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Jamaica’s internet subscriptions en route to 1mn – JamaicaThe number of internet subscribers has surpassed 920,000 in Jamaica, of which approximately 786,680 are mobile broadband customers, according to the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ).
The remaining internet subscribers comprise 132,537 broadband users and 989 dial-up users. Based on data provided by the statistical institute of Jamaica, the total population was 2.71mn as of May 2013.
Between December 2012 and June 2013, the number of mobile subscribers in the country increased 3% to 2.8mn, meaning mobile penetration of 103%. Total mobile and fixed line telephone subscribers grew 2.5% to roughly 3mn over the corresponding period, although the total fixed telephone subscribers, in concurrence with the mobile substitution trend, declined 2.1% to 247,879.
At end-June 2013, mobile and fixed networks Jamaica totaled a teledensity rating of 112 per 100 inhabitants while the same figure stood at 108 at end-2012 and 127 in 2010.
The statistics provided were recorded in the PIOJ’s annual economic and social survey for Jamaica.
Claro, Orange win Dominican Republic spectrum awards – Dominican R.
The Dominican Republic’s telecoms regulator Indotel has awarded spectrum licenses to telcos Claro and Orange worth a total US$70.5mn, according to information on the watchdog’s website.
Indotel’s directing board announced the awards nearly two years after the companies first began participating in the tender, according to local press. This is also the first frequency spectrum that Indotel has awarded since it was founded in 1998.
The awards are for the 941-960MHz and 1,700/2,100MHz blocks.
Orange, owned by French company Altice, was awarded the 900 block for $28.5mn while América Móvil’s Claro was awarded two blocks in the 1,700/2,100MHz frequency range worth $42mn.
Orange and Claro were the only bidders considered for their respective blocks.
Claro submitted offers for four blocks in the 1,700/2,100MHz range, but since the tender put a 40MHz cap per operator, Claro’s bids for two other blocks worth $31.5mn were not awarded, according to resolution 020-14 on Indotel’s website.
The tender, which is for national service, will also require Orange and Claro to improve their service quality, according to newspaper El Nacional.
Executives from Spanish telco Telefónica (NYSE: TEF) highlighted in a conference call with investors the increased contribution of Mexico, Colombia and Chile to its Q1 performance.
Telefónica’s revenue in Colombia was up 9.8% year-on-year in the first quarter, as mobile revenue surged 14.1% with strong growth in both voice and data revenue.
Meanwhile, the company’s fixed line business grew at 3.2% in Colombia as fixed broadband and pay TV growth offset declines in fixed voice revenues.
Revenues in Chile grew just 1.4% in constant currency terms, but Telefónica recorded strong growth in services such as mobile data, fixed broadband and pay TV.
POSITIVE OUTLOOK EXPECTED FROM MEXICO REGULATIONS
Telefónica also reported strong growth in México in constant currency terms, and is expecting further positive impacts in the country once secondary telecoms laws come into effect, the executives said.
The positive results in Q1 did not include any impact from the upcoming reforms, they added.
Telefónica expects the reforms to become a more attractive option for Telcel customers as a result of reduced interconnection rates.
Mexico saw revenue up 9.3% year-on-year on a constant currency basis, as mobile service growth offset declining data revenues.
TELEFÓNICA CONTINUES TO EXPLORE OPTIONS IN VENEZUELA
For Venezuela, Telefónica reported results using the Sicad1 exchange rate, accepting an “implicit devaluation” which increased its net debt by 1.1bn euros, the company said in a release.
Telefónica is continuing to explore alternatives to invest and protect its Venezuelan cash from inflation, given that it is still unable to repatriate assets from the company, according to CFO Ángel Vilá.
In Venezuela, the telco saw revenue up by 30.7% on a constant currency basis driven by strong mobile voice and data growth, as the firm saw mobile accesses increase by 10.2% in the country.
Despite strong growth in a range of Latin American markets in a constant currency basis, revenue in euro terms continued to decline in the region as a result of continued currency weakness.
The IDB launched a regional broadband development index, called DigiLAC, to measure penetration throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Based on 37 indicators scored between one and eight points, the region’s 26 countries recorded an average score of 4.37; the average rating of OECD member countries is 6.14, according to an IDB release.
Chile led the region with a combined score of 5.57, followed by Barbados (5.47) and Brazil (5.32). The indicators center on public policy and strategic vision, strategic regulation, infrastructure, and applications and knowledge, the release stated.
Countries comprising the Southern Cone led sub regions, posting an average of 4.87, with Central America standing at 4.26, the Andean region at 4.13, and Caribbean countries recording a rating of 3.72.
An IDB study reported that in Latin America and the Caribbean, a 10% increase in regional broadband penetration equates to a 3.2% rise in GDP and ascent of 2.6 percentage points in productivity.
Although broadband services have grown 16-18% a year in Latin America, the high cost for users is cited as a persistent problem to growing the sector as regional customers spend nearly eight times more compared to citizens of OECD countries.
Cash-strapped Hondutel shuts customer service centers – Honduras
Honduran state telco Hondutel has closed two customer service centers, with the aim of saving 25mn-27mn lempiras (US$1.3mn-1.4mn) a year.
The centers showed low productivity and decreased revenues, local daily Proceso Digital quoted company executive Jesús Mejía as saying.
The announcement comes after the cash-strapped company lost 750mn lempiras last year. Hondutel has dropped to near irrelevancy in the Honduran telecoms market and is verging on collapse due to years of corruption, financial mismanagement and an excessively large workforce.
In mobile services, the company reportedly needs US$220mn of investment, while to make the company competitive and operational, the company would require US$400mn.
Hondutel registered net losses of some US$30mn in 2013.