|Digicel teams with start-up to provide electricity to rural Haiti – Haiti
Haitian start-up Re-Volt has partnered with mobile telecom operator Digicel to provide affordable electricity to families in rural Haiti.
Re-Volt will install a system consisting of a solar panel, a control/power storage unit, lights and a phone charger
Customers are charged a monthly fee of 250 Haitian gourdes (US$5) and can pay for the service through Digicel’s Mon Cash mobile banking platform.
Founded by former Digicel Haiti CEO Maarten Boute, Re-Volt serves over 800 households, or 4,000 people, on the island of La Gonâve, one of Haiti’s most isolated and impoverished communities. Boute said he came up with the idea in the aftermath of Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake.
“The biggest opportunity to grow the business was in rural areas and, as we expanded our network there, we began to realize how much of a problem energy-poverty was,” he said.
Re-Volt recently launched a campaign on crowdfunding site Indiegogo to raise the working capital necessary to grow its customer base on La Gonâve to 2,000 households by January.
Digicel Haiti’s subscriber base has grown from under 2mn customers in 2010 to over 4.5mn in 2014.
Claro deploys Ericsson Radio Dot System in Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico
Claro said it has deployed Latin America’s first commercial LTE site with the Ericsson Radio Dot System to improve indoor cellular connectivity at a hospital and a bank in Puerto Rico.
The indoor small cells solution, which includes 3G and 4G LTE, was deployed at the Salus Hospital and the Popular Bank.
“Around 70% of mobile data traffic is generated indoors, and in hospitals connectivity is critical,” said Elie Hanna, vicepresident for Latin America and the Caribbean at Ericsson.
The indoor implementation consists of Radio Dots and fully integrated mRRUs (micro remote radio units) in a C-RAN configuration sharing the same baseband.
Ericsson Radio Dot is live in 41 operator networks in 34 countries.
Cuba, El Salvador are only LatAm countries with no LTE – Cuba, El Salvador
In terms of LTE evolution in Latin America, two countries stay at the back of the line: El Salvador and Cuba.
“After Nicaragua launched LTE services this year, these two countries are the only ones in the region without an LTE network,” said José Otero, director for Latin America and the Caribbean at consultancy 4G Americas during a webinar organized by the firm to discuss mobile connectivity in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean.
El Salvador has plans to deploy this technology in the next few years, with Digicel having invested US$60mn in its 4G network, although there is no set launch date just yet.
Cuba, after years of underdevelopment in the telecom sector, is finally opening up to foreign investment. After the US announced the rekindling of relationships with the island, expressions of interest have been pouring in for the launch of operations in Cuba.
However, for Cuba to see the development of a fully-fledged telecom industry, the US needs to abolish legislation that punishes both US and international companies for doing business on the island.
LTE subscriptions in Latin America and the Caribbean could reach 29mn by the end of the year and 259mn in 2020, 4G Americas reported, citing data from consultancy Ovum.
The Spanish-speaking nations, including Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, are expected to make up 60% of total LTE subscriptions in the Caribbean by 2020.
América Móvil eyes lower capex in 2016 – Regional
América Móvil expects investment to slowdown in 2016 as the company ends a five-year cycle in which it invested US$50bn in Latin America, CFO Carlos García Moreno told a conference call with investors.
The company invested an average of US$10bn per year for the past five years and US$11bn in 2015 after picking up spectrum in Argentina, he added.
CEO Daniel Hajj said that the company is now well positioned in the region in infrastructure, especially in key countries like Brazil, and that the company is reviewing its needs and renegotiating with suppliers.
“América Móvil has been doing well in Brazil and next year we can see more on integration of infrastructure and cost cutting. We’re well positioned in Brazil even though the economy is not looking good for next year,” Hajj said.
He added that, given forex volatility, the company has not decided on 2016 capex, as some of it would be in dollars and some in local currency. In terms of variable capex, it would be lower than previous years and under US$10bn in dollar terms.
América Móvil announced this week that it will carry out the first 5G systems test in Latin America in Brazil in 2016 with Swedish equipment manufacturer Ericsson.
Hajj said that the company was well aware of speculation about the future of certain competitors such as Oi and Nextel in Brazil. “If something comes up we’re always interested,” he said. “But América Móvil is in a very good position in Brazil at the moment.”
The same goes for other growth areas like Central America and the Caribbean, where the company doesn’t have as much penetration. Hajj said the focus is on implementing quadruple play in all operations across Latin America.
POSTPAID GROWTH STRATEGY
Overall, América Móvil has been moving slowly away from its traditional subscriber base of prepaid clients to more profitable users. In Brazil, the postpaid subscriber base rose 6% year-on-year in Q3 and the company disconnected 1mn prepaid subscribers in the quarter.
In Mexico, the company gained 361,000 new mobile subscribers, of which nearly all were postpaid.
Despite the fact that smartphones have become more expensive in local currency terms due to the strong dollar, Hajj said the company was not returning to the handset subsidy model of the past and that customers were becoming receptive to different financing options instead.
Hajj said the company is not concerned with the increasing competition in Mexico with the entrance of AT&T and the fact that the company has had to reduce its market share to meet with local regulations that deemed the company as a preponderant player.
The executive said the company is not afraid to “sell customers” to MVNOs to reduce its market share and focus on value-added offerings. He added that the company is optimistic it will soon be granted a pay TV license that would enable it to offer quadruple-play services.
How Mexico can connect to the future – Honduras, Mexico
Two years after the approval of Mexico’s telecoms reform, a new competitive landscape is taking shape in an industry facing major changes in technology and business models all around the world.
BNamericas will hold its 4th Mexico Internet of Things & Telecom Summit in Mexico City on November 10-11 at The Westin Santa Fe Mexico City hotel, an event that will focus on analyzing and discussing key sector topics.
The agenda includes panels on Mexico’s telecoms reform and its challenges (with AT&T´s Cristina Ruiz de Velasco, Telefónica´s Miguel Calderón and América Movil´s Daniel Bernal), on the Internet of Things (with Alestra´s Adrián Cuadros, GSMA´s Marco Antonio Galván and IDC´s Edgar Fiero), as well as two roundtables to discuss the state of satellite infrastructure and the need for more investments in infrastructure.
Click here to download the full agenda
Click here to see some of the key speakers
BNamerica´s team of reporters, editors and analysts delivers daily insights of major events happening in the IT and Telecoms industry, from spectrum auctions to deep analysis on significant trends.
Take a look at some of the latest news, analysis and interviews produced by BNamericas´ team:
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