CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNamericas 06/26/15

CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNamericas 06/26/15

Cuba brings Wi-Fi to more citizens at a lower price – Cuba
Caribbean watch: Digicel Barbados, Digicel Antigua, Ectel – Barbados, Caribbean
Caribbean watch: Jamaica’s portability, Indotel, Digicel Bermuda – Regional
Jamaica sees 200 mobile numbers ported in 48 hours – Jamaica
Portability in El Salvador in final stage of testing – El Salvador

Cuba brings Wi-Fi to more citizens at a lower price – Cuba
In its quest to bring the internet to all citizens, Cuba’s state-owned telecom Etecsa will open several new hotspots this year, and will lower the cost of access to the net.
Starting July 1, using a Wi-Fi hotspot will cost US$2 an hour, down from US$5. The spots will allow for between 50 and 100 people to be connected at the same time at speeds of 1Mbps.
Etecsa’s communications director Luis Manuel Díaz Naranjo said that this expansion has started a new stage of internet access on the island, following on with the company’s plan to increase the number of connected Cubans.
The new hotspots will add to those existing in Havana, Trinidad and Sancti Spíritus, and will span the nation, including the cities of Cienfuegos, Camagüey and Santiago.
Internet hotspots have been operating in capital Havana since last year. Etecsa has been focused on providing internet through Wi-Fi hotspots and community connection centers around the country. It had 154 such centers running at the beginning of the year, up from 118 in 2013.
However, internet will still only be available in public spots, with few connections in private homes due to the high cost of broadband plans.
The expansion is part of the country’s plan to bring the internet to all Cubans, which according to Ernesto Rodríguez Hernández, general manager of computer science at the ministry of communications (Micom), will be effective by 2020.
“The country is getting ready and making strategic projections to meet those goals,” he said.
Cuba still has one of the lowest internet penetration rates in the world. The latest data from the ITU put Cuba’s internet penetration at 25.7% as of 2013, according to a report from US-based NGO Freedom House

Caribbean watch: Digicel Barbados, Digicel Antigua, Ectel – Barbados, Caribbean
Digicel Barbados has made a move to reach business customers and launched a fixed telephony and hosted PBX plan, including 24-hour customer service.
The Digicel Business Fixed Landline and Hosted PBX services address the 500 businesses that have joined Digicel’s ranks since the operator installed its fiber optic network nine months ago.
With this launch, Digicel breaks the monopoly on fixed telephony prompted by the acquisition of Columbus International by competitor Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC).
***
Digicel Antigua asked the island’s government for a six-month implementation window for the new telecom bill, currently being debated in parliament.
CEO Rob Mayo-Smith said in a statement quoted by newspaper Antigua Observer that Digicel welcomes the bill, but that a slow implementation would allow compliance with it.
“While we believe that customers across Antigua & Barbuda stand to gain significantly,” read the statement, “we’re also calling on the government to put in place a six-month implementation window and a Regulatory Committee to oversee compliance and ensure that customers are getting the full benefit of competition.”
The bill aims to ensure increased competition and further liberalization of the market.
***
Eastern Caribbean telecom regulator Ectel launched a public consultation to review quality standards in telecom service across its member states.
The consultation touches on topics from the role of the regulator to proposed targets of telecom service penetration.
Member states will be able to submit comments until July 24.

Caribbean watch: Jamaica’s portability, Indotel, Digicel Bermuda – Regional
Jamaicans can now switch providers without changing their numbers, as portability became a reality this week.
All telecommunications providers have completed testing and are ready to carry out the process, which should be done at no cost for the customer. The technical process will be provided by Dutch company Porting Access B.V., which was granted a 10-year license in March.
The start of the service was delayed for almost a month due to operator LIME needing to conduct more tests and correct glitches.
***
Dominican telecom watchdog Indotel announced its new regulation regarding telephony and broadband services in the Dominican Republic.
The new regulation will “bring up quality standards to an level similar to the rest of Latin America,” according to president Gedeón Santos.
The new regulation includes a cooperation agreement with the national institute for consumer protection, and the opening of 32 customer service centers around the country.
***
Digicel Bermuda will cut up-front charges for phones on postpaid plans.
The operator will offer discounts of up to the total cost of smartphones for new and existing Digicel customers, varying according to the phone and the type of plan.
Jamaica-based Digicel has been focused on upgrading its offers across the Caribbean, such as launching business-oriented plans in Barbados, as a way of giving it leverage in light of competitor Cable & Wireless Communications’ (CWC) acquisition of Columbus International.

Jamaica sees 200 mobile numbers ported in 48 hours – Jamaica
Jamaica’s technology ministry recorded over 200 mobile numbers ported in the two days that the portability service has been available.
Cable & Wireless Communications’ local operator LIME has been the big winner, seeing 190 new customers, while Digicel welcomed 14 new users.
Jamaica introduced number portability last week for both fixed and mobile telephony. The start of the service was delayed for almost a month due to LIME needing to conduct more tests and correct glitches.
All telecommunications providers have completed testing and are ready to carry out the process, which should be done at no cost for the customer. The technical process will be provided by Dutch company Porting Access B.V., which was granted a 10-year license in March.

Portability in El Salvador in final stage of testing – El Salvador
El Salvador is “90% ready” to start portability services, according to an announcement from telecom regulator Siget.
Portability services were approved in January and the government and operators have been conducting tests. According to Siget, operators will do a drill test next week, making actual requests for porting and proceeding with the operation in order to detect and correct any problems.
Portability has been a service long pursued by El Salvador. The service was supposed to be launched in February, but it is still unknown when it will be fully operational.
The implementation process began last year and suffered several delays. The tender, which was supposed to have been held in August, finally took place in December.
Although 29 companies initially expressed interest, only two parties submitted offers: Spain-based El Corte Inglés, and Lithuanian-Salvadoran consortium Mediafon-Imcard, which ultimately won the auction.
El Salvador will have the highest costs per transaction in the region, with Mediafon charging US$2.82 per successfully ported number, although it will not charge for failed number porting.
In Costa Rica the portability provider charges US$1.08, in Mexico the fee is US$0.87, and in Chile it is US$0.72.
The costs will be covered by the operators, not the users. The process is expected to take 24 hours for mobile lines and 72 hours for fixed lines.

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

It's Day 3 of CANTO's 138th Board Meeting in Aruba! *Top pic* Recently appointed V.C. David Cox (L) & CANTO Chair Julian Wilkins (R) met with Aruba's Regulator Ludwig Jansen, Directie Telecommunicatie. *Bottom pic* The Board also met with Roland Croes (L) Director of @SETARnv pic.twitter.com/4Q4ZNG0uJk

About 15 hours ago from CANTO's Twitter via TweetDeck

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