CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNamericas: 08/29/14

CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNamericas: 08/29/14

Jamaican regulator continues Viber block investigation – Regional
CWC adds Panama IT system integrator to portfolio – Regional
GlobeNet’s system capacity to reach 1.8Tbps in 1Q15 – Regional
Roundup: Indotel, IFT, Telcel-WhatsApp – Dominican R., Mexico
Embratel’s satellite investments to benefit Claro, NET – Regional

 

Jamaican regulator continues Viber block investigation – Regional

Jamaica’s utilities regulator (OUR) announced it will examine whether the use of voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) and over-the-top (OTT) services is an illegal bypass before it makes a decision on blocking these services.
The regulator gave no deadline on when a decision will be announced, local daily The Gleaner reported.
Earlier this year, telco LIME and Digicel blocked the VoIP service Viber, which allowed free calls worldwide using smart phones.
“We are still trying to reach a mutually beneficial arrangement with Viber, it is still blocked on our network and we have been continuing our consultations with the OUR on this issue,” Digicel’s head of legal and regulatory affairs Gail Moss-Solomon told the newspaper.
“The thing that spurred us into action was the announcement in July last year that they were going to take calls from fixed line PSTN operators and deliver them through to the app, thus not paying anything,” Digicel’s director of international business Conor Clarke told BNamericas earlier this month.
According to Digicel, Viber’s call service constitutes bypassing, which is illegal in Jamaica.
Digicel has also blocked Viber in Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago. In July, the Trinidad and Tobago’s telecoms regulator TATT also launched an investigation into Digicel’s decision to block various unlicensed VoIP applications from its network.
Viber has 300mn users worldwide and has been blocked by Vodafone in the UK and T-Mobile in Germany, among other operators.
CWC adds Panama IT system integrator to portfolio – Regional

Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) struck a deal to acquire Panamanian IT system integrator Grupo Sonitel, CWC said in a statement.
CWC will pay US$36mn plus contingent consideration of up to US$5mn for the business.
Grupo Sonitel operates IT solutions and telecom services provider SSA Sistemas as well as SME IT services and solution provider Sonset.
SSA Sistemas and Sonset are based in Panama City. SSA Sistemas also operates in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Peru.
The addition of an IT services and telecom solutions provider is in line with CWC’s goal of enhancing its business-to-business and business-to-government offerings, CWC CEO Phil Bentley said.
The deal does not include Grupo Sonitel’s IT hardware reseller Logistica and other non-core companies.
The transaction will be processed through CWC’s Panama subsidiary Cable & Wireless Panama (CWP) – jointly controlled by CWC and the government of Panama, each with a 49% stake with the remaining 2% held by its employees.
CWC is in the midst of US$1bn capital investment plan Project Marlin, launched to expand fixed and mobile networks in the Caribbean and Panama over the next three years.
GlobeNet’s system capacity to reach 1.8Tbps in 1Q15 – Regional

Submarine cable system operator GlobeNet expects its entire system to have available capacity of 1.8Tbps by 1Q15 upon completion of an ongoing upgrade.
The upgrade will bring the entire 1.2Tbps network up to par with the Bermuda-New Jersey section, which already operates at 1.8Tbps, GlobeNet COO Erick Contag told BNamericas.
The current capacity of 1.2Tbps was achieved with a 600Gbps doubling of capacity in 2012, and Contag stresses that GlobeNet will always seek to carry out upgrades of 50-100% of existing capacity every 12 to 18 months, in order to cater for customers’ growing needs and to be ready for extraordinary events like the Olympics.
GlobeNet operates parallel routes between Brazil and the US, one via Colombia and the other via Bermuda, and has found that clients prefer to contract connectivity along both routes, which therefore need to have the same capacity. The entire system has the potential to eventually offer capacity of almost 20Tbps once fully lit, except for the newly laid Bermuda-New Jersey section which has a design capacity of 30Tbps.
MEXICO OPPORTUNITY?
The growing health of the Mexican economy and the slowing of growth in Brazil suggest that GlobeNet may wish to consider expanding its network west of Colombia. However, Contag is cautious about the effects of the forthcoming AMX-1 cable being deployed by América Móvil and scheduled for completion in October this year.
“Mexico is very well-served by cross-border connections to the US, as well as some subsea systems. The question is, will Telmex have additional demand from new customers that need non-cross border services to satisfy their needs in Mexico?”
Contag thinks América Móvil is unlikely to sell AMX-1 capacity to competitors, and will use this cable to migrate traffic away from existing systems in which it participates, such as the Columbus system for access to Colombia.
So any move by GlobeNet depends on the time it takes for the capacity freed up on those other systems to be absorbed by the existing and growing market in Mexico. “The market is not going to grow as fast as capacity is growing today. So you may have a glut effect for a while, until that capacity is consumed,” he concludes.
More information about the state of Latin America’s international transport networks can be found in our latest Telecom Intelligence Series, available here.
Roundup: Indotel, IFT, Telcel-WhatsApp – Dominican R., Mexico

Dominican Republic telecom regulator Indotel has launched a public consultation to get input on revisions to quality standards for phone service and internet access.
The public has until the end of September to submit recommendations and comments on the country’s call drop rate, voice services quality, successful SMS and call ratio, data transmission speed and other technical aspects of mobile and data services, Indotel said in a release.
The regulator met with five telcos this year to set quality parameters and indicators, as part of a process to update the country’s 2006 telecom quality standards.
***
Mexican telecom regulator IFT revised its internal bylaws and created several administrative units, following instructions in the new telecom secondary legislation.
The regulator created the IFT studies center, which will research and analyze telecom, broadcasting and economic competition matters; and an office that will design and implement policies and guidelines to protect telecom users, IFT said in a release.
IFT also created a unit that will draft and plan policies to promote freedom of expression and rights of audiences; offices that will manage broadcasting spectrum and oversee strategic planning; and a liaison office to work with international authorities and organizations for project deployment and agreement monitoring.
***
Mexican mobile operator Telcel announced that prepaid users will get free access to messaging application WhatsApp on top-ups of 100 pesos (US$7.64) or more and Facebook messenger and Twitter access on top-ups of at least 200 pesos, Telcel said on its website.
Prepaid users accounted for 86% of Telcel’s subscriber base as of 2Q14.
This week it was reported that WhatsApp is now installed on 600mn handsets in the world. The app has added about 100mn users in four months. In Mexico, WhatsApp is the most popular IM app, used on 88% of smartphones as of 4Q13, according to telecom consultancy the Competitive Intelligence Unit (CIU).
Embratel’s satellite investments to benefit Claro, NET – Regional

New satellite investments by Star One – the satellite subsidiary of Brazilian telco Embratel which is controlled by Mexico’s América Móvil – will benefit sister companies Claro and NET, the company said in a statement.
The company is investing US$721mn in the launch of two new satellites, the US$321mn Star One C4 and the US$400mn Star One D1.
The Star One C4 is now expected to be launched in 2015. Previously, it was estimated to be launched in the fourth quarter of this year. The Star One D1’s launch date remains unchanged for 2016.
According to Embratel, the C4 satellite will operate in the Ku band and principally support the expansion of Claro Brasil’s DTH (satellite pay TV) services, as well as other América Móvil operators in South and Central America.
The Star One D1, in turn, will be Embratel’s largest satellite and will focus on the Ka band – although it is also equipped to operate in the C and Ku bands. It will be focused on Brazil and South and Central America, including Mexico.

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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