CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNamericas: 09/24/13

CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNamericas: 09/24/13

  • Puerto Rico granted US$1.4mn for broadband network – Puerto Rico
  • Digicel Jamaica launches fixed line services – Jamaica
  • Roundup: SES, ICE, Digicel, TV channel – Caribbean, Costa Rica
  • Latin America to be 2nd fastest growing region in Diameter signaling, says Oracle – Regional
  • Tigo leading the charge in Latin American m-banking, says TMG Telecom – Regional

 

 Puerto Rico granted US$1.4mn for broadband network – Puerto Rico

The US commerce department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has awarded a US$1.4mn grant to Puerto Rico to help with planning for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), NTIA said on its website.

Puerto Rico is required to provide a matching contribution of at least 20%, according to the NTIA.

The funds will be used to update’s Puerto Rico’s Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan to include goals and initiatives related to public safety broadband, according to press reports.

 Digicel Jamaica launches fixed line services – Jamaica

Caribbean mobile operator Digicel has launched consumer fixed line services in Jamaica, the company said in a statement.

The service, called DigiHome, follows the recent announcement made by Digicel’s CEO Barry O’Brien to move into that market to challenge LIME’s dominance.

O’Brien said earlier this year that Digicel had recruited 100 new staff at its customer service center and invested J$300mn (US$2.95mn) in launching the new service.

DigiHome is a postpaid service that is billed per second and uses a wireless unit installed in the home to deliver voice and data services.

 Roundup: SES, ICE, Digicel, TV channel – Caribbean, Costa Rica

Satellite operator SES and KVH Industries (Nasdaq: KVHI), a manufacturer of maritime communications solutions, have signed an expanded capacity agreement to connect luxury, government and commercial ships across the Caribbean, SES said in a statement.

The multi-year deal includes the use of a 36MHz Ku-band transponder aboard SES’ AMC-21 satellite by KVH to provide high-speed internet access and voice over IP services over its mini-VSAT broadband network. The services will be available to vessels traveling across the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and coastal waters off the US Eastern Seaboard.

***

Costa Rican state power and telecoms holding ICE has launched a series of mobile broadband plans for prepaid customers, ICE said in a statement.

ICE provides mobile broadband services through its kölbi brand.

***

Digicel Business, a division of Caribbean mobile operator Digicel, has launched a portfolio of cloud-based services, the telco said in a statement.

The company’s portfolio now includes solutions from Microsoft, Citrix and Cisco, Digicel said.

Within the cloud solutions portfolio, Digicel’s “Desktop as a Service” is a scalable service that allows clients to use a cloud-hosted desktop environment to deliver business applications, including Microsoft Office, across multiple devices.

***

Spanish publishing group ¡Hola! has partnered with compatriot broadcaster Atresmedia to launch a pay TV channel for Latin America and the US, international press reported.

The joint venture will begin broadcasting in the coming weeks, according to the report. The TV channel will be produced and broadcasted from Miami.

 Latin America to be 2nd fastest growing region in Diameter signaling, says Oracle – Regional

Latin America will be the second fastest growing region in terms of LTE Diameter signaling by 2017, driven by the roll-out of LTE networks and increasingly innovative services deployed by operators to get more out of their broadband networks, Joanne Steinberg, director of product marketing for Oracle Communications, told BNamericas.

Oracle Communication released a study on Tuesday forecasting that by 2017, worldwide LTE Diameter traffic will see a 140% CAGR from 1.2mn messages per second (MPS) in 2012 to 99mn in 2017.

Diameter is the signaling protocol used to coordinate activity between IP network elements such as policy servers, online charging and mobile gateways.

Today, with the multiple services available for consumers such as applications and standard monthly data contracts as well as day-pass data services, this creates a lot of messages that need to be sent to and from charging systems and subscriber databases.

“We’re almost snacking on data. Some of our data usage might be sponsored by a third party like a bank – that puts a lot of pressure on real time charging, that’s really been driving a lot of this growth. The legacy charging systems can’t handle that kind of dynamism,” said Steinberg.

North American Diameter volumes remain the world’s largest given the level of penetration of LTE networks which is currently at 56% and will reach almost 43mn MPS by 2017, growing at a 127% CAGR.

However, EMEA and Latin America are the regions that will see the largest levels of growth over the forecast period growing at a CAGR of 224% and 218% respectively.

Latin America’s LTE penetration rate was the lowest of the four regional blocs studied – North America, Latin America, EMEA and Japan and Asia Pacific (JAPAC- projected to reach only 8% by 2017, which gives it the most room to grow).

Brazil is the exception as LTE deployments plans have been accelerated given the country’s need to prepare for hosting the World Cup and Olympic Games in 2014 and 2016 respectively.

A LOT OF INNOVATION

According to Steinberg, with a forecast of 2.8mn MPS for 2017, Latin America will have less Diameter traffic than other regions. However there is still a lot of Diameter traffic occurring on 3G networks.

This is generated by the service innovation on the part of the operators, which is affecting their policy systems – which are the set of conditions, constraints, and settings that allow you to designate who is authorized to connect to the network – and charging systems.

“I think Latin America is one of the most innovative markets in the world right now. We have customers doing all sorts of application based plans. They’re launching over the top (OTT) applications, mobile advertising that subsidizes mobile data use, machine to machine services,” Steinberg said.

According to the executive, operators in emerging markets like Latin America have had to be more innovative given the lower ARPU.

“They have to find more innovative models to subsidize data usage to try to get people to try new things,” she said.

“I think because there are so many prepaid customers and they can switch so easily from one operator to another, the operators have to do more to keep those customers with them,” Steinberg added.

 Tigo leading the charge in Latin American m-banking, says TMG Telecom – Regional

Mobile operator Tigo, owned by Luxembourg-based telco Millicom (Nasdaq: MICC), has stepped to the fore when it comes to m-banking services in Latin America, Janet Hernández, president of Washington DC-based ICT consultancy TMG Telecom, told BNamericas.

“Tigo is interesting in that they have the experience of Africa, and they have an interesting dynamic of having dealt with a region that’s quite active in banking. Now they’re rolling out Tigo Money in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia,” she said. “I think they’re definitely a leader in Latin America, particularly in targeting the unbanked.”

In the case of Colombia, where the operator joined with Banco Davivienda to launch m-banking service DaviPlata, “it’s considered one of the best, the most successful in banking services,” Hernández noted.

M-banking in Latin America is used mostly for transfers and remittances, as well as for recharging and bill payments, she added, while “DaviPlata is used for a variety of services.”

In Paraguay Tigo’s financial services reach a penetration rate of 28% of its total subscriber base, with nearly 1.1mn of Tigo’s subscribers having made at least one mobile payment transaction, BNamericas reported previously.

To read the full interview with Hernández, see this week’s Telecom Perspectives, for subscribers only.