Jamaica requests expressions of interest in spectrum bands – Jamaica

Lime Jamaica’s US$79mn mobile network upgrade gets underway – Jamaica

Motorola Solutions’ new corporate smartphone launched first in Latin America – Regional

Cambium Networks sees growth opportunities in Latin America’s “underconnected” spots – Brazil, Regional

European consolidation update: TEF won’t up TI stake, AMX not bidding for Telekom Austria – Regional


Jamaica requests expressions of interest in spectrum bands – Jamaica

Jamaica’s Spectrum Management Authority (SMA) has invited companies to express their interest in potentially bidding for licenses in the 1800MHz, 1900MHz, 1700/2100MHz and 2.5/2.6GHz bands.

In a statement, the SMA said the “sole purpose of this invitation is to assist the SMA in assessing the interest of prospective applicants,” adding that “the SMA shall not be bound to allocate or assign any spectrum whatsoever or to grant any licenses.”

In October, the SMA was forced to cancel an auction for the 700MHz band after it failed to attract a single bidder, despite high initial levels of interest from 10 countries, including India, China, Ghana, Japan, Canada, Taiwan, Russia and the US.

At the time, Jamaica’s minister of science, technology, energy and mining Phillip Paulwell said he saw the cancellation as “a minor setback.”

“The government’s resolve is undaunted as it relates to the preservation of competition in the telecommunications market, and for creating a knowledge-based society capable of leveraging the cumulative benefits of telecommunications and ICT to achieve global competitiveness,” he said.

In the SMA statement the body referred to the increased demand for wireless broadband and proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other wireless devices as drivers of the need for more spectrum.

Expressions of interest should be sent to the SMA by December 2. The invitation is open to existing concession licensees and potential new entrants.

Existing incumbents should be capable of delivering at least 50% population coverage in 18 months and 90% in 48 months, while new entrants would have to provide 30% population coverage in 24 months and 90% in 60 months.

The invitation is available on the websites of the SMA and the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining at www.sma.gov.jm and www.mstem.gov.jm.


Lime Jamaica’s US$79mn mobile network upgrade gets underway – Jamaica

Telecoms operator Lime Jamaica is upgrading its mobile network to provide broadband speeds of up to 21Mbps in the country with an investment of US$79mn, according to Jamaican daily The Gleaner.

The project, which is also intended to improve voice quality and expand coverage in Jamaica, involves an extensive upgrade to the core of the telco’s mobile network, the installation of new hardware, software upgrades and the upgrading of its cell sites.

The rollout started in October and US$20mn of the funds will be spent within this financial year, which ends March 2014, said the firm, according to the report.

“By the end of 2013, more customers in more places will begin to experience noticeably faster upload and download speeds while using their smartphone or tablet device,” said Lime Jamaica CEO Garfield Sinclair.


Motorola Solutions’ new corporate smartphone launched first in Latin America – Regional

Motorola Solutions chose Latin America as the region for the global launch of its new corporate-focused smartphone, which is tailored specifically to “mobile workers.”

“There’s no major strategy behind this global launch in the region, apart from market demand. The fact is this device is to meet the needs of corporate customers in the region,” Roberto Miele, Motorola Solutions’ channels director for Brazil, told BNamericas.

The Android-based TC55 has been made available this week to all Latin American markets where the company operates, said the executive, adding that it will reach the US market in January.

According to Miele, the smartphone, which the company prefers to brand as a “pocket-computer,” will also be able to run on the Brazilian 4G network in the future, which currently only uses the 2.5GHz band.

Among the key differentials of the product, the company claims it is more resistant than most of its competitors to extreme conditions such as water and falls.

The main industry verticals the company is focusing on are service and retail, both of which tend to have a more mobile workforce.

According to Motorola, the product comes with a 4.3-inch high resolution touchscreen, which is said to be usable even with optical pencils or glove-protected fingers.

Cambium Networks sees growth opportunities in Latin America’s “underconnected” spots – Brazil, Regional

Global wireless broadband solutions provider Cambium Networks sees growth opportunities in reaching “underconnected” areas across Latin America, Michelle Pampin, the firm’s VP of Global Marketing director told BNamericas.

Cambium Networks is a relatively new firm, formed out of a Motorola Solutions spin-off.

It was created in 2011 after Vector Capital reached an agreement to acquire Motorola Solutions’ (NYSE: MSI) point-to-point (PTP or Orthogon) and point-to-multipoint (PMP or Canopy) wireless broadband network businesses.

As part of this strategy, Cambium has just launched its flagship product in Brazil, the ePMP, aimed at boosting network capacity.

The ePMP is a point-to-multipoint (PMP) solution for fixed or wireless access which uses a synchronization system via GPS, thus reportedly making it able to provide broadband connections to remote regions or densely-populated areas with poor connections.

Pampin claimed the company received major interest in the technology from wireless providers and ISPs during the telecoms and IT Futurecom conference, held last month in Rio de Janeiro.

The firm’s business model is all indirect as it operates through partners. In Brazil, Cambium works with three distributors which all already sell the ePMP: CEU, Agora Telecomunicações and Zimitti.

The product is due to be certified by telecoms regulator Anatel, which is expected to take place in about a month.

“This is an ideal solution to expand the network and to develop high quality networks in underserved or unconnected areas which are not only in rural, remote regions, but also on the outskirts of any major city like São Paulo or Rio,” said Pampin.

According to Cambium Networks, Canopy solutions are interference tolerant and provide consistent low latency for video and voice applications, making them ideal for last-mile connectivity.

Pampin said that Cambium expects a 150% expansion in the number of clients in Brazil in the near future, up from the current 120 customers, but did not give a specific timeframe.

Apart from Brazil, Mexico is also a “natural” key market for the company due to its size. “But the fact is that all of Latin America has areas, whether urban or not, where people have poor connectivity. So the opportunities to leverage that are great,” said Pampin.

European consolidation update: TEF won’t up TI stake, AMX not bidding for Telekom Austria – Regional

Leading Latin American telcos América Móvil (NYSE: AMX) and Telefónica (NYSE: TEF) have both aimed to reassure markets regarding their intentions in Europe, with Telefónica telling Italian press that it won’t up its stake further in Telecom Italia (NYSE: TI) and América Móvil saying that it isn’t planning to make a hostile bid for Telekom Austria.

Speculation regarding the Spanish telco’s plans for Telecom Italia has been rife after Telefónica increased its stake in holding Telco to 66%, while Telco in turn holds a 22.4% stake in the Italian operator.

The move was shortly followed by the resignation of Telecom Italia CEO Franco Bernabe – who was pushing for a capital increase to tackle the company’s large debt, rather than selling off assets in Brazil and Argentina – after he reportedly lost the support of Telco.

This led to market speculation that Telefónica was aiming to force Telecom Italia to sell off its assets in Brazil and Argentina, where the Spanish firm also competes.

However, Telecom Italia subsequently announced that it will dispose of its Argentine unit, but will continue to drive growth in Brazilian subsidiary TIM.

Telefónica has now said that it will not exercise an option to increase to 100% its stake in Telco, adding that there are no plans for a merger between the Spanish operator and Telecom Italia, nor between the two companies’ respective Brazilian units Vivo and TIM.

América Móvil has also generated considerable market speculation with its attempt to make a hostile takeover bid of Dutch telco KPN, which recently also agreed to sell its German unit to Telefónica.

That bid eventually fell through as a KPN shareholder foundation blocked the deal, making it unviable for the Mexican operator to achieve a majority stake in KPN.

This led to questions about where América Móvil may look to next to drive expansion in Europe, with Telekom Austria, in which the Mexican firm already has a significant minority stake, an obvious option.

However, América Móvil’s CEO told Austrian press that the firm has no plans to make a hostile takeover bid for Telekom Austria.

América Móvil will remain a stable partner in the Austrian firm, according to CEO Daniel Hajj, who did not specify whether the company would maintain or raise its stake in Telekom Austria.