CANTO WEEKLY NEWSLETTER – BNAMERICAS

CANTO WEEKLY NEWSLETTER – BNAMERICAS

Thursday, July 5, 2018

 

Cuba’s new messaging app get 170,000 users in a week – Cuba

Charles Taylor InsureTech deepens LatAm roots – Regional

Flexenclosure to deploy datacenters in Nicaragua, Honduras – Regional

Brief: Belize’s BTL secures broadband rollout loan – Belize

ICT: The week in 10 stories – Regional

 

Cuba’s new messaging app get 170,000 users in a week – Cuba

Cuba’s new ToDus messaging app for mobile phones obtained more than 170,000 subscribers during the first week after its June 20 launch, according to media reports.

The app, created by Cuba’s computer sciences university (UCI) and state-owned telecoms company Etecsa, is the first of its kind in the country and allows users to send individual and group messages, pictures and files, Mediatelecom reported.

The app is exclusive to Cuba and all traffic is goes through local servers.

Despite having one of the lowest mobile penetration rates in the region, Cuba’s telecommunications users are increasingly adapting to mobile technologies, even creatively repurposing the credit balance on their cell phones as an unofficial payment method.

Cuba is in the process of deploying mobile internet via 3G technologies, as most countries in the region are currently focusing on widening 4G coverage and discussing shutting down voice-centric 2G.

Charles Taylor InsureTech deepens LatAm roots – Regional

Charles Taylor InsureTech said its recent acquisition of Argentina’s Inworx reaffirms its long-term commitment to the region.

The Latin America-focused insurance technology company – which was established in April 2016 and opened offices in Mexico eight months later – bought the consultancy and software provider this year.

Charles Taylor InsureTech CEO Jason Sahota (pictured) told BNamericas that putting down roots in Latin America is a key objective: “In terms of LatAm, this was always a core part of my strategy from day one.”

He said: “Previously in Latin America, it’s been serviced by local or regional players because a lot of global players have struggled to enter the region.

“This was a real business commitment [on the part of Charles Taylor InsureTech] to come out here to the region. This isn’t ‘I’m coming here for a year and if it doesn’t work out I’ll go.’

“Adding to that, when I announced the Inworx acquisition, that further reinforces my commitment to the region.”

Charles Taylor InsureTech, a unit of British insurance services firm Charles Taylor, is in the process of incorporating Inworx. The firm acquired insurance sector-focused Inworx last quarter for an initial US$22.5mn, which could rise to US$50.5mn based on performance-related deferred payments, according to a statement issued at the time.

SURA CONTRACT

In parallel, Charles Taylor InsureTech has been awarded a major contract by Colombian group Sura.

Charles Taylor InsureTech is implementing a core operating platform for Sura in five countries – with an option to extend to a further four – as part of a wider transformation program being carried out by the regional financial services giant.

Sahota and his team are implementing policy-administration system INSIS out of their Mexico offices. Work on the two-year implementation project has already got underway in Panama and Uruguay.

“To have one of the region’s largest players select us as a partner, from our perspective, is a tremendous achievement,” said Sahota.

The company’s first major contract in the region was with Peruvian insurer La Positiva.

WHY LATAM?

Latin America remains an underserved insurance market and holds much potential for incumbents and potential newcomers alike.

Key challenges for insurers include efficiently reaching new clients and driving down costs.

Life insurance is seen as holding much potential and microinsurers are expanding their footprints in the region.

Sahota said growth potential in Latin America and a desire to help regional players drive change were key factors behind the company’s decision to enter the region.

“Insurance as an industry has definitely grown as the economy has grown,” said Sahota. “And there is big scope for growth in insurance in the region. The second thing is there is a combination of some legacy technology that needs replacing as well as the opportunity for digital transformation.

“And, thirdly, because there isn’t legacy in all aspects of their business and technology, Latin American businesses have the opportunity to leapfrog and have a real desire both for change and adoption of digital transformation.”

Flexenclosure to deploy datacenters in Nicaragua, Honduras – Regional

Swedish modular datacenter specialist Flexenclosure will expand its Latin American footprint by building two Tier III facilities in Nicaragua and Honduras.

The first order is being built at the company’s manufacturing plant in Sweden and is scheduled to be shipped to Nicaraguan capital Managua by the third quarter. The second order, to be deployed in Honduran capital Tegucigalpa, is expected to be deployed by 1Q19.

Both facilities will be earthquake-resistant structures similar those deployed by Flexenclosure recently in Quito, Ecuador, for CenturyLink.

In the past two years, the Swedish company has also installed its eCentres in Paraguay, where it deployed a Tier III datacenter for Tigo Paraguay (pictured); as well as Colombia, Bolivia and Chile.

The prefabricated datacenters in Nicaragua and Honduras will be Uptime Institute Tier III-certified, the first of their kind in either country. The names of the clients were not disclosed.

“In the last two years, we have gone from having no presence at all in Latin America to building datacenters in seven countries across the continent,” said Flexenclosure CEO David King.

Brief: Belize’s BTL secures broadband rollout loan – Belize

Belize’s state-owned telecoms company BTL has secured a US$17.5mn loan from Taiwan’s International Cooperation and Development Fund for the accelerated deployment of a fiber optics broadband network across the country.

BTL’s National Broadband Plan “is the company’s countrywide replacement of the existing copper network with ultra-modern fiber optic technology,” the company said in a statement.

The loan helped complete the financing required for the plan, it added.

ICT: The week in 10 stories – Regional

CHILE

Chile’s supreme court has ordered the country’s three largest operators, Movistar, Claro and Entel, to return the equivalent amount of spectrum they won in a tender for the 700MHz band in February 2014.

Entel Chile carried out laboratory tests of 5G with Ericsson on Thursday, reaching top speeds of 25.4Gbps, but warned that recent regulatory and legal decisions regarding the 3.5GHz and 700MHz bands will only delay the country’s adoption of the technology.

BRAZIL

NII Holdings hired Rothschild & Co as financial advisers to sell its Nextel operations in Brazil, the last Latin American business of the US telecom group, Reuters reported, citing two sources close to the process.

A project from Angola Cables could soon start connecting the BRICS bloc countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The Brazilian senate has given up on its data protection bill to embrace the more advanced and more consensual bill approved by the lower house.

VENEZUELA

Venezuela has reached 5.2mn users of its P2P peer-to-peer mobile phone-based payment platform and banking watchdog Sudeban is due to launch a second phase next month allowing people to make payments in stores (P2C), local newspaper El Universal reported.

MEXICO

Mexico’s telecommunications industry is working with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to study the feasibility of deploying High Altitude Platform Stations (HAPS) to provide broadband internet to remote areas of the country, telecoms regulator IFT said in a statement.

URUGUAY

Five Uruguayan ministries have met their planned schedule for the implementation of a program of online procedures (Programa de Trámites en Línea), national e-gov agency Agesic reported.

HONDURAS

Honduras is looking into beefing up cybersecurity and developing e-government and education strategies with the help of Amazon Web Services (AWS), the B2B arm of e-retail giant Amazon, according to a statement issued by the Honduran government.

REGIONAL

With several submarine fiber cables initiatives underway, BNamericas takes a look at how each of them is progressing and when they are expected to go live.

 

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

 

 

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