|Flow launches 4G LTE on Santa Lucia – Caribbean, Saint Lucia
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) subsidiary Flow Santa Lucia has launched 4G LTE, reports local daily The Star.
The network will be initially be available in Castries, Gros Islet, Vieux Fort and Soufriere with data speeds of up to 69Mbps.
4G LTE is already available in other Flow territories, including Barbados, Cayman, Antigua. St Kitts, British Virgin Islands and Turks & Caicos.
Flow is present in 15 Caribbean territories. CWC is owned by Liberty Global.
Liberty’s CWC operations, which are concentrated in the Caribbean and Central America, grew 1% overall and 3% in the Caribbean in 2Q17, including 15% growth in Jamaica, with most growth coming from mobile and managed services.
Dominican Republic watchdog studies Tricom, Orange merger – Dominican R.
The Dominican Republic’s telecoms regulator Indotel has confirmed it is studying a proposal of Netherlands-based Altice Group to combine its two telecoms operators, Orange Dominicana and Tricom.
Indotel will study whether the proposed merger, in which Tricom would be absorbed completely by Altice, would represent concentration in the mobile telephony or internet markets, and whether any modification to the structure of the telcos would be needed as a result.
Altice agreed in November, 2013 to acquire triple play and mobile operator Tricom from Hispaniola Telecoms Holdings, a company controlled by Amzak Capital Management and Inversiones Bahia, for US$400mn.
The same month, Altice agreed to buy Orange Dominicana from Orange Group for 1.1bn euros (US$1.435bn).
The companies have continued to operate as separate businesses.
At the end of July, the Dominican Republic had a total of 9.92mn fixed and mobile lines of which 8.56mn were mobile.
Claro led with 4.71mn lines followed by Orange (3.38mn), Trilogy (299,201) and Tricom (171,913).
In terms of internet, Claro led with 3.31mn, followed by Orange (2.83mn), and Tricom (204,146).
ICT: The week in 10 stories – Regional
The communications ministry (MTC) approved the entry of a new mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).
The MTC granted domestic telco Cuymobile a license just after the country’s first MVNO, Virgin Mobile, announced it would transfer its operations to Spanish operator Inkacel.
América Móvil has obtained the necessary regulatory approval to begin offering pay-TV services in Argentina starting 2018.
Regulator Enacom said it allowed AMX Argentina and mobile unit Claro to extend their corporate purpose to include audiovisual services via any kind of platform, in addition to mobile, fixed voice and broadband services.
US telco AT&T successfully tested its LTE-M network in the Mexican cities of Puebla and Tijuana during the third quarter of this year. The network is specifically designed for internet of things applications, the company said in a press release.
AT&T deployed its LTE-M network in the US at the beginning of this year and expects to complete a similar deployment in Mexico by year-end. This will be the first IoT-focused network in North America, according to the company. The telco has already succeeded in transferring data between the US and Mexico.
Spain’s Telefónica plans to launch next year its AURA cognitive intelligence platform in six countries, including Chile, Argentina and Brazil, chief data officer Chema Alonso told BNamericas.
The other countries are Spain, the UK and Germany.
The Andean nation plans to switch off analog television in major cities in November 2019.
La Paz, El Alto, Cochabamba, and Santa Cruz will be the first cities to go full digital.
State-run telco Telecomm said 25 companies expressed interest in a tender for the design and operation of a new satellite.
Of the expressions of interests 72% came from international firms.
Mobile network coverage has been restored in most Caribbean markets in the aftermath of the category 5 Hurricane Irma which recently wreaked havoc in the region and southern Florida, according to Caribbean mobile operator Digicel.
Digicel Group communications head Antonia Graham told BNamericas that a fleet of 200 engineers and riggers had been deployed to undertake the required network restoration work.
Some 55% of the world’s LTE data traffic terminates in Latin America, according to a new study by Syniverse.
As much as 70% of global LTE traffic originating in North America has Latin America as the principal destination. North and Latin America also make up 81% of all LTE roaming traffic worldwide.
Seaborn Networks CEO Larry Schwartz tells BNamericas that the developer is moving ahead with the project to expand the recently completed Seabras-1 cable to Argentina, and it may also use it to land in Cape Town.
Earlier this year public investment entity SNIP authorized the final five of 21 regional fiber offshoots that will add some 29,000km to the 13,500km central section deployed in 2015-16. In its latest Telecom Infra Report, BNamericas explores Peru’s backbone roadmap for 2020.
Google sets up Brazil data center – Brazil, Regional
São Paulo became Google’s first Google Cloud Platform (GCP) region in Latin America with the opening on Tuesday of the Southamerica-East1 data center.
The company also added Frankfurt to GCP regions, activating the Europe-West3 site. With these two new sites, the Google Cloud Platform now comprises 12 global regions.
According to Google, setting up the Latin American region increases the speed, performance and flexibility of the platform in Brazil and other regional countries.
The company said Latin American companies will be able to store and process data in Brazil in addition to buying directly from a local entity and being charged in Brazilian reais. No other region offers payment in local currency.
Performance tests showed 80% to 95% latency reduction for customers based in Chile, Argentina and Brazil, compared to any other GCP region, Google said.
Investment figures were not disclosed. Google now has 12 GCP regions, 36 zones, 100 points of presence and over 100,000km of fiber optics cabling worldwide.
The move also puts the company closer to its main cloud rivals. Amazon Web Services activated a São Paulo data center in 2011 and Microsoft followed up in 2014.
In addition to the São Paulo cloud data center, Google maintains since January 2015 a data center in the metropolitan region of Santiago, Chile, its first in Latin America.
How new technologies are shaping media, journalism – Regional
The consolidation of smartphones and the bring-your-own-device trend in corporations in recent years, not to mention the whole internet revolution, has brought significant changes to how traditional telecom and media companies operate.
Now, a host of new and advanced technologies – particularly 5G and artificial intelligence – are set to shape these workplaces even further.
At the 2017 International Broadcasting Conference (IBC), which just ended in Amsterdam, the impact of rising technologies was again discussed on nearly all panels of the conference.
Tim Sargeant, head of product, systems & services at BBC, believes that new technologies have even greater potential than their predecessors to reduce the costly production model. He also argued in favor of “self-streaming” coverage for journalism.
While specific discussions during the conference addressed blockchain and 5G and other talks were more general, a common thread was that most chief technology officers (CTO) agreed that AI will be a key technology for media companies.
Many of them are already using AI in advanced advertising. The CTO of News Corp, Latha Maripuri, said that her staff is looking for ways to further integrate machines with human-supervised learning tools in the ad field.
“Digital advertising is proving to be a very concrete use case for AI, and we’re looking at integrating more supervised machine learning,” she said.
Media corporations are also using AI for customer interactions via virtual assistants, as well as to manage social networks.
Liberty Global CTO Balan Nair said that 15% of Liberty Global’s network resources are now applied in artificial intelligence tools such as voice remotes, and the goal is to raise that level to 50% within the next five years.
“You will see AI in almost every aspect of our operations – 15% is AI now – and it will be 50% in five years,” Nair said.
With respect to 5G, Nair believes the technology has the potential to be a “game changer”, particularly concerning the internet of things and reduction of latency.
However, she does not believe 5G will replace high-speed fixed broadband networks anytime soon, due to scale issues and because the business model and economic feasibility are still not clear.
One of the potential drivers of 5G will be the consumption of live TV on mobile devices and interactivity, which could make it a complementary service for broadcasters and the media.
Another critical issue is storage. Many telecom and media companies are choosing to adopt public cloud services rather than setting up their own private data infrastructure, unless they are part of the same conglomerate as a telecom operator, for example.
This is because it is hard for companies to make investments that can compete with those of giants such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services.