CANTO WEEKLY NEWSLETTER – BNamericas

CANTO WEEKLY NEWSLETTER – BNamericas

 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

 

Google reportedly to take submarine cable to Cuba – Cuba

Flow to boost broadband speeds in Saint Vincent & the Grenadines – Caribbean

Ericsson, América Móvil partner for Mexico 5G deployment – Mexico, Puerto Rico

Cerberus touted as possible buyer of Telefónica Mexico stake – Regional

 

Google reportedly to take submarine cable to Cuba – Cuba

Google is looking to bring a subsea telecommunications cable to Cuba to improve internet services on the island, as it looks to continue working with the country, according to media reports.

The project is part of efforts to increase collaboration with the Caribbean nation, one of the least well connected in the region, Google Cuba’s marketing chief Susanna Kohly Jacobson was reported as saying.

“We expect more collaboration,” said Jacobson. “We’re building a submarine cable to connect Cuba,” she added. The reports did not go into detail regarding when the project will be finished or which countries it will connect Cuba to.

The US internet giant has been hard at work regaridng Cuba, looking to improve internet access speeds for the island and inviting Cuban programmers to annual Code Jam events.

Cuba has also been working on improving internet access for its 11mn inhabitants, increasing 3G mobile coverage and rolling out discounted fixed internet packages for underserved rural areas

 

Flow to boost broadband speeds in Saint Vincent & the Grenadines – Caribbean

Flow, the consumer-facing brand for the fixed line and mobile operations of Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) in the Caribbean, says it is ramping up broadband speeds in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) for 80% of its customers following the completion of a major network upgrade.

“We have invested in core equipment to upgrade the backbone [while] work on the outside plan and the development on nodes in the communities is ongoing, but that upgrade has now allowed us to give customers a free upgrade,” Flow SVG general manager Wayne Hull was quoted as saying by local press.

Flow customers with the Turbo 2 package (peak 2Mbps downlink) will now get its 5Mbps Turbo 5 plan, while Turbo 12 packages have been upgraded to Turbo 15.

Flow was a brand of Columbus Communications, which was purchased by CWC in 2014, which then began to rename its LIME brand with Flow. CWC was bought by and integrated into the Liberty Latin America group (Lilac) in 2016.

Ericsson, América Móvil partner for Mexico 5G deployment – Mexico, Puerto Rico

Swedish ICT technology provider Ericsson will partner in Mexico with local telecommunications leader América Móvil for the upcoming deployment of 5G networks, an Ericsson executive told local daily Milenio.

Elia Hanna, Ericsson’s Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean head, was quoted as saying that “Mexico is a very important market for us as here are three of the largest global-scale competitors (AT&T, Telefónica Movistar and América Móvil) and the network, in collaboration with Claro, will be deployed in the coming months.”

América Móvil has said that it will be the first to deploy 5G networks in the country, and recently announced that it will start 5G tests in Puerto Rico next year.

The new network, Hanna added, will cut video download times by two thirds.

Cerberus touted as possible buyer of Telefónica Mexico stake – Regional

In a new twist to the long-running “Mexit” saga, US investment fund Cerberus Capital Management could be a candidate for acquiring 40% of Spanish telecommunications giant Telefónica‘s underperforming Mexican assets, according to media reports.

Several reports in Mexican and Spanish media point to Telefónica’s CEO José María Álvarez-Pallete obtaining authorization from the company’s board in October to sell part of the company in an effort to reduce its crippling 42.6bn-euro (US$48.6bn) financial debt.

The reports did not include a figure for the sale of Telefónica’s Mexican unit, part of the telecom company’s Hispam Norte division which also includes Central America, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.

As of its last financial report to September, Hispam Norte’s operating margin before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) was the lowest of the group at 24.6% versus 33.6% for global operations. The company has complained about regulatory impacts and an intense battle in pricing with rivals América Móvil and AT&T. OIBDA margin for the Mexican operations in particular was even lower at 13.7%.

The reports suggest that the company could sell a percentage of the unit to Cerberus, a US$35bn investment fund which is no stranger to telecommunications as it recently completed the acquisition of New Jersey-based submarine cable company SubCom.

Telefónica and Cerberus did not immediately respond to BNamericas requests for comment on the stories. Telefónica has usually refused to discuss market rumors on the subject.

In its last conference call with analysts, Telefónica said it was evaluating its asset portfolio in terms of return on capex. Recently, Verizon was also touted as a potential suitor for Telefónica’s Mexican unit.

The reports also mentioned the possibility of the company selling part of its Central American operations to Millicom’s Tigo unit.

Hispam Norte is the smallest of Telefónica’s regions by revenue, reporting 3bn euros for January-September, less than half the 7.6bn euros of its Brazilian operations and about 8.5% of the company’s consolidated revenue.

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