|CWC revenue up as integration of Columbus continues – Caribbean
Mobile operator Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) said revenue grew 4% year-on-year to US$1.18bn over the six-month period ending September 30.
CWC reported strong growth in the Caribbean, with regional Ebita up 22%. Group Ebitda increased 4% to US$427mn.
CWC is in the midst of an integration process, following its acquisition of Columbus International. It has launched the unified Flow brand in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Cayman and St. Kitts and Nevis.
The company said it achieved US$25mn in run-rate cost savings, and anticipates exit run-rate of US$70mn for its 2015/16 fiscal year.
“The team has been doing an excellent job focussing on integration activities, combining our fixed networks, launching our new quad-play brand, and introducing a more efficient organisational model to drive synergies and accountabilities,” said CEO Phil Bentley in a results report.
Bentley also commented on the three-year strategy of the company. “We are pleased with initial progress and expect to deliver a strong second half and full year performance in line with the outlook,” he said.
The three-year plan forecasts annual mid-to-high single-digit growth and run-rate operating cost synergies of US$125mn by March 2018.
Project Marlin is in its second year, with a reported US$265mn in investment focused on fixed network integration, fiber rollout and expanding mobile broadband. From March to September, it registered 6% customer growth, with mobile data subscribers up 38% and broadband users up 7%.
CWC completed its acquisition of Columbus International for US$3.02bn in March.
Sprint inks roaming deal with Cuba’s Etecsa – Cuba
US mobile carrier Sprint signed an agreement with Cuba’s Etecsa to provide roaming services on the island, becoming the first US provider to enter a service contract with the state-owned telco.
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure made the announcement in Havana as part of the US-Cuba Business Council, an advocacy organization within the US Chamber of Commerce.
“As the commercial relationship between the US and Cuba continues to progress, it is expected that the number of travelers to Cuba will increase exponentially,” Claure said.
The provider predicts over 3mn people will visit Cuba this year, with the number growing to 5mn within a decade.
Sprint is the second provider to offer roaming on the island, after Verizon started doing so in September. US-based Telco Cuba, which a few months ago started operating as an MVNO in the US, is planning to launch services on the island later this year.
Tower sale proceeds prop up TIM’s bottom line – Barbados, Brazil
Brazilian telecom operator TIM said the proceeds of a tower sale enabled the company to report profit growth in the third quarter.
The carrier posted net income of 356mn reais (US$95mn) in the period, up 2.3% year-on-year.
Excluding the proceeds of the sale, net income would have been 172mn reais, down 50.5%, the company said.
TIM concluded on September 30 the second tranche of a tower sale to American Tower Corporation (ATC), with a net effect of 266mn reais. The first sales round took place in April.
Organic Ebitda – not taking into account the impact of the tower sale – was 1.30bn reais, down 2.7%. Reported Ebitda was 1.56bn reais, up 17.3% while Ebitda margin was 31.5%, up from 27.4%.
The company attributed the organic performance mainly to a tougher macroeconomic environment, the impact of the regulatory mobile termination rates (MTR) cut and a faster decline in voice services.
TIM said execution of its efficiency plan was on track, with opex (excluding towers sale) down 20% year-on-year. Net financial position remained at 0.46x and net debt was 2.5bn reais, stable from the previous quarter and down 27.5% annually.
Total net revenue was 4.12bn reais, down 15.2%, For the first nine months of the year, total net revenue was 13.1bn reais, down 5.1% year-on-year.
“Revenue performance remains impacted largely by the sharp MTR reduction and faster migration from voice to data services. On the positive side, data services kept growing solidly, in the double digits year-on-year, but not yet sufficient to offset the aforesaid pressure on traditional services,” the company said in an earnings statement.
The Telecommunications Services segment’s revenue was down 6.5% to 3.78bn reais, while Products revenue fell 58.7% to 334mn reais. With respect to the latter, the carrier said handset sales had been impacted by the macroeconomic environment, and by a forex appreciation that drove handset price up, in addition to “adjustments in handset strategy.”
There were silver linings in the quarter: the firm’s postpaid base grew 13% while smartphone penetration reached 63%, compared with 44.2% in 3Q14 (although data users still represent 43% of total base).
Innovative mobile net revenue (VAS revenues excluding SMS revenues) was 1.21bn reais, for 34.1% growth driven principally by higher data usage.
Watchdog growls at Digicel over ad-blocking plan – Caribbean
Caribbean telecom watchdog Ectel warned mobile provider Digicel against implementing ad-blocking technology.
Ectel says such a move would go against the stated principals of net neutrality.
In a letter addressed to the Irish-owned telco, the watchdog says that while it is committed to improving the experience of customers using the internet and increasing penetration for broadband service, it opposes the method proposed by Digicel.
“Service providers should treat all data on the Internet the same, not intercepting, interrupting, blocking, degrading, discriminating or charging differentially, by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, mode of communication or source or destination of communication,” Ectel wrote.
Digicel had announced in September it would deploy ad control technology to improve the customer experience, starting with its Jamaican operations before rolling it out in other Caribbean markets.
Turks and Caicos asset sale weighs on ATN Q3 – Caribbean
The Caribbean revenues of operator Atlantic Tele-Network (ATN) dropped 5% to US$20.4mn in Q3 as a result of the sale of its Turks and Caicos holdings at the beginning of the year.
Overall revenues rose 8% to US$96.8mn, while net income declined to US$6.6mn from US$16.2mn in the year-ago quarter.
“Net income was also impacted by the tax accounting associated with the loss taken earlier this year with the sale of the Turks and Caicos operations,” said CEO Michael Prior during the results conference call.
This year ATN announced the purchase of British Virgin Islands telco Caribbean Assets Holdings for US$145mn, as well as acquiring a controlling interest in KeyTech.