CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNamericas: 06/20/14

CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNamericas: 06/20/14

Roundup: Virgin Mobile, Dominican Republic, FDI in Mexico – Dominican R., Mexico
Dominican Republic regulator orders mobile carriers to suspend unregistered lines – Dominican R.
Cuba zoning in on ‘illegal’ internet networks – Cuba
Costa Rican regulator attempts to pacify telco users over flat rate proposal – Costa Rica
Movistar Guatemala announces LTE plans – Guatemala

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

Roundup: Virgin Mobile, Dominican Republic, FDI in Mexico – Dominican R., Mexico
Virgin Mobile Mexico CEO Cecilia Vega is calling on the Mexican congress to include mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) in the secondary legislation of the country’s telecoms bill.
Specifically, Vega would like to see laws making it easier for users to port their numbers and the allocation of its own numbers, she said in an interview with local daily La Crónica.
So far, Virgin has invested more than US$40mn in Mexico, and plans to have 1mn users in its first year of operations, though the MVNO does not expect its market share to surpass 3% as it is providing services to a niche market.
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Indotel, the Dominican Republic’s telecom regulator, has given prepaid mobile phone subscribers with unregistered lines a 90-day extension to verify their numbers, after imposing a suspension of all unregistered lines last week.
The lines can be reactivated on telecom provider websites, in person or by text message.
There are more than 5mn unregistered prepaid lines in the country, and the government announced the suspension in a move to reduce crimes committed using prepaid numbers, news website TeleSemana reported.
The Dominican Republic has more than 9.2mn mobile lines, 80% of which are on prepaid plans.
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Francisco González, director of investment promotion agency ProMéxico, said that Mexico’s structural reforms, including the telecom reform, could attract US$40bn per year in FDI.
The director of Telefónica Móvil, Francisco Gil Díaz, said investors are just waiting for the “checkered flag” to begin investing in Mexico, local daily La Crónica reported.
FDI in Mexico totaled US$38.3bn last year, up from $17.6bn in 2012, according to the economy ministry.
Dominican Republic regulator orders mobile carriers to suspend unregistered lines – Dominican R.
Indotel, the Dominican Republic’s telecom regulator, has clarified that mobile phone operators must stop provision of services to mobile lines that have not been verified, following its measure to suspend all unregistered lines last week in order to reduce crimes committed using prepaid numbers.
Indotel said that the 90-day extension it announced last week was not for prepaid users or providers to continue receiving or providing services, the regulator said in a release.
Rather, the extension is for prepaid users to register their lines.
In the meantime, unregistered users will be able to keep their numbers but providers are supposed to suspend services until users are registered.
“Suspended users will keep their numbers but cannot use the service until their information has been validated,” Indotel said.
Local daily Listín Diario reported that some unregistered users still had mobile service, but that providers would gradually begin to suspend those lines in the coming days.
The Dominican Republic has more than 9.2mn mobile lines, 80% of which are on prepaid plans.
Cuba zoning in on ‘illegal’ internet networks – Cuba

The Cuban government is said to be increasingly abandoning its previous “blind eye” approach to Wi-Fi networks in the country in favor of identifying and closing them down.
Largely illegal, the networks employ Wi-Fi signal boosters and are used by citizens to receive news, search the web, watch movies and share information, among other things. They are reportedly being targeted more by authorities such as state telecom provider Etecsa for closure, according to the Miami Herald.
The extent of the Cuban authorities’ knowledge of the illegal networks is uncertain, however recent sweeps of Havana in search of illegal TV satellite equipment and other similar raids on Wi-Fi networks are said to have ramped up following the creation of a US-supported social network reportedly aimed to stir social unrest in the country.
A lack of legal clarification on the technology being used further complicates the issue, while the fact that the majority of equipment used to bolster internet connections has been imported, or potentially smuggled, into Cuba raises the question of whether the government’s actions are futile.
“[Officials] are setting up a wall that is leaking and putting fingers on the leak. Pretty soon there will be more leaks than fingers,” New York Baruch College professor Ted Henken, who researches Cuban blogs, was quoted as saying.
Cuba’s Ministry of Informatics and Communications was listed as an “enemy of the internet” based on a study by press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders.
Costa Rican regulator attempts to pacify telco users over flat rate proposal – Costa Rica

Costa Rican telecoms regulator Sutel responded to concerns that mobile phone users will be hit with major price hikes, following its recent proposal to set a flat rate charge for data downloads.
Sutel said the standardized rate it is proposing will not replace the current speed-based rate.
If the plan is approved, both charges will co-exist under a new hybrid model, local daily La Nación reported.
The regulator will host a public hearing on July 1 to get feedback on its plan to charge about 7.68 colones per megabyte (US$0.014).
The flat rate measure is meant to discourage a small percentage of users from consuming disproportionate amounts of data, who Sutel says are saturating telephony networks. In fact, 5% of users take up 40% of network traffic, the regulator said.
Sutel’s proposal prompted users, politicians and consumer advocacy groups to complain, and raised questions as to how the changes would affect users.
Earlier this week, Sutel and telecom providers clarified that the new charge-per-kilobyte plan wouldn’t eliminate other options.
Telefónica Movistar and Claro have said that users would be able to choose between two different types of rate plans.
Under the proposal, operators would offer rates with download caps and fair usage data caps to prevent abuse of the former option.
Telecom providers and Sutel said the options would allow for greater flexibility and improve competition, and customers would not necessarily pay more for services.
Movistar Guatemala announces LTE plans – Guatemala

Telefónica’s Movistar Guatemala plans to launch an LTE service in the country by the third quarter of 2014 although commercial details are still being finalized, special projects manager Sergio Escobedo Dacaret said.
At onset of the deployment in capital Guatemala City, 50% of the country’s population will be covered by the network, while service could later be extended to municipal centers and tourism areas, news site TeleSemana reported Escobedo Dacaret as saying.
The operator will use a section of the 1900MHz band, Escobedo Dacaret added.
Movistar Guatemala accounted for around 22% (4.5mn) of the country’s 21.7mn mobile phone subscriptions at the end of 2013.
A Guatemalan court ruled in favor of the company and fellow mobile operators Claro and Tigo, upholding a law which essentially gives them authority to install infrastructure on public and private property.

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