CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNamericas 12/25/15
|Roundup: CWC, Digicel El Salvador, St. Kitts & Nevis – Regional
C&W Business, the corporate service of operator Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), was named 2015 Central American and Caribbean Company of the Year by consultancy firm Frost & Sullivan.
The company received the award for its dedication to innovation and data communications.
“C&W Business has many processes that operate concurrently in order to continuously unearth customers’ unmet or underserved needs and design relevant products,” read the report.
Digicel El Salvador is providing its customers with free smartwatches once they purchase a post-paid plan of up to US$15 per month. These plans also include twice the amount of data for mobile internet traffic.
Digicel also offers free smartwatches with the purchase of a US$99.99 smartphone.
Digicel announced that it is going to expand its advertising blocking strategy to St. Kitts and Nevis, although this time it will give its users the option to activate online ads if they so choose.
The service is designed to help users protect their data plan and mobile expenses, reported SKN Vibes. Digicel argues that ads use up to 10% of data plans.
Caribbean telecom watchdog Ectel warned Digicel against implementing ad-blocking technology back in November, saying that such a move would go against the stated principals of net neutrality.
Bermuda leads Americas in internet penetration – Caribbean
Bermuda leads the Americas in internet penetration, with a rate at 98.0%, surpassing Canada and the United States.
Next up on the list are other Caribbean nations, such as Antigua and Barbuda (89.7%), the Cayman Islands (79.4%), Aruba (79.2%) and Barbados (78.5%), according to data from reference website Internet Live Stats, cited by José Otero, director for Latin America and the Caribbean at 4G Americas, on his personal website.
The other end of the list is also occupied by a Caribbean island – Haiti, which has 11.64% internet penetration. Just above it are several Central American countries, including Nicaragua (14.45%), Guatemala (17.13%), Honduras (19.40%), Belize (26.77%) and El Salvador (27.30%), while Cuba stands just above them at 27.45%.
At the end of 2014, Latin America and the Caribbean accounted for 9.9% of the total number of internet users in the world, according to Internet Live Stats.
“This amount makes us think that internet adoption levels in the region are positive, since these markets only have 8.61% of the world’s total population,” Otero wrote.
Digicel to deploy broadband for Barbados government – Barbados
Caribbean operator Digicel won a tender to deploy broadband and a WAN network for the Barbados government, a contract valued at US$2.4mn.
The network will deliver broadband, fixed telephony and business applications throughout the island. Ministries, including the country’s telecom unit, will be served by the network.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said this was a giant step forward in the direction of e-government.
“When other departments become connected, the [WAN] solution will observe savings of up to 53%,” he was reported as saying by SKNVibes.
The new operating efficiency means that every government agency connected to the WAN will be able to transmit data up to 100 times faster than before, “so this is a spectacular leap for Barbados in becoming a knowledge-based economy and we salute the Government for aptly leading this transformation,” said Digicel general manager Martin Keogh.
Digicel Business has also been busy rolling out fiber optic on the island, just as it is planning to do in Jamaica with its US$100mn FTTH band.
Ericsson, Apple ink patent deal, settle legal dispute – Regional
The agreement will also resolve a pending patent-infringement dispute that has been ongoing since 2012.
Although the specifics of the amount of Ericsson would receive under the seven-year agreement were not disclosed, the Swedish company said that Apple would make an initial payment to Ericsson and, thereafter, pay ongoing royalties.”
Investment bank ABG Sundal Collier said in a note to clients that it believed the deal meant Apple would be charged around 0.5% of its revenue on iPads and iPhones by Ericsson.
In terms of the patent dispute, Ericsson owns patents that are essential to LTE 4G technology, as well as older UMTS and GSM cellular technologies.
Back in January, Apple took Ericsson to court claiming its patent fees were too high. Ericsson countersued and tried to get the US International Trade Commission to halt iPhone sales in the US.
With the new agreement, both companies plan to collaborate in multiple technology areas, including the development of 5G and optimizing wireless networks and video traffic.
Costa Rica kicks off 70MHz auction – Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s telecoms ministry Micitt has kicked off the auction for the 70MHz frequencies that are yet to be awarded from 2011. Watchdog Sutel will be in charge of managing the concession.
Claro and Telefónica are expected to submit bids but state-owned telco ICE will not enter the race because it does not need any more spectrum, deputy telecoms minister Emilio Arias was reported as saying by El Financiero.
Arias said that the concession is intended to enable higher service quality and that a new concession could be awarded when the 900MHz band is freed as a result of the transition to digital TV.
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