Regional policies could boost internet use in Caribbean – NGO – Caribbean
Cuba blocks SMS from foreign applications – Cuba
Dominican Republic to begin digital switchover in 2019 – Dominican R.
Sigfox and Telefónica strike global deal to offer IoT services worldwide – Regional
Big data to become new revenue generator for LatAm telcos – Regional

Regional policies could boost internet use in Caribbean – NGO – Caribbean
The Caribbean region has made advances in increasing internet penetration, yet internet use remains low, according to NGO the Internet Society. The organization thus called for individual and regional efforts to boost internet adoption in the region.
The organization published a study called “Unleashing the Internet in the Caribbean: Removing Barriers to Connectivity and Stimulating Better Access in the Region”, which focused on 11 countries and territories.
The Internet Society underscored that the geographic and economic conditions of Caribbean countries pose greater connectivity challenges than for mainland nations.
The study indicated that most countries in the sample have at least two submarine cable systems providing connectivity. Although 2G networks cover most of the population, newer 3G and 4G LTE technologies are being deployed in the region.
Internet use varies considerably in the Caribbean, reflecting varying levels of economic development between countries. For instance, 1% of Haiti’s population used the internet in 2014 compared to almost 80% in Barbados and the Bahamas.
The density of fixed broadband subscribers is generally low, ranging from less than four subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in the Bahamas to almost 27 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in Barbados in 2014.
Nonetheless, the Internet Society said rapid adoption and use of mobile phones in the region is likely to substantially increase internet adoption and use in the short and medium terms. The increasing popularity of mobile phones has been fueled by aggressive promotion of broadband services by mobile operators and increasing deployment of public Wi-Fi networks.
The Internet Society recognized the Caribbean’s efforts to increase internet penetration in recent years. However, Kathy Brown, the organization’s CEO and president, said governments have been more reactive than proactive in nurturing the development of the internet to meet their countries’ needs.
As a result, the policy environments required to enable the development and use of internet infrastructure are underdeveloped in most countries and still oriented toward the promotion of basic voice communications.
The Internet Society recommended forward-looking policies and regulatory frameworks focused on developing the internet and ICT both in individual countries and across the region as a whole. The organization said the development of relevant content, particularly e-government initiatives, would also help drive demand.

Cuba blocks SMS from foreign applications – Cuba

Cuba’s state-run telco Etecsa blocked incoming SMS from foreign online messaging platforms, local press reported.
The telco adopted this measure in order to counter the impact of allegedly fraudulent companies that are costing Etecsa an estimated US$6mn per year.
An anonymous Etecsa source told daily Cubanet that the objective behind the telco’s actions is to eliminate any third-party business that uses its network without permission. The main target of Etecsa’s stringent measure is Cuballama, a website that provides voice and messaging services from the US to Cuba. However, other applications will also be affected.
Such websites allowed users to counter the high prices of Etecsa’s international SMS communications, which cost US$0.60 per text message. For instance, Miami-based platform DimeCuba charges US$0.05 per SMS sent to Cuba, according to Miami-based Spanish language daily El Nuevo Herald.
Text messages sent through traditional operators that have agreements with Etecsa are not blocked, and users with subscriptions to the major operators in the US will continue being able to send short text messages to Cuba. Confirmation messages from applications such as IMO and Facebook are also still working at present.

Dominican Republic to begin digital switchover in 2019 – Dominican R.
The transition to digital TV signal in the Dominican Republic has been delayed for over a year and telecom regulator Indotel is now seeking to begin the process in 2019.
The country was supposed to begin the digital switchover in 2015, but this did not happen due to a lack of preparation, according to José del Castillo Saviñón, president of Indotel.
Indotel’s digital TV commission recommended transitioning to digital TV signal in 2018 in order to reap the benefits as soon as possible, but the switchover was delayed until 2021. Now Indotel is working to move the implementation period to 2019 as long as the executive branch of government approves.
It is natural for the Indotel to want to get started as soon as possible, as the switchover would free up 107MHz in the 700Mhz band, which could bring in US$100-150mn from spectrum tenders in that band, reported daily Diario Libre.
Del Castillo Saviñón said the spectrum in the 700MHz band would be tendered as part of a spectrum package aimed at luring a new mobile operator into the Dominican market, as this band allows for the deployment of networks at affordable costs.
A pending matter in the digital switchover involves of selecting the digital TV technical standard to be used in the Dominican Republic. The authorities are currently reviewing the US technical standard (ATSC), which was included in the 2010 decree that mandated the country’s transition to digital TV signal.

Sigfox and Telefónica strike global deal to offer IoT services worldwide – Regional
By Sigfox
LABÈGE, France, February 22, 2017 – Sigfox, the world’s leading provider of connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT), and Telefónica, one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies and industry recognized IoT leader, announced today that they have struck a global deal to integrate Sigfox’s low-powered connectivity into the operator’s managed connectivity platform.
The deal is set to accelerate IoT innovation in the market. By complementing Telefónica’s cellular connectivity offerings, with Sigfox’s connectivity solution, its customers can benefit from the best of both worlds when developing new IoT solutions. Depending on their needs, they can choose the most appropriate type of connectivity or combine them, implementing use cases and creating new service opportunities that otherwise may not have been possible.
From day one, the Sigfox network has been designed for the “mass IoT” market, defined by simple use cases requiring low data exchanges and enabling years-to-decades of battery life for connected devices. With its unique network approach, Sigfox combines simplicity, predictable low energy consumption, ultra-low cost, and seamless connectivity. The benefits of having both Sigfox and cellular based technologies in the same IoT devices offer additional security, reliability (backup and troubleshooting) and anti-jamming.
Additionally, Telefónica´s managed connectivity platform will integrate Sigfox’s cloud, which gives the company the ability to develop its own end-to-end IoT solutions, based on Sigfox’s connectivity solution and including device integration, as well as data collection and management.
In the asset-tracking and smart-metering industries for example, the two companies are already in positive discussions with customers to deliver mass IoT rollouts across Europe and Latin America in 2017, including countries in Telefónica´s footprint such as Spain, Germany, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Brazil, and others like the US and France. WND, Sigfox’s partner in Latin America has already started discussions with local Telefónica entities in the region.
Commenting on this deal, Ludovic Le Moan, CEO of Sigfox, said, “We are honoured to have reached this agreement with Telefónica. It is a true testament to the mass IoT opportunity, which is already a reality today. Existing customers are already developing new use cases based on our combined value proposals, with cellular and Sigfox’s connectivity working seamlessly to provide powerful IoT use cases.”
The deal, set for several millions of connections, is part of Telefónica’s global strategy regarding LPWA, relying on licensed technology as NB-IOT and LTE-M, and non-licensed technology such as SIGFOX, adopting the most appropriate technology to the use case and customer needs.
Andres Escribano, New IoT Connectivity Business Director at Telefónica, added, “The simplicity of Sigfox’s connectivity solution and its global IoT ecosystem are a great complement to our IoT connectivity technologies and our LPWA strategy. Together, we are more able to help our customers capitalise upon the great IoT opportunity and conquer new markets.”

Big data to become new revenue generator for LatAm telcos – Regional

By Frost & Sullivan
SÃO PAULO, Feb. 21, 2017 – Despite a decline in traditional services value in the Latin American Telecommunications (telcos) market, big data could act as a transformation enabler, sparking new growth opportunities across the region. Currently, telco providers are cautiously adopting big data to improve their customer experience and relationships. The next phase will be to reshape their businesses with predictive analytics, next-generation applications and advanced use-case complexity, followed by monetizing strategies such as selling data to end users.
“Big Data could offer vast business and revenue-generating opportunities. Data from users, services, networks, locations, and management sources could be monetized through product promotion, targeted advertisement, up-sales, quality of experience (QoE) and network optimization,” said Frost & Sullivan Digital Transformation Industry Analyst Carina Gonçalves.
Big Data Telecommunications Market Evolution in Latin America is part of Frost & Sullivan’s Mobile & Wireless Communications Growth Partnership Subscription. The total capital expenditure (CAPEX) of Big Data telco services in the Latin American market reached $633.3 million in 2016. The investment is expected to reach $1.779.2 million in 2022, led by Brazil and Mexico. The study provides insights into Big Data developments among the main telco providers in Latin America, identifying structure, usage and investments. Geographic coverage includes Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.
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Due to a lack of knowledge there is resistance from some businesses to adopt big data. Effectively setting the value that big data will extract and justifying return on investment with incremental profit impact are difficult. The governance and struggle to define the focus of Big Data initiatives are restraining Big Data implementation in this region. Other restraints impacting the market include:
Telcos need to rapidly implement new applications to drive market evolution; however, a lack of a qualified workforce is slowing this process.
Security and privacy are constant concerns, especially around the absence of data-sharing policies regarding privacy and promotion of ethical and safe use of data.
Dealing with large, complex organizations with multiple vendor systems and integrating all data and sources is time consuming and challenging.
Poor algorithms were applied to new use cases; therefore, telcos are developing their own Big Data solutions, using vendors for technological support only.
“Telcos are struggling to monetize over-the-top, value-added, and cloud services. Additionally, traditional connectivity and capacity are declining. Network performance aligned with telco business targets and combining insights across services will be critical to success,” noted Gonçalves.
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