CANTO Weekly Newsletter- BNamericas
Thursday, January 18, 2018
FCC accelerates 600MHz migration to aid hurricane recovery – Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed plans to accelerate the frequency reassignment timetable for the 600MHz spectrum band, auctioned last year, to help both mobile operators and TV broadcasters in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands recover from the devastating Hurricane Maria.
The watchdog granted a request from T-Mobile to speed up the transfer of 50MHz of 600MHz spectrum in Puerto Rico it won from TV broadcasters.
Under the original timetable, broadcasters were due to vacate the spectrum in two phases (phase-3 and phase-10) with scheduled completion dates of June 21, 2019 and July 3, 2020 respectively, according to the GSMA’s Mobile World Live report.
However, the FCC granted the TV stations permission to transition to their assigned post-auction spectrum as early as September 14 this year.
“The bottom line is that residents of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands will be able to access emergency communications and other valuable broadcast content sooner as a result of this decision,” FCC chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement.
“The repack of Puerto Rico TV stations has been accelerated, which means we can deploy our 600MHz spectrum much faster than planned, bringing improved broadband LTE coverage to PR!” T-Mobile’s CTO Neville Ray said in a twitter post.
T-Mobile switched on its first 600MHz LTE network in Wyoming last August and went on to cover 586 US towns and cities by year-end, reports Telegeography.
Hurricane Maria wiped out 95% of Puerto Rican cell sites last September and operators are still recovering.
In its most recent update, published January 12, the FCC said that 9.0% of mobile cell sites in Puerto Rio are still out of service, down from 10.2% on January 10, while in the US Virgin Islands 11% of sites are still out of service, down from 13.7%.
In both US territories, cable and wireline service is still largely unavailable due to commercial power still being out in many areas.
Fortinet provides Dominican Rep with cybersecurity equipment – Dominican R.
The donation is part of a collaboration agreement between the cybersecurity firm and the regulator, which also involves training Indotel staff in cybersecurity issues, reported daily Diario Libre.
José del Castillo Saviñón, head of Indotel, acknowledged that giving citizens free internet access also exposes them to risks. Therefore, Fortinet’s made an important contribution to ensuring network security in the República Digital digital inclusion program.
The official underscored the importance of the free Wi-Fi initiative in connecting low-income segments of the population. According to del Castillo Saviñón, the program has benefited 116,000 users and the goal is to reach 890 free internet spots by year-end.
Last July Indotel announced that it would work on developing a national cybersecurity policy, which involves the creation of an incident response center.
ICT: The week in 10 stories – Regional
The government is against revising the network neutrality rule and will oppose any movement made by the telecom industry to relax it.
The Brazilian telecom market is expected to expand 20.4% between 2016 and 2022, reaching US$45.7bn in annual revenues at the end of the period.
Most Mexican mobile phones are not suited to support 700MHz, which is being used to deploy the Red Compartida wholesale network, and a recently issued rule that obliges suppliers to enable the band in mobile devices could have a negative impact on the low-end phone market, according to consultancy the Competitive Intelligence Unit (CIU).
Ipsum, a Chilean collaborative virtual platform designed to improve coordination and planning on construction sites, closed a US$1mn funding round with which it plans to expand throughout Latin America.
After a successful tender for blocks in the 700MHz band, Paraguay has awarded a total of 350MHz of spectrum. However, the country remains below the spectrum allocation levels recommended by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Peru saw a record 3.33mn people switching to a different mobile operator last year using the number portability system, according to telecoms regulator Osiptel.
US computer tech company Oracle’s internet intelligence team has been monitoring internet activity in Puerto Rico. The team’s director of analysis Doug Madory spoke to BNamericas about what Oracle observed regarding internet traffic in the island following the passing of Hurricane Maria and how the data revealed infrastructure failures.
Daily Panamá América cites the head of public services authority ASEP, Edwin Castillo, as saying that the public consultation process is over and that the switch-off date for the provinces of Panamá, Panamá Oeste and Colón has been set for October 18.
Argentina leads LatAm in spectrum allocation – Regional
Argentina was the Latin American country that assigned the most spectrum in 2017 for mobile services.
According to a 5G Americas report, Argentina accounted for 160MHz of the 485MHz allocated for mobile services in the region last year.
Trailing Argentina was Uruguay, which assigned 125MHz with the auction of bands in the 700MHz, 1.9-2.1GHz, AWS and AWS-3 frequencies. Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and Mexico assigned 70MHz, 70MHz and 60MHz, respectively.
Overall, Brazil leads Latin America in terms of total spectrum awarded for mobile services.
According to 5G Americas, the spectrum assigned in the region last year was the result of four auctions and the reassignment of other bands for mobile services. However, the amount represented just a third of the spectrum allocation recommended for the year.
“The granting of 485MHz – 33% of the 1,481MHz target for 2017 – underscores the delay Latin America has historically experienced in awarding radio spectrum for mobile service. In the last 20 years, the region has been characterized by slow processes to allocate interference-free radio spectrum to be used immediately for the commercialization of mobile service,” says the report.
5G Americas expects spectrum assignment for mobile services in Latin America will total 1,856MHz by the end of this year – including the 70MHz already awarded by Paraguay in a January 5 700MHz auction – provided all planned auctions and spectrum allocations go through. Again, Argentina is expected to lead the way.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) recommends allocating 1,960MHz of spectrum for mobile services as of 2020.
Ciena rules out Brazil plant – Regional
US optical equipment and solutions provider Ciena rules out constructing a global manufacturing plant in Brazil, at least in the near future.
The company currently has a Latin American factory in Mexico, which is integrated into its global chain and is used for exports.
According to Patricia Vello, head of Ciena in Brazil, complexities involving patenting and labor-related taxation in the country are to blame for the decision.
“If you think of setting up a factory looking to export, for example, then there are more taxes weighing on the business case. From a commercial standpoint, it would be good having a factory in Brazil. But at this moment, the calculations don’t add up, they don’t match,” Vello told BNamericas.
Ciena does not disclose figures by country but according to Vello Latin America accounts for 6-7% of the firm’s global revenues, with Brazil being the biggest regional contributor. The company has offices in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia.
For fiscal fourth quarter 2017, ended October 31, Ciena reported global revenues of US$744mn, compared to US$716mn a year earlier. For fiscal year 2017, Ciena reported revenue of US$2.8bn, up from US$2.6bn.
Vello expects 2018 to be better than 2017 for the Brazilian business, despite the upcoming World Cup and October elections. “We’re seeing this year with moderate positivity,” she said.
Ciena was contracted by Angola Cables to participate in the Monet project to connect Brazil to the United States, which is being developed by the Angolan group in a consortium.
Ciena is providing Angola Cables the GeoMesh and Blue Planet solutions. GeoMesh spectrum sharing capability enables wholesale customers to manage network traffic without potential disruption from other users on the open cable system.
With the Blue Planet Manage, Control and Plan software and cloud-based SLA Portal, Angola Cables will be able to better manage bandwidth and provide customers with a real-time view of network behavior that impacts service level agreements.
Vello says that new submarine cables should reduce the cost of connectivity in Brazil and the region. She said there has been an increase in the capacity of optical communications equipment, from about 40 gigabyte channels to about 17 terabytes in a couple of years.
She added that 70% of the costs of an optical network related to transponders.
According to Vello, chief technology officers from telecom companies that she has been talking to believe that massive roll-outs of 5G networks in Brazil should occur only in the next five to six years, with first deployments expected in the next two.
5G will be based on very low latency and very high speeds, and rely on fiber transport connectivity to antennas in what is known as fronthaul.
Given the high radiofrequencies being considered in 5G standard talks, the technology will probably require much more infrastructure than 4G and 3G, which use lower bands. As a result, telcos’ capex will tend to increase.
“Operators are not yet done with investments in 4G LTE. What will drive 5G roll-out will be applications. Autonomous cars, for example. It needs to make sense. If there’s demand for 5G, carriers will invest in it. If not, they’ll wait a bit more,” said Vello.
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