mn, which the Honduran government was in a position to provide.
A potential solution was to open the telecom to private investment, which, despite interest from several foreign companies, has yet to materialize.