December 30, 2003
Interconnection dispute may be first of many
From the Barbados Advocate:
Mon Dec 29 2003
By Nicholas Cox
The interconnection dispute between Cable & Wireless and Barbados’ new cellular providers is not unique to this country. Several other Caribbean countries have encountered this problem when attempting to deregulate their markets. Moreover, interconnection disputes have become so common worldwide that the issue has been addressed by International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
The ITU is an impartial international organisation which works with governments and the private sector to co-ordinate the function of telecommunications networks and services, and works to advance the wider development of communications technology.
In the recently published “Key findings from ITU Interconnection Dispute Settlement Mini Case Studies”, several points that were relevant to Barbados’ dispute were addressed.
It appears that based on the experiences of other countries, that the recent settlement is only the first step in what could be a long journey, as other disputes emerge.
The ITU document states, “Interconnection disputes may arise as a simple product of resistance to market liberalisation. Operators that dominate their markets may refuse the physical and logical connection with other networks. They may also charge prices that are so far above costs that other operators cannot provide services on a competitive basis.” One of the underlying problems of interconnection disputes related to the rapid advancement of cellular use in many countries. This was the case in India, “The extraordinary growth of mobile services is posing a challenge to fixed line operators. Frequently, regulators are finding that interconnection arrangements established early in the life of the mobile sector cannot keep pace with the dramatic changes in market share – as mobile penetration overtakes fixed line services.”
It goes on to say, “Revenue sharing contracts or interconnection pricing among operators may quickly stop reflecting commercial reality, fuelling the likelihood of disputes. Robust but flexible dispute regulation systems are crucial to ensure that the market can accommodate such underlying sector changes.”
The report then gave several examples on how regulators were drawing on external resources when they had inadequate resources to come up with effective solutions.
These included: using data from other markets to benchmark information when not available locally; employing external consultants; encouraging the use of arbitrators; and attempting to implement self- regulatory structures which would anticipate issues that will arise in disputes.
It was noted that some of the countries studied used international benchmarks to determine to build their cost models.
However, “Relying on international benchmark data raises the twin problems of how to choose the data and how to apply it to the home market, since the competitive conditions of the benchmark countries may be quite different.” Differences in the cost of labour as well as other variables might add to this problem.
Furthermore, as other conflicts emerge, the costs involved with dispute resolution were likely to become significant; therefore, other methods of arbitration might become necessary.
The ITU report noted, “Parties are less likely to engage in potentially expensive frivolous proceedings if they are likely to bear their costs.” It continued, “Some regulators take the view that since dispute resolution is part of the legislative mandate their expenses are to be borne from the regulator’s allocated budget.”
The habit of involving non-officials in dispute resolution had become more frequent in countries like Jordan, the report stated. This was because it was expected to reduce the burden on the regulatory authority. The importance of dispute prevention was then stressed, and the pursuit of each actor’s interests in an open and constructive manner was offered as a way to achieve this. The final suggestion of the report was that consensus building was a useful manner in reaching decisions.
December 23, 2003
Digicel enters Cayman market
Tuesday 23, December-2003
DIGICEL has ENTEREDyet another market in the Caribbean. This time it is the Cayman Islands, where the cell phone company has been awarded a licence to provide wireless telecommunications services there.
Seamus Lynch, chief executive officer for Digicel in the Caribbean said: “We are excited about the opportunity to be in the Cayman Islands and to work with the community to bring a new level of telecommunications services. We are also eager to contribute to the development of the local economy.
December 17, 2003
Centennial Communications Corp. Announces Second Quarter Results
WALL, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 17, 2003--Centennial Communications Corp. (the "Company") (Nasdaq: CYCL) today announced results for the quarter ended November 30, 2003.
Consolidated revenues grew 12% from the same quarter last year to $202.9 million. Net loss was $12.7 million for the second quarter as compared to a net loss of $13.5 million for the same quarter last year. Adjusted operating income (previously referred to as "adjusted EBITDA") was $79.7 million, a 13% increase from the same quarter last year. Adjusted operating income is net income (loss) before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, loss (gain) on disposition of assets, minority interest in (income) loss of subsidiaries, income from equity investments and other non-operating income (expense). Please refer to Exhibit A -- "Non-GAAP Financial Measures."
Significant events occurring during and after the quarter ended November 30, 2003 include:
-- Centennial Communications activated its one millionth wireless subscriber during the month of December. The Company has demonstrated four consecutive quarters of solid subscriber growth across both of its wireless segments along with an improving mix of postpaid customers and stronger retail financial results due to our disciplined focus on profitable customers.
-- The Company launched its global system for mobile communications ("GSM") network in its Midwest cluster ahead of schedule and within budget. We began receiving GSM roaming traffic in late November and are now offering GSM service features and phones to our retail customers in select markets. Our Midwest GSM network overlay matches our time division multiple access ("TDMA") coverage in the region on a one-to-one basis as measured by cell sites. The Company expects to launch GSM in its Southeast cluster by the end of calendar year 2004.
-- In November, 10 million shares of the Company's common stock were sold at $5.50 per share for total gross proceeds of $55.0 million. The offering included seven million primary shares sold by Centennial and three million shares sold by affiliates of The Blackstone Group. Proceeds to Centennial (after underwriting commissions) of approximately $36.8 million were used to pay down a portion of Centennial's unsecured subordinated notes due 2009 which are currently accruing paid-in-kind interest at a rate of 13%. The transaction almost doubled the public float of our stock.
The Company's wireless subscribers at November 30, 2003 were 997,200, compared to 896,800 on the same date last year, an increase of 11%. U.S. Wireless subscribers increased 2,400 from the prior quarter, aided by national rate plans which helped offset the decline in prepaid subscribers. Caribbean Wireless subscribers increased 23,300 as compared to the prior quarter, due primarily to strong growth of postpaid subscribers in both Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Caribbean Broadband switched access lines reached 45,100 and dedicated access line equivalents were 230,000 at November 30, 2003, up 22% and 35%, respectively, from November 30, 2002. Cable television subscribers were 75,000 at November 30, 2003, down 6,600 from the same quarter last year.
"The addition of our one millionth wireless customer is a significant milestone for the Company resulting from our continued commitment to building the Centennial brand. We are equally pleased by the rate of growth in our wireless portfolio in which subscribers grew by 11% and revenues grew by 12% year over year," said Michael J. Small, chief executive officer.
For the quarter, U.S. Wireless revenues were $90.1 million and U.S. Wireless adjusted operating income was $35.4 million. U.S. Wireless adjusted operating income decreased by 11% from the same quarter last year primarily due to reduced roaming revenue of approximately $6.8 million. Retail revenue per subscriber increased to $47 from $42 in the prior year, primarily due to the introduction of national rate plans.
For the quarter, total Caribbean (consisting of the Caribbean Wireless and Caribbean Broadband segments) revenues were $112.8 million and total Caribbean adjusted operating income was $44.3 million. Total Caribbean adjusted operating income for the quarter was up 42% from the same quarter last year. Caribbean Wireless revenues for the quarter reached $76.2 million, an increase of 23% from the same quarter last year. Caribbean Wireless adjusted operating income for the quarter was $30.8 million, an increase of 35% from the same quarter last year. Caribbean Broadband revenues for the quarter were $39.8 million and Caribbean Broadband adjusted operating income reached $13.5 million, up 14% and 63% from the same quarter last year, respectively.
Consolidated capital expenditures for the quarter ended November 30, 2003 were $35.6 million or 18% of revenue. Net debt at November 30, 2003 was $1,646.8 million as compared to $1,712.0 million at November 30, 2002.
For the quarter, the Company's net loss of $12.7 million includes a tax provision of $16.0 million. The Company's effective tax rate is unusually high due to book losses generated in the Dominican Republic for which, in management's judgment, it is more likely than not that a tax benefit will not be realized, state taxes net of federal tax benefit, certain interest expense related to the Company's Mezzanine Debt that is not deductible for U.S. income tax purposes and certain foreign taxes for which a foreign tax credit cannot be claimed.
Conference Call Information
As previously announced, the Company plans to conduct a conference call concerning the results today beginning at 8:30 a.m. EST. The conference call will be simultaneously webcast over the Internet. Access to the webcast is available through the Company's website atwww.centennialwireless.com, click on "Investor Relations." The conference call will also be available at www.streetevents.com. A replay of the call will be available at both sites through January 7, 2004.
Centennial is one of the largest independent wireless telecommunications service providers in the United States and the Caribbean with approximately 17.3 million Net Pops and approximately 997,200 wireless subscribers. Centennial's U.S. operations have approximately 6.1 million Net Pops in small cities and rural areas. Centennial's Caribbean integrated communications operation owns and operates wireless licenses for approximately 11.2 million Net Pops in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and provides voice, data, video and Internet services on broadband networks in the region. Welsh, Carson Anderson & Stowe and an affiliate of The Blackstone Group are controlling shareholders of Centennial. For more information regarding Centennial, please visit our websites at www.centennialwireless.com, www.centennialpr.com and www.centennialrd.com.
December 15, 2003
New Prosser company to buy majority in Belize phone company
A new company formed by St. Croix businessman Jeffrey Prosser has reached a $57 million deal to become the majority shareholder in Belize Telecommunications Ltd., the national telephone company of the Central American country.
Belize government officials said Thursday that the new company, Innovative Communication Corporation LLC, will take ownership in February of a 52.46 percent interest in the Belize company, which is being sold by Carlisle Holdings Ltd. as part of its business plan.
CDMA2000 Deployments Accelerate in The Americas
CDMA2000 is the Leading Platform for Advanced Services in the Region
MIAMI, Dec. 09, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- The CDMA Development Group (CDG) (www.cdg.org) announced today at the CDMA Americas Congress that CDMA2000(r) is rapidly expanding in the Americas with 45 commercial networks and over 29 million subscribers. Nearly 30% of 102 million CDMA subscribers in the region have access to 3G services. Capitalizing on the cost efficiencies and high-speed data capabilities of CDMA2000, operators are offering affordable voice services and have introduced advanced multimedia services to users in the region.
CDMA2000 was the first 3G technology to be deployed in North and South America in 2001. Monet Networks was first to launch in North America, while VIVO was the first Latin America carrier to deploy. In 2002, Sprint and Verizon Wireless launched their nationwide networks in the United States. Deployments accelerated in 2003, with six new networks launched in the last four months by BellSouth Chile, BellSouth Peru, Bermuda Digital Communications, Movicom BellSouth Argentina, Telefonica Moviles Peru and Telesca in Ecuador.
December 5, 2003
British Virgin Islands gets GSM roaming
CCT Boatphone, the exclusive wireless service provider of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in the Caribbean, will soon introduce GSM roaming and multimedia messaging service to the BVI. The new services are expected to be generally available in the BVI beginning in May 2004. CCT Boatphone is making a substantial investment to upgrade the communications infrastructure of the BVI with these new services.
December 4, 2003
QUALCOMM Congratulates CODETEL on Launch of Third-Generation Wireless Services
SAN DIEGO, Dec. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- QUALCOMM Incorporated , pioneer and world leader of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) digital wireless technology, congratulates CODETEL, a Verizon company and the largest operator in the Dominican Republic, on its commercial launch of third-generation (3G) CDMA2000(R) 1X services and the first commercial launch of BREW-based products and services in the Dominican Republic. CODETEL's new Uno de Codetel(TM) service is based on QUALCOMM's BREW system and enables wireless subscribers in the Dominican Republic to download useful and entertaining applications and content such as games, ring tones, location-based services and business applications wirelessly to their mobile phones over CODETEL's CDMA2000 1X network.
NextNet CEO Invited to Speak at Red Herring Fall Conference; Red Herring to Unveil Top 10 Industry Trends for 2004
MINNEAPOLIS & MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 3, 2003--NextNet Wireless, the industry's most widely deployed provider of non-line-of-sight (NLOS) broadband wireless access systems, announced today that NextNet President and CEO Guy J. Kelnhofer has been invited to speak at the Red Herring Fall Conference, December 8-10, in Monterey, CA. The 3-day event focuses on emerging technologies that are moving center stage, shaping the future today. As part of the conference, the Red Herring editorial team will unveil the "Top 10 Industry Trends" for 2004, highlighting technologies that are disrupting existing markets, and attracting significant investment. Kelnhofer will discuss NextNet's Expedience(TM) NLOS plug-and-play broadband wireless access system, and U.S. and international market growth and expansion, including the world's largest NLOS deployment in Mexico City, covering 67 million potential subscribers.
"Red Herring has invited a select group of the most exciting new companies to provide insights into their technologies at this industry event," stated David Dolnick, Red Herring Fall Editorial Director. "The showcase creates an opportunity to catch a glimpse into the future, and the impact that companies like NextNet will have on business and the bottom line, before it happens. Our focus is on the people and companies that are taking wing, pushing the edge of technology-driven innovation, and reshaping the world, using smart ideas for competitive advantage," Dolnick added.
"NextNet is honored to be a part of Red Herring's showcase of technology leaders," stated Guy Kelnhofer, NextNet President and CEO. "We are extremely pleased with our global market traction, and the industry momentum we see building for 2004. We look forward to announcing several new operator partners and commercial deployments in the coming quarter," Kelnhofer added.
NextNet's advanced NLOS Expedience system is currently deployed in cities throughout Asia, Africa, North America, Latin America, Mexico and the Caribbean. The company's OFDM-based NLOS system is an IP-based network that supports delivery of all IP-compatible broadband applications. These applications include the delivery of both voice and data services, such as IP telephony, and video streaming and conferencing. The flexible OFDM-based platform delivers consistent broadband speeds across NLOS cell ranges of up to 30 km, using indoor, plug-and-play (self-installable) subscriber units, as well as convenient outdoor (bracket-mount) NLOS subscriber units. The Expedience base station weighs just 16 kg, and mounts easily to a pole, tower, building rooftop or standard indoor rack. NextNet products are available to address the needs of residential, SOHO, SME, and MDU markets today.
December 3, 2003
First Announcement and Call for Papers
20th Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition
Hosted by UTS
World Trade Center, Curaçao
13 -16 June 2004
Bridging the Divide-A Shared Responsibility, the theme for CANTO'04, is intended to emphasize the importance of developing a well coordinated plan to achieve much higher levels of connectivity across the Caribbean in pursuit of region's social and economic development objectives. Indeed, collaboration among all stakeholders- governments, policymakers, educators, private sector and civil society is the key to unlocking the power of communications as an enabling technology in the region.
One of CANTO's major objectives is to encourage the beneficial development of telecommunications in the Caribbean. We firmly believe that this can materialize through better understanding and knowledge of issues in this fast evolving communication sector.
Accordingly, we invite you to contribute your part to assure the success of CANTO'04 by proposing a paper on one of the topics outlined in the Call for Papers. The papers presented at our previous conferences have been recognized for their quality as leading indicators of major industry trends that are important to the Caribbean. This is your opportunity to make a contribution to this tradition at our 20th Annual Conference.
For your guidance, we have prepared a session plan to encompass the following major topics during CANTO'04: Policy, Emerging Technologies, Business and Finance, Technology Solutions and Development. You may submit a proposal on a relevant topic of your choice providing it is consistent with the theme of the conference.
CODETEL and Lucent Technologies Launch Third-Generation Mobile Network in Dominican Republic
Wednesday December 3, 9:04 am ET
CODETEL'S Flash Movil 3G Network Will Provide High-Speed Data Services at Speeds of up to 144 Kilobits Per Second
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- CODETEL, one of the country's leading wireless telecommunications operators, today announced the commercial launch of its Flash Movil 3G network, a CDMA2000® 1X voice and high-speed data network using equipment, software and services from Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU - News).
With this third-generation (3G) network, CODETEL can offer subscribers new data services such as high-speed instant messaging, e-mail and Internet access at speeds of up to 144 kilobits per second (kbps). Also, the use of compression software in the network will allow CODETEL network users to reach speeds of up to 1 Megabit per second for data transmission.
"The advanced network supplied by Lucent Technologies will help CODETEL
maintain its communication services leadership in the Dominican Republic and
provide useful new services that will enable subscribers to stay even more
connected to their family and friends wherever they go," said Isabel Morillo,
senior vice president network operations, CODETEL.
CODETEL subscribers will be able to access the high-speed network with CDMA2000 1X-enabled devices or personal digital assistants (PDAs) and laptop PCs equipped with CDMA2000 1X PC cards.
CODETEL is able to offer advanced services without the need for a substantial investment in new base stations because simple software upgrades developed by Lucent were made to existing Lucent-supplied, CDMA2000 1X-ready base stations. Software upgrades also were made to Lucent-supplied mobile switching centers. The CDMA2000 1X enhancements double the voice capacity of CODETEL's CDMA network and increase data-transmission speeds by 10 times, without the need for additional spectrum.
As part of its integrated, end-to-end solution, Lucent also supplied Packet Data Serving Node (PDSN) platforms from Cisco Systems, which enable CDMA2000 operators to provide mobile data access to the Internet, as well as corporate intranets and extranets. Lucent Worldwide Services performed installation, integration, and network optimization services, as well as network design for the CDMA2000 1X network.
"The commercial launch of this 3G network will help CODETEL attract new customers through innovative high-speed data services and increased voice capacity, while also providing significant benefits to their existing subscribers," said Victor Agnellini, president, Lucent Technologies Caribbean and Latin America. "We are proud to work with CODETEL as they continue to evolve their network and offer advanced services to their growing customer base, based on our CDMA2000 solutions."
CDMA2000 is an advanced and efficient wireless technology being introduced worldwide and an international 3G standard established by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). CDMA2000 cost-effectively evolves a multitude of network technologies to support 3G services. Lucent's Mobility Solutions Group is a leading global provider of mobile networking technologies, having deployed more than 80,000 spread-spectrum base stations for mobile operators worldwide, of which more than 50,000 are supporting 3G services.
CODETEL, a Verizon Company, is the leader in the Dominican Republic for providing a wide spectrum of telecommunications services for voice and data delivery services (Full Service Provider). The company invests upwards of $200 million annually to improve the country's telecommunications infrastructure. CODETEL is considered an exemplary corporate citizen by the community and continuously demonstrates its commitment to the country through projects such as Virtual Classrooms for Education (Aulas Virtuales para la Ensenanza) and Sponsorship of the Santo Domingo 2003 Pan-American Games. For more information, visit its website at hhtp://www.codetel.com.do
About Lucent Technologies
Lucent Technologies designs and deliver the systems, services and software that drive next-generation communications networks. Backed by Bell Labs research and development, Lucent uses its strengths in mobility, optical, software, data and voice networking technologies as well as services to create new revenue-generating opportunities for its customers, while enabling them to quickly deploy and better manage their networks. Lucent's customer base includes communications service providers, governments and enterprises worldwide. For more information on Lucent Technologies, headquartered in Murray Hill, N.J., USA, visit www.lucent.com.
CDMA2000 is a registered trademark of the Telecommunications Industry Association.
Innovative Communications's Prosser Says Internet Must Not Compete With Telephone Companies
Wednesday December 3, 10:08 am ET
ST. CROIX, U.S. Virgin Islands, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Internet providers and cable television companies that offer customers local and long distance voice calling, known as VoIP, should be required to pay the same access charges as local telephone companies, according to Jeffrey J. Prosser, chairman, president and CEO of Innovative Communication Corporation.
"When calls originate or terminate on a local exchange carrier network, the voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP) providers, regardless of the technology used, should be required to pay access charges to that local telephone company, contribute to the Universal Service Fund and enter into valid commercial arrangements," Prosser said. The Universal Service Fund is a $6 billion federal program that subsidizes phone service in rural areas and Internet service for schools.
"The Internet was never intended to compete with telephone companies for long distance or other voice transmission. Now Internet providers and cable television companies who sell this VoIP service to customers compete directly with local telephone companies. The VoIP providers sell local and long distance services at a cost less than the local telephone companies because they do not pay the same fees or taxes that support public services, including Emergency 911.
"This is a disservice to the American public and an abuse of the Internet," Prosser added. "If this trend is allowed to continue, it will seriously impact small, independent rural telephone companies throughout the heartland of America. With the loss of access fees for long distance and reduced revenues, the small companies will have no other choice than to increase the cost of local telephone service. For some, it may mean bankruptcy or just closing their doors.
"The customers who will be most hurt will be those who can least afford to pay additional costs to subsidize users of voice on the Internet. State and federal regulation is needed to level the playing field," he added. "In the end, the customer loses," he says. "Regulation is needed to curb this 'free' voice-over Internet trend. Ultimately everyone will pay."
Headquartered in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Innovative is the largest independent and privately owned telephone company in the U.S. ICC is a diversified telecom and media company with extensive interests in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Sint Maarten, Saint-Martin, Guadeloupe, Martinique and France.
Source: Innovative Communication Corporation
December 1, 2003
ACE*COMM Marks Gains in Convergent Mediation Market Sector; Company Signs New Business on Both Domestic and International Fronts
GAITHERSBURG, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 1, 2003--ACE*COMM Corporation (NASDAQ:ACEC), a global provider of advanced operations support systems (OSS) solutions for communications networks, today announced that it has recently signed a number of new contracts for its Convergent Mediation(TM) solution suite, including both domestic and international customers. The Company's mediation technology is gaining further acceptance among new and existing customers, and is at work in some of the world's largest and most demanding carrier environments.