Thursday, June 7, 2018
|T-Mobile to deploy 600MHz LTE in Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands|
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|Vision “To become the leading authority in shaping information, communication and technology in the Caribbean Region and the Americas.”|
|T-Mobile to deploy 600MHz LTE in Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands
T-Mobile expects to deploy its LTE Extended Range network in Puerto Rico later this year, the company said in a statement. It wants to take the opportunity and build a faster network in the wake of the damage caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017.
The technology, using the 600MHz spectrum the company obtained at a tender last year, enables signals to travel twice as long between towers, allowing for more coverage and setting the stage for the future deployment of 5G technology, the company added.
“After the devastating hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico last year, we saw the opportunity to rebuild an even better network: with 5G reads equipment,” said T-Mobile chief technology officer Neville Ray.
In September Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean were hit hard by hurricanes Maria and Irma, with Puerto Rico losing around 90% of its cell sites in the immediate aftermath of the storm.
Since then the recovery has been ongoing, and recently the FCC approved US$64mn in additional funding for the recovery of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands telecoms infrastructure. It is also seeking commentary on US$445mn of funding over the next decade to support fixed broadband coverage expansion in the island.
T-Mobile said in another statement that it doubled the number of its generators on the island and that it added infrastructure to its towers in preparation for this year’s hurricane season, which started on June 1.
Over half of LatAm mobile carriers include OTT – Regional
Over half of the mobile carriers in Latin America are now including a subscription to an Over The Top (OTT) video on demand service such as Netflix, while around 90% offer some zero-rating policy for data tied to social network or instant messaging apps, Mexican consultancy The CIU found.
As the regional market matures and becomes more competitive, with several countries at or near saturation levels, companies are starting to fight for clients by sweetening the deal to customers.
The study showed that 58.6% of carriers in eight countries – Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and the Dominican Republic – which together account for 90% of regional mobile lines, included a subscription to some OTT service.
América Móvil‘s Mexican unit Telcel, for example, includes a subscription to its own Claro Video OTT service on some of its postpaid subscriber deals. Spain’s Telefónica, a long-time adversary of OTT services, recently caved in via an alliance with Netflix.
And underlining the increasing importance of social networks and messaging apps, 89.7% of carriers offer some sort of zero-rating, unlimited data for specific apps within their plans, which has been criticized by some experts and net neutrality advocates as a potential obstacle for competition.
So far, mostly postpaid rather than prepaid contracts seem to benefit, the study added: 57.1% of the carriers throw an OTT subscription into a postpaid plan vs. 21.4% doing so also for prepaid deals, and 89.3% offer zero rating deals to their postpaid subscribers vs 71.4% for prepaid.
“Within the available offers of regional operators, not all packages and service plans include the same benefits … these benefits are not available to basic services packages but to medium and high ones,” the study added.
Jamaica activates new area code – Jamaica
Jamaica activated on Thursday 10-digit area calling for local calls as the country put into service the new 658 area code to guarantee number availability.
The move comes after the current 876 area code became exhausted, regulator OUR said on its website. Previously, Jamaicans dialed only their assigned seven digits for calls.
During a “permissive” period until October 30 users will get a phone message reminding them of the new dialing format if they dial seven digits.
The original 876 area code was assigned to the Caribbean country in 1996, with the expectation that it would provide sufficient numbers for 20 years. But Jamaica had to consider a second area code in 2009 already, OUR said in a statement.
The new code, which will replicate existing local numbers, will be used right after the 876-related numbers end. Jamaica has recommended corporate users and merchants to alter their printing materials and systems to suit the new 10-digit format and avoid confusion.
Last year, Jamaica’s mobile subscriptions declined 5.4%, according to the latest official data, while fixed line subscriptions fell by 4.3%.
ICT: The week in 10 stories – Regional
Latin America’s telecoms industry associations criticized a court decision in Buenos Aires banning the ride-hailing app Uber country-wide for alleged breach of local transportation regulations.
Telecoms group Grupo GTD has allied with Microsoft and HP to launch Azure Stack hybrid cloud services. This way the company aims to strengthen its go-to market with heavily regulated industries like financial services and government which still require local data storage.
A process to update Mexico’s net neutrality rules, emphasizing freedom of choice and offering “reasonable” criteria on how providers can manage internet traffic, could start in August, a representative for telecoms regulator IFT said at an industry conference.
Motorola Solutions seeks to open up Mexico’s radio communication network, which is dominated by IRIS network operator Cassidian to make way for an open architecture. Vicente Roqueñí, Motorola’s business development director for Mexico, spoke with BNamericas about this plan, and more.
Brazil’s lower house approved a bill that regulates the handling of citizens’ personal data both by the public sector and private entities.
US telecom regulator FCC has approved additional US$64mn in immediate funding for short-term telecommunication restoration in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands as a new hurricane season approaches.
Telecoms regulator Osiptel has proposed adopting price ceilings for rates charged for using the national fiber backbone network RDNFO with a view to boosting use of the network by public institutions including healthcare centers, schools and police stations.
Latin America’s smartphone market will grow less than expected in 2018 as a marathon of general elections combined with declining operator subsidies are impacting consumer confidence, according to consultancy IDC.
Telefónica’s announcement that it is partnering with Netflix might come as a surprise given its years campaigning against and competing with over-the-top players. However, consumer consumption trends suggest the company had no choice.
Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are still finding their perch in Latin America’s highly competitive telecoms market, as pressure keeps mounting from the low prices offered by operators.
LatAm advances along the connected car highway – Regional
Connected car insurance is growing in Latin America. Solutions are available in the likes of Chile and Mexico.
Insurtech is in its early stages of development in the region and telematics is among the segments leading the charge.
The latest to enter the arena is Argentine insurer Sancor Seguros, which has launched a pay-how-you-drive solution branded Auto Inteligente.
The firm has developed an associated app and offers “safe drivers” access to benefits. Auto Inteligente is being trialed in Santa Fe province and will later be rolled out to other parts of the country, the company said in a statement.
Meanwhile, regional connected car insurance pioneer Jooycar – which powers Colombian giant Sura‘s pay-per-km and pay-how-you-drive solutions in Chile – is looking to expand its footprint and has the whole region on its radar.
María Paz Gillet, CEO of Santiago-headquartered Jooycar, told BNamericas that insurers in countries including Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Argentina, Colombia and Brazil are testing its products.
In Chile, Jooycar and Sura introduced a pay-how-you-drive solution in 2016 and a pay-per-km product – the first in Latin America – the following year.
Gillet (pictured) said that winds of change are whipping through the industry, and forecast that, by 2020, about 5% of car insurance policies in the region will be “connected.”
Citing reasons for forecast growth, Gillet said: “Latin American people love to be social and connected, especially millennials. When insurers change their value proposition by introducing connected car insurance, they become more of a service-generator and appeal to consumers whose buying preferences are for more connected and personalized products.”
Gillet envisages a shift from the current model of static, fixed policies to one where a client initially buys a basic policy and can then “bolt on” additional services and adapt the policy as their coverage requirements change.
But the whole idea of connected insurance should not be limited to usage-based insurance (UBI), she added.
Gillet said: “For us, connected insurance is more than UBI. For example, connected insurance could refer to the idea of purchasing insurance in your car [via a factory-installed app through which you activate a policy]. We’re working on some things related to this.
“We think that in the future, this will be the natural channel for buying insurance, the standard. And if you don’t share your driving data, your policies will be more expensive.”
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