CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNamericas 07/22/16
|Samsung launches digital wallet in Brazil with eye on the Olympics – Brazil, Puerto Rico
South Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung activates on July 19 in Brazil, just a few weeks ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, its anticipated contactless mobile wallet platform Samsung Pay.
The technology was announced at an event in São Paulo on Thursday night.
Brazil becomes the seventh country worldwide and the first in South America to receive the service, which allows users with compatible Samsung smartphones to make payments at point of sale terminals via contactless MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) and NFC technologies.
Samsung Pay was recently activated in the US territory of Puerto Rico in partnership with local lender Banco Popular.
In Brazil, the first banks to accept the service are Banco do Brasil, Caixa and Santander. Itaú, Bradesco, Nubank and Banrisul should follow suit in the next three months, said André Varga, director of devices at Samsung Mobile Brazil.
In Brazil, Samsung Pay will be available for download and use in the following smartphone families: S6, S7, Note 5, A5 and A7.
The Korean multinational is seeing visitors and tourists flocking to Rio as an opportunity to showcase and kick start the technology, currently available in South Korea, the US, China, Spain, Singapore, Australia and Puerto Rico.
Samsung executives said people who use the service in these countries will be able to use it in Rio – provided the registered credit card is international.
Asked by BNamericas, Varga said there is no plans for other LatAm launches this year.
Samsung also said it is evangelizing its agents, as well as retailers and partners, in the use of the technology.
Worldwide, Brazil has one of the largest numbers of point-of-sales (POS) machines enabled to accept contactless payment via the near-field communication (NFC) technology, accounting for some of 90% of the POS machines.
Mobile banking operations are also growing strongly in the country.
According to Brazilian banking association Febraban, digital channels – internet and mobile banking – accounted for around 54% of the 54bn financial and non-financial banking transactions carried out in Brazil last year.
Of the total, 20% were financial transactions (including money transfers and payments). M-banking alone had 11.2bn transactions, jumping 138% from 2014.
Executives from Samsung and from banks and card brands pose for photo in São Paulo. Credit: BNamericas
Broadband drives FY16 growth for CWC – Regional
UK-based telco Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) posted a US$126mn profit in its fiscal year ended March 2016 compared to a US$33mn loss the previous year, with growth broadly across the product portfolio.
Group revenue grew 2% year-on-year to US$2.4bn. Caribbean revenue grew 3% to US$1.1bn driven by 8% mobile and 7% broadband revenue growth.
The company said that it narrowed the number of mobile subscribers lost over the year to 94,800 from 159,300 the previous year.
The total mobile subscriber base was 4.02mn, up 5% from a year earlier, driven by a 23% increase in data subscriptions.
CWC was acquired in May by Liberty Global, which has vowed to strengthen CWC’s TV and broadband offerings.
The company had already expanded its scope of products and services after it acquired last year telecoms provider Columbus International, which added the Flow TV and internet brand in the Caribbean, as well as extensive submarine cable infrastructure throughout Central America and the Caribbean – and extending to Colombia.
CWC highlighted that it has unified the Flow brand across the Caribbean and that integration with Columbus is on track to deliver US$125mn in cost savings.
CWC has also completed the second year of its Project Marlin telecommunications infrastructure project that aims to roll out and integrate fiber and mobile networks.
Financial services, public sector drive Q2 SAP in LatAm – Regional
Financial services, retail and the public sector drove sales in Latin America for German corporate software giant SAP in Q2, with the s/4 HANA in-memory database platform forming the basis of digital transformation strategies, SAP said in a statement.
“The numbers are clear: solid growth in the cloud and in on-premise solutions reflects confidence in the Latin American market,” said SAP’s Latin America president Claudio Muruzábal.
SAP said that it saw double-digit growth in on-premise solutions, with Brazil and Mexico the standouts.
Meanwhile growth of the S/4 HANA platform, on which the company is basing most of its future strategy, grew by triple digits, reaching a total of 500 clients in the region.
SAP highlighted that Itaú Unibanco Holding, a Brazilian banking group with a presence in 19 countries, had adopted S/4 HANA to leverage big data, graphics and geospatial analytics (analysis of geographical data) and complex processes in real time.
Likewise, Mexican supermarket and department store chain Tiendas Soriana, which has 800 outlets in 208 towns and cities in Mexico, has deployed S/4 HANA to streamline the integration of operations of a recently-acquired competitor.
The company seeks to achieve savings of 50% in storage infrastructure.
S/4 HANA is designed to eliminate 40% of the IT workloads of systems like CRM and ERP by running applications on one system.
The business suite offers analytics capabilities to study customer behavior and requires less processing power, meaning cost savings.
Muruzábal told BNamericas in April that the digital economy represents only 4% of GDP in Latin America, half of the figure for Europe and the US therefore there is ample room for growth.
The executive has attributed adoption of its S/4 HANA business suite to large and small companies seeking greater efficiencies and insight into their customers during the economic downturn seen since 2015.
According to consultancy IDC, by 2018 at least 18% of IT spending in Latin America will go on cloud services.
The company reiterated its goal of reaching 100% of sales of its general business clients, which includes SMEs, via channel partners by 2020.
Globally, SAP reported an 11% increase in cloud and software revenue in constant currency and 33% growth in cloud subscriptions and support revenue in constant currency in the quarter.
IFC plans investments in tech startups, 4G LTE network – Argentina, Regional
The proposed project entails equity investments in two complementary vehicles, which are sponsored by Nibeluz (NXTP), a leading accelerator and early-stage venture capital fund manager based in Argentina.
The first vehicle is Certo (NXTP Labs), a US$38.5mn accelerator and early-stage seed fund seeking to support 300 high-growth technology startups in Latin America, according to an investment proposal that IFC’s board of directors is expected to discuss on August 25.
The second is the NXTP Fund 2, a US$120mn early-stage venture capital fund that will make investments in high-growth technology companies in Latin American countries. This fund plans to support 30-35 promising early-stage companies that otherwise may have trouble securing follow-on funding.
The total proposed IFC equity investment is for up to US$30mn, including up to US$3mn, not to exceed 20% of total capital commitments, in NXTP Labs; up to US$17mn, not to exceed 20% of total capital commitments, as an anchor LP in NXTP Fund 2; and up to US$10mn in an IFC co-investment envelope to co-invest with NXTP Fund 2.
NXTP expects this enterprise to result in a significant number of high-quality jobs and help support entrepreneurship and innovation across Latin America.
In addition, IFC will participate with Telecom Personal, owned by Telecom Argentina, in supporting the company’s capex plan, including the deployment of a nationwide 4G LTE network and the refinancing of short term debt.
The total project cost for the 2016-2018 period is estimated at US$600mn. The proposed IFC investment consists of an A loan of up to US$100mn and a mobilization from B lenders/parallel loans of up to US$400mn.
Although Argentina is gradually returning to international debt markets, long-term cross-border bank financing is still not available. IFC’s investment is therefore critical in providing Telecom Personal access to long-term funding. By supporting the rollout of much needed additional data capacity, IFC aims to help Telecom Personal get on par with regional peers.
The IFC has already supported the Latin American telecom sector this year, granting Ecuador’s Otecel a US$75mn loan for its 4G network.
Guatemala’s Inde calls for bids on C-band satellite services – Guatemala
Guatemalan state power company Inde, through its power generation company EGEE, is launching a tender to supply C-band satellite linking services for its generation park.
The hydroelectric power plants that the services must cover are the Chixoy plant and dam, Aguacapa, Jurún Marinalá, Santa María, El Porvenir, Palin II and El Salto’s hydroelectric dam, as well as the geotermal project unit warehouses in Santa María de Jesús.
Services must link these facilities with Inde’s central offices, where the exchanged data will be used in the maintenance and connectivity management systems. The bandwidth between Inde’s central offices and the aforementioned facilities must be 1,024Kbps.
The equipment supplied must comply with the most recent standards issued by the American National Standards Institute, the International Electrotechnical Commission, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.
Bids must be submitted before September 6 at 9:00am local time at the Inde Tower in Guatemala City, and bidders must pay a participation fee of 100 quetzales (US$13) before August 1.
More information on requirements and supporting documents is available in the government of Guatemala’s procurement site under NOG 5141710.
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