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September 10, 2012

Digicel offers another US $700 million debt issue

From Caribbean 360:

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday, September 6, 2012 - Telecommunications major the Digicel Group Limited has announced that it has set a goal of raising another US$700 million of debt financing through a private bond placement that becomes due in 2020.

The company owned by Irish billionaire Denis O'Brien said the proceeds will finance the repurchase or early redemption of all the 9.125% and 9.875% toggle notes due to mature in 2015; and up to US$245 million of an 8.875% bond also due in 2015.

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March 24, 2011

Digicel owner denies bribery

From Caribbean360:

DUBLIN, Ireland, Thursday March 24, 2011 - An investigation in Ireland has found that Digicel owner Denis O'Brien made payments to a former government minister to help him secure a mobile licence 16 years ago that helped him make a fortune and branch off into his lucrative mobile phone operations in the region - a charge he has vehemently denied.

Justice Michael Moriarty, who headed the tribunal, concluded that OBrien paid Ireland's former Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications Michael Lowry significant sums of money and, in exchange, Lowry gave O'Brien, "substantive information (that was) of significant value and assistance" to his Esat Digifone company securing Ireland's second mobile licence ahead of rival bidders, in 1995.

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February 27, 2011

Cable & Wireless selling Bermuda business

From Caribbean360:

HAMILTON, Bermuda, Thursday February 24, 2011 - Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) is selling its operations in Bermuda to a family-run Canadian cable and telecommunications company in a US$70 million deal.

Once the sale to The Braggs Group gets government and regulatory approvals, it's expected to be finalised by the end of next month, at which time the new owners say they'll keep the same employees and local management.

"In fact, we expect to increase local Bermudian employment in the near future," it said in a statement yesterday.

News of the sale comes two weeks after CWC reported that its Caribbean operations continue to suffer, at the same that it announced it had signed the final agreement to acquire majority control of Bahamas Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTC).

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February 10, 2011

DIGICEL ACQUIRES NETXAR TECHNOLOGIES

Businesses across the Caribbean and Central America to benefit from the region's newest ICT powerhouse

Tuesday 8 February 2011 - Kingston, Jamaica:
Digicel, the Bigger, Better Network has taken a controlling stake in Netxar Technologies, the leading systems integrator in the Caribbean region, it was announced today.

Effective immediately, the two companies will work together to achieve even greater business success and market share as the region's newest Information and Communications Technology (ICT) powerhouse.

Continue reading "DIGICEL ACQUIRES NETXAR TECHNOLOGIES"
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Cable & Wireless Caribbean operations still troubled

From Caribbean360:

LONDON, United Kingdom, Thursday February 10, 2011 - Telecommunications giant Cable & Wireless says its Caribbean operations continue to suffer amid adverse economic conditions and earnings won't increase in the second half of the financial year.

In a third quarter statement issued yesterday, Cable & Wireless Communications Plc (CWC) said it expected earnings by the end of the fiscal year in March to remain flat at around US$115 million.

"The one region that remains very difficult is the Caribbean where we see the market continue to be challenging with tourist spend and, hence, consumer and business disposable income significantly below historic levels," said CWC Chief Executive Officer Tony Rice.

January 31, 2011

Caribbean Operators Redesign Marketing Strategies with Growing Use of Social Networks

Social networks are challenging the predominance of Internet, providing Caribbean operators with new tools for interaction with customers, positioning of services, advertising new developments and implementing promotions.

Buenos Aires & Montevideo - 17 January 2011 - Signals Telecom Consulting, the leading telecommunications research and consulting firm for markets in Latin America and the Caribbean, announces the publication of its market report entitled Social Networks Strategy: Caribbean Operators.

The report covers:

Use of social networks to keep customers informed. Digicel and LIME are the operators in the region making most use of the advantages of Web 2.0.

Development of promotions and means used for interaction by selected Caribbean region operators.

Can user criticism on Facebook pages affect the operator's image? How can they be counteracted?

Social networks as a new customer service tool. Differences, advantages and disadvantages compared with traditional customer attention channels.

Taking advantage of social network use to position Pay TV services. What are the benefits for the promotion of such services? Analysis of Claro TV Puerto Rico, DirecTV and Flow.

October 1, 2010

Digicel takes C&W to Court

From Caribbean360:

ST JOHN'S, Antigua, Thursday September 30, 2010 - Digicel has had enough of its rival's monopoly on international calls coming in and out of Antigua and Barbuda, and it has gone to court to break it.

The company has announced that it has started legal proceedings in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court challenging the exclusive monopoly held by Cable & Wireless.

In this latest court battle, Digicel said it is seeking "various declarations from the court concerning the validity of Cable and Wireless licence as well as various declarations that the continued imposition of this Cable and Wireless international monopoly breaches fundamental provisions of the Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda."

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April 16, 2010

Internet Provider Hoping to Offer Cell Service By Year's End

From the St. Thomas Source:

Public hearings this week on the three islands over Choice Communications' petition to be eligible for federal Universal Service Funds were short--with no one speaking against the request--boding well for Choice's move toward providing cell phone service later this year.

The V.I. Public Services Commission held hearings on St. Thomas and St. John Tuesday and St. Croix on Wednesday, requesting public input on a formal request from Choice to collect federal Universal Service Fund (USF) grants as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC).

The USF is a Federal Communications Commission-controlled program designed to bring better telecommunications services to rural and insular areas. Funds must be spent on improving telecommunications service in the territory. The FCC makes the final determination but usually defers to the local regulatory recommendation, in this case, that of the PSC.

C&W wins; Digicel loses London High Court case

Big news from Caribbean telecom heavyweights:

KINGSTON, Jamaica, April 15, 2010 - Cable & Wireless Communications is savouring its legal victory over Caribbean telecommunications rival Digicel in the London High Court.

Announcements issued by both companies this morning (April 15, 2010) alerted stakeholders that Digicel has had its case against Cable & Wireless ruled out in the London High Court; and Digicel has cited weak legislation in some Caribbean territories as a contributing factor.

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February 8, 2010

CARIBBEAN HOTEL & TOURISM ASSOCIATION SIGNS FORUM TELECOM AS STRATEGIC PARTNER

CORAL GABLES, FL (Jan. 27, 2010) - The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and Forum Telecom have announced an agreement in which Forum Telecom, the provider of cellular telephone solutions for the travel and hospitality industry, has been designated as a Strategic Partner of CHTA.

CHTA Strategic Partners are leading organizations and companies involved in a wide range of industry sectors and activities for the betterment of the Caribbean.

"Roaming charges for our visitors can be an expensive experience when in the Caribbean and our new Strategic Partnership with Forum Telecom will provide CHTA members with the ability to offer cost efficient alternatives for their clients' on-island cellular phone usage. The company is a valuable addition to our Strategic Partner lineup," said Enrique De Marchena Kaluche, President of CHTA.

"Forum Telecom understands the travel and hospitality industry and offers a unique product for participating members," noted De Marchena. The addition of Forum Telecom as a CHTA Strategic Partner will provide hotels and other tourism-related members with a new product they can offer to save their clients money on cellular phone calls - free use of a mobile phone courtesy of the venue, with rates of only US$0.49 per minute and US$0.25 for text messages to anywhere in the world - a savings of up to 80% versus the use of their home market handsets. And travelers only pay for the minutes they use - no rental fee, no roaming charges, no minimums and no ancillary charges typical of the major carriers.

This new Strategic Partner agreement will help CHTA hotel members enhance their guest amenities as the convenience factor is a major benefit for travelers. The phone can even include one touch dialing numbers for guest activities, room service, spa appointments, restaurant reservations and local activities. In addition to significant year-round recognition and exposure alongside CHTA, benefits of the Strategic Partnership also include sponsorships of various CHTA conferences and events.

"We are very excited to become a Strategic Partner of CHTA as the Caribbean hotel sector is the primary focus of our marketing efforts. This new relationship will open a variety of distribution channels for us," said Russell A. Brown, Vice President Sales and Marketing and Chief Marketing Officer, Forum Telecom, Inc.

Forum Telecom joins ARDA, Eventstar, Caribbean Travel & Life, FirstCaribbean International Bank, Fosters Group, Green Globe Certification, Interval International, MasterCard, Tropical Shipping and Utell Hotels & Resorts as CHTA Strategic Partners.

January 20, 2010

BTC's Haitian cable suffers damage

BTC's Haitian cable suffers damage, but ISPs remain operational

By Sean Buckley

Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), the service provider that runs the Bahamas Domestic Submarine Network (BDSNi) submarine cable system linking to Haiti, reported that service has been disrupted as a result of the earthquake that struck the Port-au-Prince area.

In an interview with Telegeography, Alveta Moss, a representative of BTC, said: "We are currently remotely assessing the extent of the damage, pending contact with our partners in Haiti. Until we are able to thoroughly assess the damage, I am unable at this time to indicate how long repairs will take or when service will be restored."

Jointly controlled by Haitian wireline service provider Teleco and BTC, the 1.92 Tbps-capable BDSNi cable network that connects Port-au-Prince to Matthew Town in the Bahamas and into the U.S., is currently used by Teleco in conjunction with INTELSAT satellite network connections. But since the BDSNi is relatively new (it was lit in December 2006) and Haiti depends on satellite networks for the majority of its communications links, it is unknown how much traffic actually goes over the submarine network.

At the same time, it appears that many of Haiti's ISPs are still up and running, but there have been unconfirmed reports that the country's two largest--Hainet and Access Haiti-were down.

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January 13, 2010

Capacity Caribbean 2010

capacity-caribbean-2010.jpg

Join us next month in St Maarten for Capacity Caribbean 2010, the C-level meeting for the Caribbean wholesale telecoms market. Capacity Caribbean 2010 takes place on 9 & 10 February 2010 and will attract over 200 delegates representing 70+ regional and international telecom companies.

Register now to ensure you benefit from:

  • Dedicated networking time to meet with 200 leading executives and decision-makers from the Caribbean and international telecom market

  • 8 content-rich conference sessions updating you with the latest news and developments in Caribbean wholesale telecoms

  • Over 9+ hours of allocated time to make new contacts and hold meetings with clients and customers

    FIND OUT MORE

    To view the agenda, see a list of confirmed speakers and find out about available discounts, please click here.

    DON'T MISS OUT - BOOK YOUR PLACE TODAY

    To register, please contact Charlotte Kidd at charlotte.kidd@capacitymedia.com, tel +44 208 549 2449 or visit Capacity Caribbean 2010

    We look forward to seeing you in St. Maarten.

    Archive link for this entry: Capacity Caribbean 2010 |
  • January 6, 2010

    VI Gets $1.4 Million for Broadband Mapping

    Some local telecom companies must be loving this:

    The Virgin Islands has been awarded about $1.4 million for mapping the territory's existing broadband network and planning expansion of its telecommunications facilities, according to a statement issued Sunday by Government House.

    The federal stimulus money will allow the territory to begin a process to provide reliable broadband services to the territory's residents and businesses, Gov. John deJongh Jr. said in the statement.

    Archive link for this entry: VI Gets $1.4 Million for Broadband Mapping |

    December 14, 2009

    245 Million Users of Mobile Transaction Services by 2014 in Latin America

    Buenos Aires - December 10, 2009 - Signals Telecom Consulting, the leading telecommunications research and consulting firm for markets in Latin America and the Caribbean, announces the availability of its report entitled "Mobile Transaction Market: Banking, Payments and Money Transfers." In this study, Signals examines various mobile banking alternatives and the use of cell-phones to make payments.

    FCC Approves Sale of Vitelco and Innovative to Former Lender

    From the St. Thomas Source - the Innovative/Vitelco mess is still being cleaned up:

    "The Federal Communications Commission has approved the sale of Vitelco and its related firms to the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC), the specialized bank for rural utilities that originally lent former ICC owner Jeffrey Prosser and his corporations more than half a billion dollars. This is just one of several such governmental clearances before the transfer of the phone company, once owned by the now bankrupt Prosser, can be finalized."

    November 20, 2009

    Digicel Group increases first half profit by 10 per cent

    From Caribbean360:

    KINGSTON, Jamaica, November 19, 2009 - Mobile operator Digicel has reported a 10 per cent increase in its half year profit to US$364 million from operations in its 24 markets in the Caribbean and El Salvador. The company said it has grown its subscriber base by seven per cent in the past year to 7.3 million, and in its most recent quarter ending September 30th, added 98,000 subscribers.

    November 5, 2009

    Transfer of Vitelco, Innovate Cable Could Impact V.I. Ratepayers

    From the St. Thomas Source:

    What charges might go on the balance sheets of local utilities was a major concern of V.I. Public Services Commission (PSC) consultants as formal testimony in transfer-of-control hearings for Vitelco phone and Innovative Cable TV companies wound up Wednesday evening.

    The phone and cable companies, which are regulated by the PSC, are solvent. But their parent companies, which can be collectively called Innovative Communications or ICC, have been in bankruptcy since July 2006. National Rural Telephone Finance Corporation is the biggest creditor, and its financial arm, National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC), is seeking PSC approval to assume ownership of the regulated utilities.

    November 2, 2009

    Signals Announces The Launch Of Its New Forecasts For Triple Play In Latin America Service

    Revenue-Generating Units Will Exceed 200 Million Accesses By 2014

    Buenos Aires - November 2, 2009 - Signals Telecom Consulting, the leading telecommunications research and consulting firm for markets in Latin America and the Caribbean, announces the availability of its new service: Forecasts for Triple Play in Latin America. This service monitors growth in the number of Pay TV subscribers, broadband accesses and landlines in the seven largest telecommunications markets in Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela.

    Continue reading "Signals Announces The Launch Of Its New Forecasts For Triple Play In Latin America Service"

    October 2, 2009

    Digicel reaches 10 million subscriber mark

    KINGSTON, Jamaica, October 1, 2009 - The Caribbean's largest mobile provider Digicel has reached the 10,000,000 subscriber landmark across its 32 markets in the region, Central America and the Pacific.

    At the end of June 2009, Digicel recorded 7.2 million subscribers across its 24 markets in the Caribbean and El Salvador. It said that following its recent launch in Honduras and Panama, 1.4 million more subscribers came on board, while the six markets in the Pacific account for a further 1.4 million subscribers.

    More here.

    Archive link for this entry: Digicel reaches 10 million subscriber mark |

    September 17, 2009

    Digicel acquires Orange Dominica

    Here is some news - Digicel buying a competitor whole. Will this be a new trend in the domination of the region?

    September 14th 2009 - DIGICEL ACQUIRES ORANGE DOMINICA LTD

    Monday, 14th September 2009 - Rouseau, Dominica : DIGICEL ACQUIRES ORANGE DOMINICA LTD - Acquisition marks Digicel's continued growth in the Caribbean.

    Digicel, the largest mobile operator in the Caribbean and recent entrant to Central America, today announced that it has completed the acquisition of Orange Dominica, the wholly owned subsidiary of France Telecom.

    Since launching operations in Dominica in 2006 - following the acquisition of Cingular Wireless -Digicel has built a state of the art network, offering customers the best coverage and best value in Dominica. As part of today's announcement, Digicel has made a significant investment in expanding the capacity of the Digicel network to ensure that Orange customers moving over to the Bigger, Better Network will enjoy the best coverage, the best value and the best care in the mobile market in Dominica.

    On launching operations in Dominica, Digicel brought real competition to the mobile market through the introduction of a variety of first to market products and services such as free voicemail, call me, credit me - to name but a few - which drove change in the Dominican mobile market. Digicel is committed to ensuring that its customers receive the best network, the best service and the best value in Dominica and across of all its 32 operations worldwide.

    Richard Stanton, Country Manager of Digicel Dominica: "Today, Dominica's Bigger Better Network just got even bigger and even better with our acquisition of Orange Dominica. Orange customers are now part of Dominica's largest network calling circle and, from today, will enjoy the multiple benefits of best value, best service and best network that Digicel delivers."

    Digicel Group CEO, Colm Delves, said of today's announcement: "In just eight years, Digicel has grown rapidly and now has operations in 32 markets worldwide. Our success across the Caribbean and beyond is based on ensuring that we deliver on our commitment to providing the best mobile experience, by our willingness to choose and invest in the right technologies and innovative products and services - and by ensuring we drive value for customers day in, day out. We're delighted to be welcoming the Orange customers to Dominica's Bigger, Better Network."

    Yes it is a small market - but this could be a new trend for Digicel.

    Archive link for this entry: Digicel acquires Orange Dominica |

    September 11, 2009

    Jamaica Offers Most Robust Broadband in the Caribbean

    From Signals Telecom Consulting:

    The price gap between Cable Modem and other technologies continues to increase throughout the Caribbean. While on the 1Q08 Cable Modem rates were just 5% cheaper expensive than DSL, by 2Q09 the difference widened making Cable Modem rates 44% and 65% cheaper than DSL and fixed wireless broadband connections respectively.

    Buenos Aires - September 9, 2009 - Signals Telecom Consulting, the leading telecommunications research and consulting firm for markets in Latin America and the Caribbean, presents the Fifth Edition of its market survey "Comparative Analysis of Broadband Rates in the Caribbean." This study forms part of a research program that also covers South and Central America, and analyzes the pricing strategy of 58 broadband operators in 25 markets in the Caribbean Basin and Bermuda.

    Continue reading "Jamaica Offers Most Robust Broadband in the Caribbean"

    August 31, 2009

    New Owner for Innovative Likely by Year's End

    From the St. Thomas Source:

    August 27, 2009 -- By year's end, the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation will own ICC, parent company to Innovative Telephone Corporation and its telephone, cable television and Internet operations, Innovative President E. Clarke Garnett said Thursday.

    Garnett, speaking to Rotary of St. Croix at its weekly speaker's luncheon at Gertrude's Restaurant, said the company has digitized the television services, worked on line maintenance and was in the process of upgrading its cellular and wireless services. But the heavy lifting to upgrade and strengthen the company's network will begin after the transfer of control.

    ICC, formerly the property of ex-telecoms magnate Jeffrey Prosser, has been in bankruptcy since July 2006. National Rural's affiliate, Rural Telephone Finance Cooperative, is the lender to ICC and holds a $525 million judgment against it. Efforts to auction the component companies were hampered by the global financial crisis and in January, National Rural announced its intent to credit bid for the properties. A credit bid is when a creditor bids for a property at auction, offering not cash, but part or all of the value of the debt owed it.

    Archive link for this entry: New Owner for Innovative Likely by Year's End |

    July 14, 2009

    Bahamas Telecommunications Company for sale

    The Nassau Guardian is reporting:

    The government is today launching the formal process intended to lead to the sale of a 51 percent stake in The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), The Nassau Guardian can confirm.

    This exercise is intended to lead to bidding for the state-owned company.

    Parties interested in purchasing BTC will be required to complete a registration form and pay a US$25,000 processing fee by July 28.

    The government plans to refund the fee for any party that is not chosen to move ahead to the due diligence phase of the process, but the fee will not be refunded to any prospective buyer who moves to this next phase. In addition to acquiring a 51 percent shareholding in BTC, the new owner would also gain operational control of BTC, which currently provides services to over 334,000 wireless, 132,000 fixed line and 18,500 broadband customers throughout The Bahamas. The company currently has 190 roaming agreements in place serving more than four million tourists who visit The Bahamas each year.

    Pretty interesting - I wonder how the overall economic situation will affect the sale price and/or the ability of potential buyers to find credit or capital to buy it.

    Archive link for this entry: Bahamas Telecommunications Company for sale |

    June 10, 2009

    Atlantic Tele-Network Acquires Some Verizon Wireless Customers

    This sounds like good news for ATNI - I had been worried about the revenue streams with both the Guyana situation and the threat of competition from Digicel - but this story seems to be a solid new revenue generator:

    SALEM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATNI - News) today announced a definitive agreement to acquire certain wireless assets from Verizon Wireless for $200 million. Under terms of the agreement, ATN will acquire wireless properties, including wireless spectrum licenses and network assets, serving over 800,000 subscribers primarily in rural areas across Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Ohio, and Idaho. Verizon Wireless is required to divest these properties as part of the regulatory approvals granted for its purchase of Alltel earlier this year.

    Under terms of the agreement, ATN will purchase the assets for $200 million in cash. ATN expects to fund substantially all of the purchase price with cash-on-hand and borrowings under its existing credit facility. As of April 30, 2009, ATN had approximately $90 million in cash and cash equivalents, $75 million of available borrowings under its undrawn revolving credit facility, and an additional $50 million of borrowing capacity, subject to lender consent, under its term credit facility.

    The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, including the receipt of required consents and approvals from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC.) ATN's obligation to close the transaction is not subject to any financing condition. ATN expects the transaction to close in the third or fourth quarter of 2009.

    "This is a very attractive transaction for ATN and it accomplishes what we have been patiently seeking over the past few years," said Michael Prior, ATN's President and Chief Executive Officer. "It provides ATN with enhanced scale and revenue diversification and enables us to expand meaningfully our US wireless business. Coupled with our existing US wireless operations, we will now have significant wireless operations in rural areas of more than 10 states. Including our international operations, we expect to have more than 1,000,000 retail wireless subscribers by transaction close. We believe that our long history of operating success in comparable markets, combined with our financial resources, makes these businesses an ideal fit for us. We aim to further develop these markets for customers who want the attention and flexibility of a local operator. We look forward to transitioning the employees and subscribers of the acquired businesses to ATN and to continue building our wireless business."

    May 26, 2009

    Sale of shares in Guyana telephone company to develop ICT sector

    From Caribbean360:

    GEORGETOWN, Guyana, May 14, 2009 - The Guyana government plans to use the money from the sale of its 20 per cent stake in the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GT&T) Company to develop the country's information communication technology (ICT) sector.
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