CANTO Wrap October 2013

CANTO Wrap October 2013

 

DIGICEL

Caribbean mobile operator Digicel is investing another J$4bn (US$39.1mn) in Jamaica to improve its network and customer care delivery, building on the J$7bn investment over the last two years.

The investment, reportedly focusing on expanding its 4G mobile network and upgrading its 2G network, follows the company’s recent launch of consumer fixed line services in the country with a J$300mn investment.

Digicel has launched consumer fixed line services in Jamaica, in a move to challenge LIME’s dominance.

The service, called DigiHome, DigiHome is a postpaid service that uses a wireless unit installed in the home to deliver voice and data services.

CORPORATE IT

Moving on to Digicel’s corporate IT solutions, Digicel and Columbus Business Solutions (CBS), have announced ambitious plans for cloud computing in the Caribbean and targeting particularly SMEs.

Digicel launched its cloud computing division in 2009 and has since invested nearly J$700mn (US$6.83mn) in a tier 3 datacenter in Jamaica. In four years the firm has taken its cloud services to 30 markets.

In the last month, Digicel Business launched a portfolio of cloud-based services, including solutions from Microsoft, Citrix and Cisco.

Jamaica’s technology ministry has chosen telco Cable & Wireless Communications (C&WC) to provide a cloud-based e-mail service.

C&WC, will store all archived e-mails of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (MSTEM) in a remote server, thus reducing the MSTEM’s data storage costs.

This is C&WC’s second e-mail hosting contract with the Jamaican government in 2013. In April, the Jamaica Constabulary Force rolled out LIME’s hosted e-mail service to 11,000 staff.

LTE

Cable & Wireless Communications (C&WC) has confirmed plans to launch LTE services in the Bahamas later this year in the 700MHz band.

At the same time C&WC announced it is investing US$4mn to upgrade and expand its sub-sea cable network in the Bahamas.

The expanded and upgraded Bahamas Domestic Submarine Network International (BDSNi) fiber optic network will support the company’s launch of new broadband-enabled services and increase the number of ways it can route telecoms traffic, improving the network resilience in the event of damage to any part of the cable.

Also in the Bahamas, trying to reinvigorate its flagging landline business BTC will launch a new low-cost package for domestic and international calls that uses the company’s legacy exchange infrastructure rather than IP.

The HomePhonePlus service offers packages called “love your landline” with prices starting from US$21.99 monthly. BTC’s parent company C&WC has seen a decline in fixed line voice subscribers falling to 698,000 in June from 701,000 in March.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Dominican Republic internet provider Wind Telecom received a US$27mn investment as part of a capital structure consolidation strategy to evolve its wireless service to 4G LTE and expand its fiber optic network.

The new investment will allow Wind Telecom to advance its 2013-2015 rollout in the 2.5-2.7GHz spectrum frequency.

The latest round of financing comes from Cibao International Airport, which joins existing shareholders, the International Financial Corporation (IFC) and the Central-American Mezzanine Infrastructure Fund.

Wind Telecom previously offered connectivity via WiMax networks. It began testing LTE technology in late 2011.

Dominican Republic mobile operator Orange Dominicana said it has new offers in the pipeline and plans to continue investing to improve its network.

The comments suggest the telco is committed to its future inthe country, contradicting recent reports that French parent company Orange is considering selling the unit to reduce its 39.2bn-euro (US$53.5mn) debt.

Caribbean operator Digicel, Millicom and C&WC have reportedly shown interest in making an offer for the firm.

E-LEARNING

Caribbean mobile operator Digicel and Cyber School Technology Solutions (CSTS) have signed an agreement to provide e-learning resources for Jamaica’s school system.

Under the deal the firms are providing e-learning content accessible to Jamaican students using tablets with discounted 4G data plans.

MEETINGS

The Council of Ministers of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) held its 28th regular meeting in Dominica from October 24-25th in Portsmouth, on the island of Dominica.

Top on the agenda for discussion were: the C&WC/Columbus strategic alliance to sell wholesale capacity to third party carriers; the establishment of a competition authority; roaming and call termination and the use of the 700MHz band.

Other issues included the harmonization initiative for developing a regional ICT infra-structure for broadband, spectrum management, cyber-security and e-legislation among member states.

One of the largest annual gatherings of the community of internet in Latin America and the Caribbean, the next regional event LACNIC / LACNOG, will be held from October 28th – November 1 at the World Trade Center on Curaçao.

The event seeks to exchange experiences and discuss key issues affecting the future of the internet in the region and globally. The event will be attended by more than 400 representatives from governments, academia, civil society and the private sector.

Internet stakeholders from Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, St Lucia and other Caribbean territories attended the United Nations’ eighth international Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia from October 22-25 to examine global cyber-issues such as online surveillance, privacy and human rights.

IN BRIEF

C&WC has appointed Phil Bentley as CEO to replace Tony Rice with effect from January 1, 2014.

AT&T has launched LTE services in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, continuing its deployment of LTE across the island.

Jamaican telecoms operator LIME has launched the Google Apps mail service for its internet customers with LIME e-mail accounts.

The US commerce department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has awarded a US$1.4mn grant to Puerto Rico to help with planning for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet).

Puerto Rico is required to provide a matching contribution of at least 20%, according to the NTIA.

 

 

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