CANTO Weekly Newsletter- BNamericas 09/30/16

CANTO Weekly Newsletter- BNamericas 09/30/16

UTS, TelEm Group get serious about Caribbean merger – Caribbean
Barbados awaiting news on mobile LTE – Barbados
Trinidad and Tobago’s challenges in going fully digital – Trinidad & Tobago
Telefónica, Vivendi partner to offer premium content to LatAm mobile subs – Regional
GSMA recommends ‘permisionless innovation’ in LatAm – Regiona
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UTS, TelEm Group get serious about Caribbean merger – Caribbean
The shareholders of Curacao-based United Telecommunications Services (UTS) have agreed to hold talks with St Maarten’s TelEm Group about the two companies partnering and merging, reported St Maarten newspaper The Daily Herald.
William Marlin, prime minister of St Maarten, who admitted to halting a planned sale of TelEm Group, said the intention is to create a solid and strong company for the Netherlands Antilles nations.
Minister Marlin said once the process is complete, TelEm will have a majority 60% stake, while UTS will hold the remaining 40%. The parties will then determine whether it is still necessary to “bring in bigger partner from outside” or whether TelEm and UTS would be able to move forward and offer better services.
UTS has stated that finding a strategic partner is a matter of survival. According to Paul de Geus, CEO of UTS, this should be one of the priorities of the new government to be installed after Curacao’s election next week.
“People are calling less and making more use of the internet. What we receive for our internet services is a lot less than our income for calls. New companies are doing business with a lot less cost than us,” De Geus was quoted as saying by the daily.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the TelEm Group is currently wholly-owned by the St Maarten government, while UTS is co-owned by the governments of Curacao and St Maarten, which hold with 87.5% and 12.5%, respectively.
Recently, Chinese telecom equipment supplier Huawei agreed to provide its Cloud BB Solution to UTS to help the telco build an LTE-Advanced network.

Barbados awaiting news on mobile LTE – Barbados
Barbados is implementing a number of initiatives aimed at moving its ICT program forward, and announcements on the LTE network should be expected soon, said the telecom minister, senator Darcy Boyce.
Measures include a broadband strategy, developing a universal service fund, and expanding work on cybersecurity.
“Work will also start on the implementation of local number portability, and steps are being taken to upgrade parts of the telecommunications act and other legislation pertinent to ICT,” said Boyce during the ICT Barbados Conference.
Boye stressed cooperation among the different government departments involved in these various initiatives, and noted that Barbados is also collaborating with the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) and Caricom member countries.
The senator suggested that there was a special role for the CTU and Caricom in facilitating the implementation of ICT initiatives around the region.
“Through that cooperation, we are making good progress on optimizing our spectrum management, for example. And, we will soon make some important announcements for LTE services by all mobile carriers in the country,” said Boyce.
Barbados has the fastest public Wi-Fi speed in the Americas.

Trinidad and Tobago’s challenges in going fully digital – Trinidad & Tobago
In spite of Trinidad and Tobago’s increasing internet penetration, citizen participation in e-government and e-business remains low, according to Caribbean telecom association Canto.
The broadband infrastructure inventory and public awareness in the Caribbean report indicated that broadband penetration in the country moved from 22% of the population using the internet in 2002 to 65.1% in 2014. In addition, more than half of households have broadband access.
In line with the Latin America and the Caribbean trend, mobile exceeds fixed broadband penetration, with mobile penetration levels of 18% and fixed broadband penetration of 14.6%.
The report said telecom prices in Trinidad and Tobago are among the lowest in the region. The percentage of monthly income spent on 2Mbps broadband service in 2013 was around 3%.
On the down side, it said there is a gap in e-government and e-commerce participation. Obstacles include the high costs of e-payment platforms and a lack of know-how from business and consumers, banks not facilitating e-business efforts.
The report added that the telecommunications law, which is technology neutral and largely addresses next generation networks, needs secondary regulations.
A data protection law had not been approved at the time the research was being conducted. “This is a critical piece of legislation for a society participating in e-commerce and online transactions,” the report underlined.
The objectives set in the national ICT plan will hardly be met without sufficient citizen participation despite penetration levels, it added, suggesting quantifiable targets for penetration metrics that would guide the actions needed to push the country into a full digital society.

Telefónica, Vivendi partner to offer premium content to LatAm mobile subs – Regional
Press release
By Telefónica
September 28, 2016
Telefónica today announces a partnership with Vivendi that sees the company offering customers in Latin America two innovative mobile entertainment services: WatchMusic, a premium immersive music video platform, and STUDIO +, the first global short premium series offer and app.
The agreement comes into effect in markets across Latin America with the launch in early October of WatchMusic in Brazil through Vivo followed by other markets in the region over the coming weeks. WatchMusic is a new premium music video service optimised for mobile devices and also available across multiple platforms. WatchMusic focuses on delivering an immersive video experience for fans.
In addition to unlimited access to a large catalogue of music videos, entire concerts and festivals, the service provides the best live streaming experience as well as unique original content such as the “WatchMusic Moments” with the highlights from a music festival. The service also provides a new generation of video playlists and includes special features such audio-only listening and offline modes.
STUDIO+ is a premium mobile short series offer and app with addictive exclusive content specifically shot for mobile viewing. The original programme line-up will be unveiled at launch in the coming weeks.
Dominique Delport, Chairman of Vivendi Content, said: “We are very happy and proud that Telefónica has chosen to be the first telecom partner to launch the new Studio+ and WatchMusic services designed by the Vivendi development teams across Latin America. Vivendi and Telefonica share the same view that compelling content and innovative formats will meet the expectations of new audiences. There is still a lack of premium content designed for mobile customers. We hope with this worldwide premiere to provide an immersive and addictive experience that we intend to roll out globally in the next months”.
“We are delighted to bring Vivendi’s premium mobile entertainment content to our customers. We’ve seen a mobile first mind-set that confirms the smartphone is the most favoured way to access internet experiences for most of our millions of mobile customers worldwide”, said Michael Duncan, Telefónica Group CEO of the Consumer Unit. “Both WatchMusic and Studio+ meet the needs and expectations of today’s digital consumer and it is our aim to offer our customers the very best in digital services”.
The two new services will be delivered ad-free through the Movistar and Vivo brands in the region on a Buy and Try basis. A customer can subscribe for a week or a month’s trial with the option of cancelling hassle-free within that time to stop the service from rolling over onto the next billing period, if they decide the product is not for them. Prices and specific content for each country will be announced in due course.
About Telefónica:
Telefónica is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world by market capitalization and number of customers with a comprehensive offering and quality of connectivity that is delivered over world class fixed, mobile and broadband networks. As a growing company it prides itself on providing a differential experience based both on its corporate values and a public position that defends customer interests.
The company has a significant presence in 21 countries and 347 million accesses around the world. Telefónica has a strong presence in Spain, Europe and Latin America, where the company focuses an important part of its growth strategy.
Telefónica is a 100% listed company, with more than 1.5 million direct shareholders. Its share capital currently comprises 4,975,199,197 ordinary shares traded on the Spanish Stock Market and on those in London, New York, Lima, and Buenos Aires.
About Vivendi:
Vivendi is an integrated media and content group. The company operates businesses throughout the media value chain, from talent discovery to the creation, production and distribution of content. The main subsidiaries of Vivendi comprise Canal+ Group and Universal Music Group. Canal+ is the leading pay-TV operator in France, and also serves markets in Africa, Poland and Vietnam. Canal+ operations include Studiocanal, a leading European player in production, sales and distribution of film and TV series. Universal Music Group is the world leader in recorded music, music publishing and merchandising, with more than 50 labels covering all genres. A separate division, Vivendi Village, brings together Vivendi Ticketing (ticketing in the UK, the U.S and France), MyBestPro (experts counseling), Watchever (subscription video-on-demand), Radionomy (digital radio), the L’Olympia and the Theâtre de L’Oeuvre venues in Paris, the CanalOlympia venues in Africa and Olympia Production. With 3.5 billion videos viewed each month, Dailymotion is one of the biggest video content aggregation and distribution platforms in the world. Gameloft is a worldwide leading video game publisher on mobile, with two million games downloaded per day.

GSMA recommends ‘permisionless innovation’ in LatAm – Regional
Policymakers cannot keep up with the speed of innovation and technological change, and regulations need to be more flexible in order to cover existing and future players in the industry, according to the GSM Association.
While digital markets are dynamic, existing regulations tend to be static and prescriptive, focusing on the present and recent past, according to the GSMA report The Mobile Economy, Latin America and the Caribbean 2016.
The emergence of the 5G network, virtual and augmented reality, ubiquitous computing, big data, and network integration will disrupt existing industries, urging regulators to move in advance, as sustained growth in the digital ecosystem requires the right regulations.
Based on a study by economic consulting firm Nera, GSMA recommends a principles-based, technology-neutral framework that will foster innovation and investments.
The legacy framework in Latin America and the Caribbean regulates access to termination and roaming, and mandates resale of voice and wireless services under telecom specific standards. A new framework, according to the GSMA report, would reassess access regulations under generic standards applicable to all digital players.
The current framework requires approval before a new business or technology is deployed. GSMA recommends “permissionless innovation” that is subject to consumer protection and antitrust regulations.
As for spectrum management, the report calls to move from technology-specific licenses and the obligations they impose on concessionaires to flexible spectrum rights with symmetric obligations and general regulations.
The report acknowledged Argentina, which has a committee dedicated to examining telecom and media regulations to produce new, updated, future-proof regulations that are aligned with converged ICT services.

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