Friday, August 14, 2015

Caribbean roundup: Mon Cash Haiti, Digicel-Mitel, Arsat-2 – Regional
Telefónica boosts submarine capacity with Pacific cable – Regional
Caribbean roundup: Ectel, spectrum in Dominica, Turks & Caicos’ LTE – Caribbean
ICE rejects Costa Rican internet exchange point – Costa Rica
AT&T to boost presence in LatAm markets with low service penetration – Mexico, Regional

Caribbean roundup: Mon Cash Haiti, Digicel-Mitel, Arsat-2 – Regional
Digicel Haiti has changed the name of its m-payment system to Mon Cash, as reported by news website Haiti Libre. The service, offered in partnership with ScotiaBank, was previously named Tcho Tcho. The company has also upgraded its service by optimizing and updating the networks of authorized agents.
Digicel Haiti president Maarten Boute said that the service is much easier to use. “Mon Cash offers a much simpler approach,” he said, adding that the company is now putting the emphasis on domestic money transfers.
Digicel Group has signed a partnership with US-based Mitel, a provider of cloud and unified communications and software solutions, which will now make its services available to Digicel’s customers in the Caribbean and Central America, according to a press release reproduced by Dominica News Online.
Mitel will bring ongoing training for sales and technical services, processes and benchmarks to provide quality customer service, as well as its expertise in voice communications, data networking and applications.
Satellite Arsat-2, built by Argentine communications manufacturer Invap, is being prepared for transportation to French Guiana, where it will be launched into space later this month, news portal ADN Río Negro reported.
The satellite will be flown to Cayenne, and from there brought by land to Kourou, where the launch will take place. Arsat-2 will join Arsat-1, in orbit since last year, in providing TV, internet and IP phone services in both South and North America.

Telefónica boosts submarine capacity with Pacific cable – Regional
Telefónica Business Solutions, through its wholesale unit, has boosted communications capacity between the US and Latin America with the rollout of the Pacific Caribbean Cable System (PCCS), a submarine cable with 80Tbps of capacity linking Jacksonville, Florida to Manta, Ecuador.
The 6,000km cable was built by a consortium consisting of five operators including Telefónica, and will also link Tórtola (British Virgin Islands), Puerto Rico, Aruba, Caraçao, Cartagena (Colombia) and María Chiquita and Balboa (Panama).
Telefónica has over 65,000km of terrestrial and submarine fiber optic infrastructure connecting the US, the Americas and Europe. One of its main cables is the SAM-1, a fiber ring stretching 25,000km and rolled out in 2000, connecting the US, Central and South America. Another cable, Unisur, connects Uruguay with Las Toninas (Argentina).

Caribbean roundup: Ectel, spectrum in Dominica, Turks & Caicos’ LTE – Caribbean
Caribbean telecom watchdog Ectel has expressed its intention to regulate Over-The-Top (OTT) services.
The impact of these services is substantial and should be addressed by regulators, stated St. Lucia’s minister of Science and Technology, James Fletcher, during the CANTO conference in Miami.
“For the first time, consumers have a choice,” he told the Antigua Observer. “It may be causing the telecom companies to lose a bit of revenue, but think about the positive impact it is having on these micro, small and medium enterprises in the Caribbean.”
Ectel members also called on the elimination of roaming charges within the Caribbean market.
Dominica’s telecom regulator NTRC launched its integrated Telecommunications Management System (iTMS), a software system designed to control spectrum deployment and growth in technology on the island.
According to the St. Maarten Island Time, the iTMS is a specific system built in cooperation between several Caribbean states, including Grenada and Montserrat, to address the specific needs of small states in telecom management matters.
The system will help NTRC to deal with spectrum, licensing and allocation, while keeping up with change in telecommunications.
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) has launched LTE services in Turks and Caicos through its local operator, LIME, the company announced in a press release.
The 4G LTE network, which was deployed by Ericsson, will cover the totality of the Provo, Grand Turk and South Caicos islands. The upgrade was part of the ongoing US$10mn project under the Project Marlin investment program.

ICE rejects Costa Rican internet exchange point – Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s state-owned telco ICE does not want to join the internet exchange point (IXP) that was started last year.
The platform has already been joined by 18 providers, with ICE being the most noticeable absentee. The telco told local newspaper La Nación that it feared that other operators could make fraudulent use of its networks.
“The investment made by other operators in their network is minuscule compared to to the investment made by ICE,” said Francia Picado, from the company’s innovation and strategy department.
The IXP will allow exchange of data between operators, which would make access quicker for all customers. Without the IXP, operators need to hire foreign companies to manage the data exchange between their users and thsoe belonging to other providers.
According to Picado, this is a non-issue for ICE because the telco has the capacity to perform the exchange through its own IP and does not need international linkage.
However, NIC Costa Rica, the entity behind the Costa Rican IXP, believes there there is no basis for ICE’s fears.
“The protocols we use completely prevent network fraud,” said Rosalía Morales, manager of NIC Costa Rica, adding that the cost of data exchange far surpasses the expense of maintaining a local network.
An IXP reduces internet traffic latencies and costs by allowing traffic to be routed locally. Between July 16 and 21, the data exchange in Costa Rica reached 5.6TB.

AT&T to boost presence in LatAm markets with low service penetration – Mexico, Regional
AT&T’s strategy in Latin America for the next three years is to focus on establishing a presence in markets with low penetration of advanced services, the firm’s CEO for Entertainment and Internet, John Stankey, said during a conference call with investors.
The company is planning to take advantage of recently-acquired pay-TV provider DirecTV’s presence in various countries in the region to launch its mobile and broadband services, as well as building momentum from its entry into the Mexican market.
“The wireless expansion in Mexico provides a unique opportunity on a number of fronts,” said Stankey, underlining that Mexico is a good introduction to the rest of the region due to its shared geography and demography with the US. “It provides the means to grow scale and diversify.”
“The opportunity was further enhanced due to a bold public move to enhance foreign direct investment and address the underserved Mexican telecom market,” he added.
Aside from creating a unified North American mobile network, AT&T’s plans include bringing broadband to 60mn customer locations by the end of 2018, as well as expanding its fiber broadband footprint to 14mn customer locations.
The purchase of DirecTV has added pay-TV to AT&T’s services, which the company could only previously offer through broadband to half of its customer locations. The operator expects US$2.5bn annual run-rate cost synergies from the transaction by 2018.
AT&T Mexico said that following the acquisition of DirecTV it was first focusing on building its mobile network, for which the company announced a US$3bn investment in the next three years. No concrete plans for any other market have yet been made known, despite many rumors about its potential entry into Brazil.

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