CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNamericas: 05/03/14

CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNamericas: 05/03/14

LatAm broadband is getting cheaper – report – Regional

Average broadband prices in the Americas declined year-on-year in the first quarter, according to telecoms monitor Quantum-Web.

The average monthly price of fixed broadband was 31.35 euros (US$43.45), while mobile broadband was 19.75 euros and average cost per GB was 1.25 euros.The use of fiber optic and LTE contributed to reduced prices, especially in Latin America, said a report released by the firm.

Wireless broadband in countries such as the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica is becoming more affordable, while Venezuela and Uruguay still have “very high prices” that show no signs of declining in the short term.

“The pricing strategy of the operators in the region suggests that operators, in order to increase the ARPU and loyalty of their customers, are focusing on a data sharing option on different wireless devices and bundling voice and data services,” said the report.

Some 48% of total available broadband packages observed by Quantum-Web were double and triple play.

Roundup: Costa Rica phone thefts, Dominican Republic’s accessibility plan, digital TV setback – Regional

Costa Rica’s telecoms regulator Sutel says 5,710 cell phones were blocked during the first quarter due to theft or loss, compared to 20,538 devices blocked in the same period last year.

Of the devices, 3,283 were registered with state-owned Costa Rica Electricity Institute, while 1,550 were under Claro plans and 877 were with Telefónica de Movistar, according to newspaper Costa Rica Hoy.

Sutel spokesman Eduardo Castellón said the decline may be due to the fact that fewer people file reports. In August, Costa Rican carriers signed an agreement with the GSM Association where carriers would report the IMEIs of stolen devices.

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Dominican Republic telecoms regulator Indotel will invest 400mn pesos (US$9.33mn) to connect 50,000 homes in two years, as well as micro, small and medium enterprises, daily Costa Rica Hoy reported.

The “Hogar conectado” and “Myipyme conectado” programs seek to improve connectivity in households and businesses, respectively, by providing low-cost, financed computers and digital education.

Indotel president Gedeón Santos said another 200mn pesos would be invested to improve the quality of services.

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Mexico’s transport and communications ministry (SCT) is said to be delaying the analog TV switch-off, local media reported.

Tuesday marks the deadline for telecoms regulator IFT to determine if there is 90% digital TV penetration in five northern Mexican cities – including Monterrey, Mexico’s third largest – before the scheduled switch over takes place on May 29, according to Reforma.

But SCT has not stated how and when it would distribute devices to receive digital signals, which means IFT must set a new deadline for the switch overs in those cities.

Cuba’s Etecsa to improve mobile e-mail service – Cuba

Cuban telecoms company Etecsa is looking to fix problems with the new mobile phone email service it began offering on March 3.

Cuban daily Granma said the launch of the new service led to long lines of people waiting to sign up in stores, delayed deliveries of traditional text messages, and problems calling certain phone numbers due to network overuse.

More than 100,000 people have signed up for the service, which provides mobile phones access to the @nauta.cu address.

According to Granma, Etecsa will increase investment and commission a new mobile phone center. The company will add 80 new radio bases to its network of 500, with 15 having been added so far.

The new radio bases, along with other investments, are expected to stabilize the system within a period of two months, the report said.

Russia, India and Cuba criticize NETMundial – Regional

Russia, India, Cuba and members of civic society opposed the final document of the NETmundial internet governance summit held in São Paulo, Brazil.

After the reading of the paper by the NETmundial board, representatives of the three governments and civil society took the stage to express their disagreement.

The Russian official praised Brazilian PresidentDilma Rousseff for the conference and for taking a lead on internet debate, but condemned the “lack of transparency on preparing this document”.

According to sources close to the issue, Russia was upset for not being part of the high-level committee nor being one of the 12 event co-hosts.

In a clear reference to the United States, the Russian representative said the principles in the text “reaffirms the rights” of countries to collect internet information.

He concluded by saying Russia “will not consider implementing” internet principles based on the document.

The Indian government official highlighted “significant changes” made in the revised text compared to the final one, particularly regarding key principles of internet governance, such as Icann/Iana transition.

Cuba asked that the internet governance debate be held in the United Nations, and said the NETMundial document was too limited.

The civil society representative said the document fails to adequately address net neutrality, mass surveillance and freedom of expression.

“We feel that this document has not sufficiently moved us beyond a status quo in terms of the protection of fundamental rights and the balancing of power and influence of different stakeholder groups,” he said.

Nokia’s revenue falls as it appoints new CEO – Regional

Nokia (NYSE: NOK) reported falling revenue for the first quarter on Tuesday, when the company also named a new CEO.

Revenue fell 15% to 2.66bn euros, while Nokia posted a 239mn euros net loss (US$331mn) compared to a 272mn euros net loss in 1Q13.

Following the sale of its devices and services unit to Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) in a deal worth 5.5bn euros, Nokia’s continuing operations now mainly include the network infrastructure business.

The company said that the transaction with Microsoft has provided a “solid base for future investment,” and announced plans for a 5bn-euro program to optimize its capital structure.

Nokia also appointed Rajeev Suri, head of the network equipment unit, as CEO on Tuesday, replacing Steven Elop, who is moving to Microsoft.

FALLING SALES, HEADCOUNT IN LATAM

Nokia reported a revenue decrease of 28% to 222mn euros in Latin America for Q1. Overall, sales fell in all major geographical areas, except for Greater China.

Declining revenues in Latin America was primarily due to constrained operator spending and the exit of particular projects, according to the earnings release report.

Latin America also saw the greatest headcount reduction following the sale of the devices business to Microsoft.

The number of Nokia employees in the region fell 58% to 3,085 in the 12 months through Q1, while the global average headcount reduction in that period was 13%.

Latin America accounted for around 5.6% of Nokia’s global personnel as of end-March compared to 11.6% at the same point in 2013.

DEVICES SALES CONTINUED TO FALL

Meanwhile, revenues from Nokia’s discontinued devices unit continued to fall.

The devices business saw revenue drop 30.2% to 1.93bn euros in Q1.

Net sales of mobile phones were affected by “competitive industry dynamics,” including intense smartphone competition at lower price points and strong competition in the low-end device segment, the report said.

Copyright 2012 Business News Americas