CANTO Wrap August 2013
Cable & Wireless Communications (C&WC) saw some growth in mobile and broadband subscribers in its Caribbean and Panama units in the three months ending June 30 however market conditions in the Caribbean still “remain difficult,” particularly in the Eastern Caribbean and Barbados, said in an interim management statement.
C&WC, which operates in the Caribbean as LIME, saw a 4% drop in revenue in its financial year ending March 31 to US$1.94bn, as declines in voice and a struggling Caribbean economy weighed.
However, C&WC said it is seeing the fruits of its cost reduction and restructuring plan announced last year with opex in the Caribbean down 5% against Q1 in the prior year.
In that vein, LIME Barbados announced that 200 employees would be let go at the end of September mainly from the service and customer support teams.
C&WC has said that its renewed focus on the pan-American region following plans to sell off its Monaco & Islands and Macau businesses, has accelerates investments in mobile broadband.
The company announced in August it is due to become the first operator to launch LTE both the Cayman Islands and in the Bahamas this year and is seeking to acquire additional spectrum.
In July, LIME became the first operator to launch 4G/HSPA+ services in St Lucia.
In other news:
On the issue of spectrum, The Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA) said it is currently reviewing applications from several companies looking to provide wireless services in the country, when the sector is liberalized next year. Only Digicel Group was mentioned.
In Puerto Rico, AT&T launched LTE services in Jayuya. Also, local telcos Claro and DISH launched a bundled services offering on the island including pay TV, broadband and voice.
And talking internet, more than 100,000 Cubans have signed up to use internet services since June 4 when the government lifted restrictions on Cubans accessing the web, according to state telco Etecsa.
Internet must be accessed via Etecsa’s network of 118 internet centers throughout the country.
Until February of this year internet access was available only to foreigners. The provision of the service was made possible due to the fiber optic cable connecting Cuba to Venezuela and Jamaica which was activated this year.
Mobile operator Digicel has agreed to eliminate roaming charges for its customers within the 15 Caribbean nations known as the Caribbean Community, or Caricom.
After negotiations with the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), each travelling subscriber will be treated as if he is using his local/domestic Digicel network throughout the region. The changes will take effect on October 1, 2013.
Moving onto ICT, the Caribbean’s largest furniture, appliance and electrical company Unicomer, which trades as Courts, has signed an agreement with Digicel’s business communications unit to implement a unified communications and contact center solution.
In related news, Digicel Business said it had achieved a customer satisfaction excellence Gold Star from Cisco recognizing customer service across the Caribbean, Panama and El Salvador.
Grenada’s government is considering turning to Trinidad and Tobago for help establishing a state ICT company to improve efficiency in delivering government services.
The Grenadian company would be based on Trinidad and Tobago’s state ICT firm, iGovTT.
iGovTT is a special purpose enterprise which develops and deploys advanced ICT solutions for the Trinidad and Tobago government, such as ttconnect, which provides online access for local citizens to government information and services.
Also helping ICT development in the region is the Caribbean Telecommunications Union ( CTU) which along with Bureau Telecommunications and Post (BTP) will hold a Caribbean ICT Roadshow and an Internet Governance Forum from September 9-11 in Curaçao.
The Caribbean Roadshows are an initiative of the CTU and promote the use of ICT for the development of governments, businesses and citizens. The event was previously held in Curacao in 2009.
The three-day program will focus on areas including e-commerce , e-health , e-government, e-education , cyber security and social media.
In an attempt to kick start the economy the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have signed an agreement under which the IDB will provide US$150,000 through the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), for the development of the Jamaica Venture Capital Program (JVCP).
The DBJ will provide counterpart funding of US$128,000.
IDB Jamaica country representative Gerard Johnson said the agreement was a timely initiative given the challenges faced by the debt-ridden Jamaican economy.
The JVCP is to be launched on September 9, during a conference hosted by the DBJ in New Kingston
In Haiti, technology investment holding Alternet Systems announced that TchoTcho Mobile, the mobile money platform of Haiti’s leading telephone company Digicel, has migrated to Utiba’s Mobility platform.
The migration includes standard mobile financial transactional services, such as person-to-person and person-to-business payments; agent management; as well as bill payments and international remittances.
Enterprise software solutions firm Epicor Software announced that the largest credit union in Barbados BPWCCUL selected the Epicor ERP and Epicor human capital management (HCM) solutions to streamline complex financial back office operations and HR processes.
BPWCCUL selected Epicor HCM to automate HR processes, enabling the organization to track, manage and analyze employee data throughout the employee lifecycle.
Digicel has chosen US telecoms software firm NAAP Global Solutions to provide asset management software for its operations in Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana.
The multi-modular asset lifecycle software will help Digicel improve operational efficiency and reduce costs by maximizing the tracking and management of 350 telecom sites.
The solution will also enable an inventory of over 50,000 installed telecoms assets, barcoding and high definition 3D laser scanning, said NAAP.