CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNAmericas: 08/01/14

CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNAmericas: 08/01/14

Digicel eliminates Caribbean roaming charges – Caribbean
C&WC to deploy LTE in Bahamas this year, seek additional spectrum – Bahamas, Caribbean
C&WC mobile, broadband subs in Caribbean, Panama up over last quarter – Caribbean, Panama
VTR posts 11% rise in 2Q13 revenues – Chile, Puerto Rico
Roundup: iSend, Fixed subscribers, Osiptel – Regional
Digicel eliminates Caribbean roaming charges – Caribbean
Pan-Caribbean group Digicel has announced that from 1 October 2013 it will no longer charge roaming rates for its subscribers travelling within its Caribbean footprint and the US. Under the new strategy, customers will pay domestic rates for voice, SMS and data whilst roaming in the Caribbean and the US. The offering was trialled as the ‘Same Rates a Yaad’ plan in Jamaica, before being rolled out to Barbados, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago. Digicel Group’s commercial director Brian Finn, commented in a press release: ‘At Digicel, we are always looking for new ways to drive value to our customer base and to keep people connected…This is all about giving our customers the freedom to communicate as they wish when they travel without the fear of running up high bills.’
Jamaica, Digicel Group.

C&WC to deploy LTE in Bahamas this year, seek additional spectrum – Bahamas, Caribbean

Cable & Wireless Communications (C&WC) expects its Bahamas incumbent BTC to be one of its first businesses in the Caribbean to launch LTE services later this year and is seeking to acquire additional spectrum to fuel its continued 4G deployments, the company said in an interim management statement.
C&WC completed the purchase of a 51% stake in former state-controlled Bahamas incumbent BTC for US$210mn in early 2011.
The company said that its renewed focus on the pan-American region consisting of the Caribbean, where it operates as LIME, and Panama following plans to sell off its Monaco & Islands and Macau businesses, had moved the company to accelerate investments in mobile broadband.
In July, LIME became the first operator to launch 4G/HSPA+ services in St Lucia. It also rolled out LIME TV in the Cayman Islands.
St. Lucia is the seventh C&WC market to upgrade to 4G HSPA+ technology, the others being Panama, the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands and Monaco.
The company saw increases in mobile and broadband subscribers in the quarter ending June 30 compared to the previous quarter ended March 31.
“Ahead of anticipated requirements driven by ongoing data usage growth we will look to secure spectrum assets as appropriate across our businesses,” the company said.

C&WC mobile, broadband subs in Caribbean, Panama up over last quarter – Caribbean, Panama

Cable & Wireless Communications (C&WC) saw growth in mobile and broadband subscribers in its Caribbean and Panama units in the three months ending June 30, though this has been counter-balanced by a decline in fixed voice revenue, the company said in an interim management statement.
C&WC, whose financial year ends on March 31, said mobile subscribers in the Caribbean were up 2.2% to 1.55mn at end June from 1.52mn on March 31 and up almost 4% from June 30 in 2012.
Mobile Arpu was also up to US$28.4 from US$27.2 at the end of March.
Broadband subscribers rose to 227,000 from 223,000 in March though Arpu slipped slightly to US$40.2 from US$41.7. C&WC operates in the Caribbean under the LIME brand.
Fixed line subscribers fell to 698,000 in June from 701,000 in March.
In Panama, mobile subscribers rose 3% over the last quarter to 1.90mn, though Arpu fell to US$15.4 from US$16.7.
Broadband subscribers in Panama rose to 129,000 from 126,000 in March, while Arpu remained flat at US$29.
Fixed line subscribers and Arpu remained flat.
C&WC will issue interim results for the period ending September 30 on November 7.
C&WC saw a 4% drop in revenue in its financial year ending March 31 to US$1.94bn, as declines in voice and a struggling Caribbean economy weighed.
The company reiterated that market conditions in the Caribbean “remain difficult,” particularly in the Eastern Caribbean and Barbados.
According to the statement, C&WC is seeing the fruits of its cost reduction and restructuring plan announced last year with opex in the Caribbean down 5% against Q1 in the prior year.
As of June 30 2013, group net debt was US$263mn, down US$1.388mn from March 31, helped by the sell-off of assets.
C&WC completed the sale of its 51% stake in Macau company CTM to Citic Telecom bringing in US$807mn. Progress is being made to dispose of the Seychelles and Monaco & Islands businesses.

VTR posts 11% rise in 2Q13 revenues – Chile, Puerto Rico

Chilean mobile, cable TV and triple play operator VTR saw revenues rise 11.4% in dollar terms to US$253mn in the second quarter of 2013, according to quarterly results from VTR’s parent company Liberty Global (Nasdaq: LBTYA).
In rebased growth terms, VTR’s revenues grew 9.0%.
VTR’s Arpu (average revenue per subscriber) improved 1.9% to 31,268 pesos (US$60.72) from 30,681 pesos a year earlier, and the number of customers was up 5.5% to 1.18mn.
VTR averaged 2.14 services per customer. Some 46.5% of VTR’s customers had triple-play packages and 20.9% had double-play packages.
VTR Wireless had 140,100 subscribers at the end of 2Q13, compared to 140,600 in Q1. VTR has 97,000 prepaid mobile subscribers as of June 30, 2013.
Liberty Global turned a net profit of US$8.7mn in 2Q13, down from US$706..8mn in 2Q12. The company posted a US$11.6mn net loss attributable to shareholders, compared to a net profit of US$701.6mn in 2Q12.
Liberty’s Global revenues rose 25% to US$3.16bn year-on-year, compared to US$2.53bn in the year-ago period.
Liberty Global had 24.8mn subscribers as of June 30, 2013, up 40.2% year-over year and up 38.7% sequentially, largely driven by the inclusion of UK cable operator Virgin Media, acquired earlier this year.
In Latin America, Liberty Global also operates as Liberty Puerto Rico in Puerto Rico.

Roundup: iSend, Fixed subscribers, Osiptel – Regional

US electronic payment service iSend has signed an agreement with Spanish telco Telefónica (NYSE: TEF), the former company said in a statement.
This agreement will enable consumers in the US and Canada to visit more than 150,000 iSend retailers and purchase mobile airtime for family and friends who are Telefonica Movistar customers in Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Uruguay.
“iSend’s direct arrangement with Telefónica provides an excellent convenience to our customers while expanding our footprint in this key region for mobile top-ups,” said Dan Lambert, iSend’s vice president of carrier relations.
***
There were a total of 874,761 fixed telephony subscribers in Venezuela’s capital Caracas at the end of the second quarter, local telecoms watchdog Conatel reported.
Fixed subscribers in the capital district totaled 843,594 at end-June 2012, according to the watchdog.
Caracas ended June this year with a fixed telephony penetration of 40.6%..
***
Peruvian telecoms regulator Osiptel approved a resolution to enable mobile users to have its international mobile roaming service activated or deactivated within 24 hours, the regulator said in a statement.
Osiptel also prohibited mobile operators from including clauses for the automatic activation of roaming services in the contracts with mobile subscribers.

 

Copyright 2014 Business News Americas

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

CANTO's Secretary General Teresa Wankin strikes a pose with Aruba's Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes (left). The CANTO Board is currently in Aruba for its 138th Board Meeting. pic.twitter.com/uG3W5eYyi1

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