CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNamericas 04/24/15

CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNamericas 04/24/15

Roundup: Digicel Grenada, AT&T USVI, Trinidad mobile penetration – Regional
LIME awarded AWS spectrum in Jamaica – Jamaica
Roundup: CWC-Columbus Jamaica, Conatel Venezuela, Tigo El Salvador – Regional
March of pay TV in Mexico continues – Mexico, Regional
Brazil’s Algar taps Nokia Networks for VoLTE roll-out – Regional

Roundup: Digicel Grenada, AT&T USVI, Trinidad mobile penetration – Regional

Digicel Grenada announced the appointment of Ciarán Burke as its new CEO.
Burke has been with Digicel since 2006 and held senior financial and managerial roles, including CFO and acting CEO for Digicel Barbados. He was responsible for strategic acquisitions including TV, cable, fiber and submarine cable systems. Current CEO Patricia Maher is leaving Digicel to “pursue other ventures,” according to information on Digicel’s website.
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AT&T invested US$25mn in wireless and wired networks in the US Virgin Islands from 2012 to 2014, which was used to enhance reliability, coverage, speed and performance for both business and residential clients.
The investment plan focused on network expansion, including LTE upgrades in the area and the activation of a new cell site in St. John.
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Mobile penetration in Trinidad and Tobago reached 149% in 2014, up from 146% the previous year, according to science and technology minister Rupert Griffith.

LIME awarded AWS spectrum in Jamaica – Jamaica

Cable & Wireless Communications’ (CWC) Jamaican subsidiary LIME looks set to deploy 4G LTE services on the island after being awarded an AWS spectrum concession.
The government will obtain US$23.1mn from the sale of the license, local paper Jamaica Gleaner reported.
LIME obtained parts of the 1,710-2,200MHz band, which will allow the provider to roll out LTE and HPSA networks.
The government is due to receive US$11.5mn of the total sale price this year, the paper added.
CWC will be able to compete in the data services market with Digicel, which launched a network in 2012 and has been the only provider of high-speed broadband in Jamaica since then.
Digicel controls the majority of the local market, 77% as of September 2014, according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
Smartphone users make up 45% of Digicel’s customers, according to ITU (CREDIT: AFP).
CWC is changing the shape of the Caribbean telecom market – its acquisition of Columbus International was approved in March. The new company will merge CWC’s fixed and mobile communications offerings with Columbus’ residential cable TV and broadband services, bringing triple play to the region.
The two companies will also merge their markets in the Caribbean and Central America, as well as expanding into South America. CWC is expected to reach 50 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, overtaking Digicel, present in 26 countries in the Caribbean and 32 worldwide.
Digicel had opposed the transaction from the outset, calling for regulatory probes.
CWC drew up synergy plans as early as a month after it announced the merger. The new company is expected to invest around US$400mn in expanding its fiber broadband to 50,000km.
CWC CEO Phil Bentley said in a statement at the end of 2014 that the new company would be capable of providing 1Gb/s broadband speeds and would create 500 new jobs in Latin America in the next five years.

Roundup: CWC-Columbus Jamaica, Conatel Venezuela, Tigo El Salvador – Regional

Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) announced that Garfield Sinclair, general manager of LIME Jamaica, will continue to head the company’s local operations after its merger with Columbus International’s brand Flow.
Sinclair worked as an investment banker before joining LIME in 2010.
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Venezuela’s telecom regulator Conatel updated its rates for international calls from both fixed and mobile lines, in order to protect the service as a public interest.
The rates will increase 2.11 bolívares (US$0.33) to terminate calls from fixed lines, and 4.95 bolívares for calls from mobile lines. The update will prevent fraudulent operators from interfering with calls, El Tiempo quoted Conatel as saying.
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Tigo El Salvador will invest US$100mn in updating its infrastructure this year. The amount is consistent with that invested in recent years, La Prensa Gráfica announced.
Investment will go to updating its call centers, service offices, and broadband and cable services.
Portability is another of the company’s focuses for this year. Tigo has spent US$4mn in the necessary technology for the process, which is expected to be fully operational this year though there is no set date yet.

March of pay TV in Mexico continues – Mexico, Regional

Over half of Mexican homes have pay TV services and more than three-quarters will in 2018, a consultancy claims.
Some 59% of Mexico’s 30.5mn homes have access to pay TV, according to Business Bureau.
Sky is the main provider, present in 40% of homes, followed by Dish (18%), Megacable (13%), Cablemas (6%) and Cablecom (5%).
Business Bureau, which carried out its study at the end of last year, predicts that in 2018 penetration will have increased to 82% of Mexican homes, or 25.2mn.
Penetration in Mexico is above the average for Latin America, which is 52%.
Argentina tops the table, with 84% penetration, followed by Venezuela (73%) and Uruguay (64%). Mexico is sixth, behind Chile (62%) and Colombia (61%).
In terms of pay TV, Brazil is toward the back of the pack. Penetration in Latin America’s largest economy is 44%, according to Business Bureau.
Penetration is higher than that forecast by Brazilian telecom regulator Anatel, which had calculated that it would be 29.7% at the end of last year.

Brazil’s Algar taps Nokia Networks for VoLTE roll-out – Regional

Brazil’s Algar Telecom, the telecoms division of Algar group, has selected Finnish telecoms infrastructure provider Nokia Networks for a five-year contract to supply LTE solutions in the 700MHz spectrum.
Nokia Networks will provide radio and core networks and managed services to upgrade the operator’s 3G network to LTE, the companies said in a joint statement. Nokia will also deploy its Telco Cloud solutions to improve Algar’s systems management and reduce operational costs.
The value of the contract was not disclosed.
The deal looks to prepare Algar’s network for a future offer of voice services over LTE networks (VoLTE), a technology of high-definition voice transmission still in the early deployment stage worldwide.
According to a survey released earlier this month by the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), 16 operators have launched HD voice service enabled by VoLTE in seven countries worldwide.
In Latin America, the technology is forecast to pick up pace in the next couple of years. To date, Nokia Networks has been the sole supplier to close commercial VoLTE deals in the region, the first being with Colombian telco Avantel.
Nokia Networks Latin America director Dimitri Diliani told BNamericas during this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that the company was conducting VoLTE trials with other operators in Latin America and hinted that further contracts could be announced soon.
The Algar deal also comes at a crucial moment for Nokia Networks.
The company just announced it was acquiring French rival Alcatel-Lucent in an all-stock, 15.6bn euro (US$16.6bn) offer, marking another step in the consolidation of the telecoms infrastructure market.
The deal is seen as “synergic” to the companies, while reinforcing their capacity to fight market leaders Ericsson and Huawei.

The information presented and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CANTO and/or its members

CANTO's Secretary General Teresa Wankin strikes a pose with Aruba's Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes (left). The CANTO Board is currently in Aruba for its 138th Board Meeting. pic.twitter.com/uG3W5eYyi1

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