January 31, 2004

Connecting The People Of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Telephone’s New Top Management Will Invest An Additional $160 Million This Year To Launch A New Era Of Technology-Driven Services, Offer Cheaper Intra-Island Long Distance, And Improve Customer Satisfaction

By MARIALBA MARTINEZ, Puerto Rico Herald

‘Do it right the first time’: President & CEO Cristina Lambert wants Puerto Rico Telephone to become the most respected telecom company on the island. Here’s how she intends to do it.

Imagine sitting at your computer videoconferencing with your son or daughter at the University of Indiana while paying bills through your bank’s electronic checking system. While catching up on the week’s highlights, you continue monitoring your e-mail to find a notice that the movie you rented from an electronic media service will be available for viewing at home over the next three days.

Read the whole article here.

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Global rivals take toll of revenues at Cable & Wireless

By Dan Sabbagh, TIMES ONLINE

INTENSE competition has hit Cable & Wireless revenues, which slid 2 per cent during the last quarter.

The shares dropped 3 per cent as the decline, reported in a trading statement, was worse than had been predicted. Turnover between October and December was £854 million, about £10 million below City expectations.

Read the whole article here

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Revenues fall 5% at Cable and Wireless

By Maija Pesola, FT.com

Published: January 29 2004 8:53 | Last Updated: January 29 2004 8:53

Cable and Wireless on Thursday revealed that sales at the UK-based telecommunications group were continuing to decline, with sales in the third quarter down 5 per cent on last year.

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January 29, 2004

Panama Telecom report No 1, 2004

Panama is the new strategic location for Internet Data center and telecommunications companies in Latin America due to the burgeoning technology industry in the area and the country growth as a technology hub with the best submarine Fiber Optic Connection in Latin America. Leading Internet companies and Carrier are already leveraging the benefits using Panama as the gateway for the region.


(PRWEB) January 28 2004--
PANAMA TELECOM NEWS LETTER No 1 2004
Panama is the new strategic location for Internet Data center and telecommunications companies in Latin America due to the burgeoning technology industry in the area and the country growth as a technology hub with the best submarine Fiber Optic Connection in Latin America.

Leading Internet companies and Carrier are already leveraging the benefits using Panama as the gateway for the region.
Important players like Global Crossing, MCI, Sky Online, new world communication, Cable & Wireless and Nautilus have decided to install Network Operation Centers in Panama, taking advantage of the geographical location providing an abundant supply of submarine fiber optic communications circuit on both coasts and which makes possible interconnection close to north and Latin America, Asia, Europe, Africa and the world over redundant routes.


Panama has become an increasingly important technology hub for Latin America," said Nils Petterson, the founder of ALTEC1 the first internet data center in open two years ago in the City of Knowledge Tecnopark in Ft Clayton a US military base converted in a Tecnology park, research center and Education Campus, the vision of Mr. Petterson open the door for company as DELL, Telecarrier, Spherion, MCI, Unicef, Isthmus Crossing, open a presence in Panama and establish." Network Access Points (NAPs), Data Centers, Call Center aimed at supporting and serving the growing demand for those services in Latin America and a prime choice for company from anywhere in the World in need of a secure place to keep data and secure communication based on the availability of fiber optic cables, the geographical location, the fiscal incentives granted by the local government, the dollars base economy and the social stability of the country. This year Altec is opening the first Carrier Hotel were the Incumbent Telecom Company and start up find the best location and pricing to start the business to compete in the local market or to use Panama as the gateway to transit traffic to other Latin American Countries.

Most of the data transmission technologies found in developed countries like ADSL, Cable modem, ISDN, wireless , frame relay , Ethernet and ATM with support for high speeds and broadband services are widely available in Panama from several supplier including Cable & Wireless, Tele Data, Telco Virtual, GbmNet, Sky on Line. Union Fenosa, ACP (Panama Canal Authority) Isthmus Crossing and Etesa have built Telecommunication Network to compete again the main operator and offer connectivity across the Isthmus of Panama.

"Panama Internet Data center’s and Carrier Hotel gives the region's technology companies the ability to choose from the premier telecom companies to optimize their Internet presence and improve business performance and revenues the best infrastructure, security, scalability, performance, connectivity, reliability and convenience for web site an E-Business in a Tax Free environment. Response times for end users, is among the fastest in the industry, thanks to the direct access to all the mayor submarine Fiber Optic cable including Pan American, Global Crossing PAC & MAC, Maya 1, and Arcos 1.

A good news for the consumer, on january 16, 2004 the Government abolish a 1$ tax on every International call and replace the tax by a 12 % value added tax, reducing the cost for the consumer in 50% or more, this new tax apply to call using any Tecnology available including Internet .


PANAMA COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

?    Availability of several Neutral Data Center , built with world class quality and fully redundant
?    Panama is the landing point for several fiber optic sub-marine cable systems on their way to Latin America and the rest of the world including:
?    Maya 1 connecting to Honduras, Mexico and Miami
?    Pan American connecting USA, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile,
?    Global Crossing PAC network link Mexico and California and South America
?    Global Crossing MAC network link All South American Cities
?    Arcos 1 links all the Caribbean Islands and Central America territories.
?    Tax Free Environment: No Tax in the City of Knowledge and Howard.
?    The U.S. dollar is used as legal tender in Panama.
?    Banking institutions in Panama have strong ties to both Latin American and G7 countries. There are more than 120 banks in Panama City, making it a serious player in the international financial stage.
?    Panamanian law firms are amongst the world most international, and have substantial exposure to Latin American clients.
?    Panama as a distribution center for the world: Panama has long been the physical and cultural gateway to Latin America. It is the main distribution center for commercial goods and merchandise to Central and South America. The Colon Free Zone is one of the world's largest redistribution points, and as the economy of Latin America continues to expand, this trading role of Panama will grow in importance. The demand for trade financing will escalate accordingly. In the cultural sense Panama is the transition point from the industrialized world to Latin America. It is one of few countries that are equally capable in common law as in civil law; in English as in Spanish.

SECURITY:

?    No Earthquakes
?    No Hurricane
?    No active volcanoes

QUALITY OF LIFE:

?    No pollution
?    Nice weather all year round
?    Natural environment
?    Fully Bilingual

MARKET OVERVIEW
Panama's population is estimated at 3.1 million. Approximately 72% of Panamanian households have a telephone line. Local calls represent 73 % of total traffic, and the mobile market is growing very fast with 810,000 customers
The telecommunications sectors have great potential to contribute to the economic development of Panama via direct investment in technology and infrastructure. Other sectors with growth potential are depending in technology as tourism and transportation, through the multi-modal transport infrastructure that includes the canal, ports, highways, railroad and telecommunication.
The telecommunication market open in January first 2003, and a legion of company with and without experience have receive a license from the Ente Regulador de los servicios publicos the local FCC who have grander more than 1419 licenses to 176 operators, the primary objective for most of the new players is International long distance and the use of services such as VOIP (voice over Internet) and VON (voice over the net). During 2003 the price of international call get down to 0.10 a minute and will go down to 0.05 when new operator start operation, especially using VOIP.
In 2003 The Regulatory Authority has ruled that in order to provide these services a license needs to be obtained. In an apparent attempt to stem telephone company revenue losses due to Internet telephony, the news operators TELECARRIER, CLAROCOM and CABLE & WIRELESS who use the technology for reducing their cost of operation but try to block the access to the free world ask the government of Panama to block 46 UDP ports by all Internet service providers. The ports include ones that are commonly used for voice over IP as well as some that are used for other purposes, apparently with the idea that these, too, could be used to circumvent the POTS (plain old telephone system, a term of art) in making telephone calls
According to the largest local telephone company, the amount of traffic generated by VON or VOIP represents a market of approximately US$30 million. VOIP future is still unclear because the Ente Regulador must rule on the use of VOIP.
On january 16 ,2004 the National Assembly approve the Law No 98 to eliminate a $ 1.00 tax on every International Call and replace by a 12 % tax on all International Call using any Tecnology : legacy Telecom, Internet, call back, prepaid card, This steep is the first intent of the Government to reduce the lost of around     $ 30 Millions dollars the Traditional carrier are leaving to the Informal carrier as Net2Phone, Internet Telecom, DowNetwork and more 100 Internet café selling Internet call.
CALL CENTER
19 licenses has been issued for Call Centers since The government of Panama agreed to eliminate a US$1 tax on international calls in order to make call centers competitive with the rest of the world The principal participant are DELL, Health Link Networks, Language Line, Sitel, Spherion , and 5500 jobs have been already created.
ON LINE GAMBLING.
Panama has passed its fully regulated Internet Gaming laws. This makes it the only regulated jurisdiction in the world issuing licenses now to those operators wishing to stay on the good side of US law. Panama’s laws are of the same high standards as the Isle of Man, Nevada’s large casino-resorts’ choice for I-gaming. Until now a very few company have apply for the license, mainly for the huge paperwork and the cost of the license. Costa Rica is still the success story with more 6000 casinos on line and gambling site.
The expectation of a large exodus of company from other Central American country as Costa Rica and several Caribbean island were the situation is unclear and the price of bandwidth is astronomical compare to Panama as not been a success yet, Panama must review the Business model and the cost of the license in order to actively participate in this market.
MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
Two authorized operators Cable & Wireless and Bellsouth Panama are fighting each other to gain customer but the price is still the higher in the region because of this dual monopoly .Total cellular phone users reached 810,000 in 2003 with good prospects for continued growth in the future, especially pre-paid services. Approximately 85 % of the estimated total market for wireless services (US$133 million) comes from Pre-Paid Services. The remaining 15% comes from Post Paid services, oriented primarily to corporate and personal high consumption users. Bellsouth, the largest cellular operator, accounts for 55% of the market. The other 45% is controlled by Cable & Wireless Panama. In 2003 Cable & Wireless mobile launch its new GSM/GPRS platform on 850 MHz, launched to upgrade its current TDMA platform, with capability for data transmission services. Bellsouth also launch a new platform (CDMA) which was operational in December 2002. Market growth due to the new platforms is expected to be at least 16% over the prior year.
A challenger Tricom, based in the Dominican Republic, which is offering cellular-look alike products based on Motorola’s IDEN digital radio trucking technology is trying to enter the market and resolving the legal issue be resolved by the Supreme Court, regarding the services directed to the corporate market to reduce the high cost of cellular and a new company is already been sued by MultiHolding the largest share Holder of Bell South. At this moment, however, the penetration of Tricom does not go beyond 6% of the total market and they are negotiating the exit of the market.
VOICE SERVICES
Voice Services include local, domestic, international long distance and public pay phones. Since the privatization of the government-owned operator (INTEL), Cable & Wireless has been offering basic services on a five year exclusive concession. This market condition granted by law ended on January 2nd 2003, when the market was opened to competition. With 420,000 lines installed (around 12.6 lines for each 100 inhabitants) and 365,000 customer on a digital platform installed by ALCATEL and Ericsson, Panama offers first class service compare to most of the Latin American countries. The total voice market in Panama is estimated at US$ 424 million. Local Services, including domestic long distance, represent about 80% of the total.
LOCAL SERVICES
As of january 20, 2004 , over 15 new operators have applied for Basic Service concessions. Operators such as Bellsouth, Telecarrier, Cable Onda, Galaxy Communications, Tricom, one world communication, cable Onda and Advanced Communications are already in operation and a price war help the customer to get a choice a services and price. Most of those concessions are only targeting the most populated zones of the country, mainly Panama City and Colon, leaving the rest of the country to be served by Cable & Wireless. This situation is largely due to the investment required not only to provide the service but to comply with the service standards set by the local telecommunications authority. The local Player with the best position will; be cable Onda who is already offering cable TV and Internet and will be offering Local, Long Distance and International telecommunication services soon..
DOMESTIC LONG DISTANCE SERVICES
26 licenses have been issued to operators that are going to provide Domestic Long Distance. Most of the operators currently own network infrastructure being used to transport data and to provide Internet services and last mille with Cable & Wireless, the price a an National long distance call was reduce from 0.15 to 0,10 by Telecarrier, and the Ente Regulator Fine $ 200,000 Cable & Wireless for not interconnecting other Carrier.
INTERNATIONAL LONG DISTANCE (ILD)
53 licenses have been issued to new operators of ILD This use to be the most profitable market segment, requiring lower infrastructure investment... Most of the new players are relying on third party network infrastructure as Altec Carrier Hotel and Telco Virtual and local loop provider to transport voice traffic. Interconnection agreements, service level agreements and local loop availability is the most important issues being faced by new entrants in this segment, and the Dominant operator is still trying very hard to not facilitate the entry of new carriers who will be waiting on line for the next two years in the Ente Regulator take a serious look of the situation and facilitate the intercommunion process between the company, for example a intercommunion agreement with Telecarrier or Bellsouth take 2 or 3 Weeks and with Cable & Wireless at least 9 months.
PAY PHONES
15 operators have obtained licenses to offer services representing a $ 50 million dollars market mostly in the largest city, leaving the largest part of the country without telecommunication services due to the high cost of installation and operation, cable & Wireless already asking a fair treatment from the Ente Regulator for universal access.
PRIVATE VOICE CIRCUITS
42 operators have been granted licenses to offer private voice circuits since January 2003.
DATA SERVICES
At least 47 companies have licenses to offer services for last mile and Internet dedicated access solutions the widespread use of wireless technologies such as Spread Spectrum and LMDS solutions, fiber optic and ADSL targeted to corporate and private users has been evolving since 2002...
The leaders is TELECARRIER who take over several companies including Alianza viva, TeleData, net2net and Fuzion telecommunication and still trying very hard to resolve technical issue cause by a wide range of disparate equipment from several manufactures, a other incumbent player is Optynex Telecom who use existing fiber optic cable from UFINET, ACP and Global Crossing and agreement with System One World communication to resale telecommunication value added service , other smaller players are GBnet, Sky On Line( Diveo &Teleglobe) Commnet,
Data services, account for a market size of US$75 million, with approximately 9500 point-to-point private circuits in operation.
INTERNET
79 providers are trying to survive with 145,000 paid internet accounts and an average 3 users per account, and more than 4000 direct connections through leased lines and other dedicated links, Public kiosk have been install around the country by SENACYT a Government sponsor institute , and INTERED a public peering point . The number of Internet dial-up connections kept growing in 2003 with the introduction of new prepaid services and charges per minute of connection.
Cable & Wireless launched in 2003 an aggressive campaign to penetrate the Internet market with ADSL technology. The Kilobyte price for dedicated Internet access dropped significantly, as the main providers such as Cable & Wireless, Telecarrier and Cable Onda lowered their rates. The new pricing structure benefited both residential and corporate markets, reaching a level of $39 per month for a dedicated 128K connection. Internet access, hosting and first tier IP services represented approximated a US$27 million market, showing an increase of 18% over the prior year.
PANAMA MARKET SIZE
US$ Million    2000    2001    2002    2003
Population    2.9    3.0    3.0    3.1
User POT Line    429,135    381,912    386,904    365,100
Mobile user    410,401    475,141    525,845    810,00
Local call    1,241    1,146    1,099    1,068
International     39,3    39,5    39,4    39,5
National Call    397,2    378,3    416,1    394,8
call POT Line    1,677    1,593    1,554    1,5003
Data Revenue    55,0    60,0    65,0    75,0
Internet    29,0    31,0    35,0    40,0
               
DENSITY PER 100 HAB               
FIX LINE    14,6    12,7    12,6    11,7
MOBILE              13.9    15.8    17.2    26.0    
Source : Ente Regulador de los Servicios Publicos

BUSINESS OPORTUNITIES
The telecommunications sector offers excellent growth opportunities for the immediate future with very low investment using the existing infrastructure provided by Cable & Wireless and other incumbent enterprise.
THE BEST OPPORTUNITIES ARE:
IDC (Internet Data Center) and carrier Hotel, disaster recovery center, Collocation, Hosting, Data transmission and data switching, Internet access, internet Kiosk, value added mobile services.
The most growth potential is Voice over IP (VOIP) Over the last year VOIP has been considered an illegal activity by the telecommunications regulatory office but this solution is already offer by more than 40 company and the market leader is NET2PHONE who have more than 6000 customers and 90 % of the Colon Free zone customer who use to be the largest international long distance customer segment, the Ente regulator if trying is best to fine the companies without any success and is under severe pressure from international and local organization to eliminate the decision to block the 24 internet port who will create a regional chaos in the industries because of the submarine fiber optic cable carrying the traffic to the region.
On the positive side, VOIP is a reality and the new law may facilitate the use of the internet to make cheap phone call , several official carrier are using the Tecnology and Telecarrier CEO , Luis La Rocca quit is job to work with VOIP Panama one of the first legal carrier using this Tecnology to reduce the cost .
In Panama It very easy and inexpensive to apply for a license from the Ente regulator at this date more than 1,419 licenses as been issued and is no limit of the quantity of new operators. However the market tends to be highly concentrated, as 6 operators controlling 80% of the market and the red tape impose by cable & Wireless cause already several casualties with the new Carrier trying to make a “Bingo”, without experience and investment, for example Telecarrier is losing $ 675,000 monthly to enter the market and the only success story is ClaroCom who take over 32 % of Cable & Wireless International Business in the last 6 month.
The remainder are small companies operating long distance switch , trunking radio services, paging, Internet services, data transmission, fax store & forward, teletex, and many” paper company” without money or real intention to participate actively just trying to make money selling the licenses to new investors.
For complete Information related to the public services is available from the Ente web page: www.enteregulador.gob.pa that at the moment is only available in Spanish and if you are interested to enter the market without to many red tape you may use our service to speed up the process and reduce your cost, we have expert in every field including legal, technical, local support and the best location in a tax free environment in the City of Knowledge TecnoPark www.telcovirtual.com

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U.S., Costa Rica agree on trade

The pertinent paragraph:

"The two sides overcame their differences yesterday afternoon after days of intense bargaining. Costa Rica agreed to the gradual opening of private network services, Internet services and wireless services in telecommunications, and to the complete opening of its insurance market by 2011, U.S. trade officials said."

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Cable & Wireless Selects LayerOne to Maintain Critical U.S. and International Connections

ALLAS, Jan. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- LayerOne, a leading provider of network-
neutral data centers and communication services, today announced it has
finalized an agreement with Cable & Wireless plc, an international
telecommunications group with customers in over 70 countries, to maintain U.S.
and international connections via an international point of presence (POP)
with LayerOne. Cable & Wireless, which announced its intention to exit the
U.S. domestic market earlier this year, will use LayerOne's services to
maintain certain traffic flows to and from the United States and other
international markets.
"We have worked with LayerOne for a number of years to access
communications networks we do business with in the United States and Latin
America," said James Palmer, senior vice president, for Cable & Wireless. "As
we continue to support our international customers' needs in the United
States, we required a reliable supplier such as LayerOne to help us maintain
important network connections."
LayerOne operates International Gateway POPs in Dallas: Laredo, Texas; Los
Angeles; McAllen, Texas; Miami and New York. These gateways serve as network
aggregation hubs for domestic and international communications service
providers wanting to extend their networks to and from Europe, Latin America,
Mexico and the Pacific Rim. LayerOne also provides the conversion services
necessary for seamless transmission of traffic between disparate international
and domestic networks. "We make it easy for international service providers
like Cable & Wireless to do business in key U.S. markets by offering easy
access to over 300 domestic and international networks," said Brandon Freeman,
CEO of LayerOne.

About Cable & Wireless
Cable & Wireless is one of the world's leading international
communications companies. It provides voice, data and IP services to business
and residential customers, as well as services to other telecom carriers,
mobile operators and providers of content, applications and Internet services.
Cable & Wireless' principal operations are in the United Kingdom, continental
Europe, Japan, the Caribbean, Panama, the Middle East and Macau. For more
information about Cable & Wireless, go to http://www.cw.com .

About LayerOne
Dallas-based LayerOne is a privately held company that provides
infrastructure solutions to communications service providers, enterprises and
Internet-based businesses. LayerOne facilities are strategic communications
hubs where hundreds of networks physically converge. These dense
concentrations of telecommunications networks enable powerful infrastructure
solutions by combining easy on-net access with scalable bandwidth, improved
performance and IT cost containment. To learn more about LayerOne, please
visit http://www.layerone.com .

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January 28, 2004

Service Providers Choose INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO Miami 2004 in Record Numbers

Internet Telephony 2004 Miami

NORWALK, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 27, 2004--


 
Telcos, Cable Providers From Around the World Attend Leading VoIP Conference Seeking IP Telephony Solutions
 

Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC(R)), preparing to host their 9th INTERNET TELEPHONY(R) Conference & EXPO next month in Miami, Florida, released an impressive list of service provider organizations who've pre-registered to attend the event. As in past years, it is an impressive list of large and small telecom carriers and cable companies from around the world.

Among the over 300 service provider organizations expected to attend are not only major players like MCI, Sprint, Qwest, AT&T, Bellsouth and Verizon; but many regional carriers and cable companies from the U.S. and Latin America as well. A partial list appears below.

TMC President and conference chairman, Rich Tehrani, explains that INTERNET TELEPHONY(R) Conference & EXPO has always been attractive to service providers.

"Since we launched this show in 1999, service providers have been coming to see and test the latest IP equipment, to forge invaluable partnerships with equipment vendors, and to keep a close eye on competitors trying to gain market share in their regions. They can accomplish all of these goals in a setting focused on VoIP," said Tehrani.

He added, "Our show last fall in Long Beach, California attracted over 250 service providers. And so far more than 20% of pre-registered attendees for Miami are service providers. We expect more service provider companies will be represented at this show than any other IP telephony conference in the world."

Click here for the companies attending

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iFreedom Communications Opens New Markets in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands For Distributors

iFreedom Communications, an emerging company in the Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) and Voice over Internet Protocal (VoIP) industry, that provides small business and residential customers flat rate calling, today announced the new additions of Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands for Distributors.


(PRWEB) January 27 2004--iFreedom Communications is excited to announce two new markets, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands, for the aquisition of distributors.

"iFreedom Communications was formed, based on a technology that provides the ability for people to communicate anywhere in the world and talk as much as they would like without any per minute charges. In its simplest form, iFreedom has made the world a local phone call away", said iFreedom's Chairman and C.E.O. Tim Ringgenberg. Individuals have the opportunity to be a part of this emerging industry by being a distributor for iFreedom. The company has positioned the distributor to be able to create an income from the customers that are aquired. Jeremy McMillan, Director of Sales and Marketing, stated "I am excited for the opportunity to open these two markets. Not only will this bring revenue for us as a company, but Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well. We can now provide a positive impact and revenue to their local economies."

For information you can contact Seth Rinngenberg at the home office in Laguna Hills, CA. at 949-461-9266. You may email him as well at seth@ifreedomcom.com .

ABOUT iFREEDOM
iFreedom Communications International Limited is a privately held Hong Kong company. It includes wholly owned subsidiaries in the U.S., Philippines, and Hong Kong where it does business in each country.

iFreedom is poised to capitalize on the opportunities that exist with the convergence of the communication, technology, and Internet industries, specifically in the VoIP [Voice over Internet Protocol] and WiFi [Wireless Fidelity] sectors. The Company’s core competencies include niche marketing of innovative communication and technology products through a direct sales distribution model.

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January 26, 2004

Consumers ‘reap benefits’

CABLE & Wireless (C&W) says it passes on all cost savings derived through its Contact Centre to consumers.

However, Financial Controller Gordon Cochrane told the public hearing into the company’s rate hike application that he did not have a figure for the reduced costs.

The hearing was continuing before the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) yesterday at Manor Lodge, Green Hill, St Michael.

In response to intervenor Alvin Thorpe, Cochrane said that Barbados, as the host business, would have benefited from cost reductions, as would the other C&W businesses.

“It allows the company, perhaps, to participate in greater economies of scale,” said Cochrane, who was spending his tenth day on the witness stand.

“But, certainly, the key imperative from this is to reduce costs for all of the businesses across the Eastern Caribbean.”

Asked what portion of those savings was passed on to consumers, Cochrane replied: “To the extent that this reduces costs to the business, all of those cost savings are passed on.

“In the Test Year (April 2001-March 2002), the costs that are being applied for as part of the revenue requirements are all of the costs of the business, so any benefits that arise through efficiencies, and through the many efforts the company made to reduce its costs, flow back to the consumer through this process we have today.”

The intervenor wanted to find out the real purpose of the Contact Centre, (also known as a call centre), who owned and financed it, where its profits went, and whether it was a locally-owned C&W company or part of the umbrella group.

Cochrane said the Contact Centre did not operate as a separate company but was a department within the C&W (Barbados) company. He said it didn’t make profits but incurred costs, which it recharged to all the people who used it, that is, the C&W companies in the Eastern Caribbean.

According to him, it replaced the telephone operators and people who provided numbers for Directory Enquiries and answered billing queries in each of the companies.

“The Contact Centre has pulled all of that together in the interest of more efficient operations into one building, where we have specialist people who deal with all of those calls,” Cochrane added.

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Best Western hotels to install free high-speed Internet chainwide

HOENIX (AP) — Best Western International Inc. will offer free high-speed Internet in all 2,300 of its hotels in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean, its chief executive said Friday.


"It's the No. 1 amenity requested by virtually everyone, especially businesspeople, said Tom Higgins, CEO and president of the Phoenix-based hotel chain. "High-speed Internet for free is going to be where it's at."


Only about 10 to 15% of Best Western hotels currently have high-speed access, but Higgins said it will be available chainwide by September.


"Come Sept. 1, when you see a Best Western sign, you'll know they have it. That's the comfort we want to provide for the traveling public," he said.


In each of the hotels, at least 15% of the guest rooms and public areas will have high-speed Internet access. The company will also make wireless cards available at the front desk for guests who are in rooms without hard wiring.


Additionally, the hotel's corporate office will make a toll-free number available around-the-clock for guests who have difficulty connecting to the Internet.


Some other hotel chains are adding high-speed service, but many continue to charge for access.


Higgins predicts that other hotels will also be forced to offer free service eventually because travelers have become so dependent on e-mail and Internet services.


"Everybody is going to be here. It's just a matter of how soon they're going to get there," he said.


Higgins also noted that travelers remain price sensitive and are weary of being charged for every amenity they use at a hotel from the phone to the pool to the workout room.


"People are tired of being nickeled and dimed at hotels," he said.

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January 22, 2004

DIGICEL TO SPREAD WINGS IN CARIBBEAN

From OnBusiness

Denis O'Brien's Caribbean business Digicel plans to launch new services in Barbados and the Cayman Islands within the next six weeks, and the firm also has ambitions to target business customers with a fixed line through wireless service, the Irish Independent reports.


Seamus Lynch, Digicel's chief executive officer, told the paper yesterday that the company now had 950,000 mobile subscribers in the Caribbean and had overtaken incumbent Cable & Wireless in terms of market share, laying claim to 65% of mobile subscribers in the region.


So far, the firm has invested €500m in the Caribbean and apart from Jamaica, provides services in Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Aruba.

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Digicel heading for Barbados, Cayman Islands

Entrepreneur Denis O'Brien's Caribbean business Digicel is to launch new services in Barbados and the Cayman Islands within the next six weeks, and the firm also has ambitions to target business customers with a fixed line through wireless service, the Irish Independent reports today.

So far, the firm has invested €500m in the Caribbean.

Seamus Lynch, Digicel's chief executive officer, told the Irish Independent that the company now had 950,000 mobile subscribers in the region and had overtaken Cable & Wireless in terms of market share there, laying claim to 65% of mobile subscribers in the Caribbean.

The board of Digicel includes well-known businessmen Osmond Kilkenny and Leslie Buckley.

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January 15, 2004

Trango markets fixed wireless in Latin America

Jan. 14, 2004 12:40 PM EST

SAN DIEGO—Trango Broadband Wireless said it plans to begin marketing its high-speed radio frequency Internet product line in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“In the past year, we received a flood of requests for our brand of fixed-wireless broadband systems from the Latin American marketplace,” explained Chuck Eapen, vice president of international sales at Trango. “In response to overwhelming interest, we have dedicated a good portion of our manufacturing and marketing resources to focus on the international market, with South America, Mexico and the Caribbean in particular.”

Trango expects to launch its Spanish language Web site later this month and exhibit at Expo Comm Mexico 2004 in Mexico City in early February to kick off its campaign.

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January 14, 2004

Trango Broadband Wireless Embarks on Latin America Campaign

EXPO COMM MEXICO 2004

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 12, 2004--Trango Broadband Wireless, an industry leader in the fixed multi-point wireless broadband systems, today announced that the company would begin marketing its high-speed radio frequency (RF) Internet product line throughout Latin America and parts of the Caribbean. Trango will initiate the campaign by launching its Spanish language Web site on January 31 and exhibiting the EXPO COMM MEXICO 2004, February 10-13 in Mexico City.


"In the past year, we received a flood of requests for our brand of fixed wireless broadband systems from the Latin American marketplace," said Chuck Eapen, vice president of international sales at Trango Broadband. "In response to overwhelming interest, we have dedicated a good portion of our manufacturing and marketing resources to focus on the international market, with South America, Mexico and the Caribbean in particular."

Trango Broadband has currently laid out plans to advertise in publications and website exclusive to Latin American market, as well as tradeshow exhibits and strengthening distribution channels in those areas.

About Trango Broadband Wireless

Trango Broadband, a division of Trango Systems, is located in San Diego where it conducts all of its engineering, manufacturing and sales activities. The company designs and manufactures robust, high-performance wireless solutions for broadband service providers and IT professionals. Founded to provide affordable and reliable means of extending high-bandwidth services to residential, business and campus environments, Trango has been developing innovative point-to-point and point-to-multipoint wireless transmission technologies and solutions since 1996. For more information on Trango Broadband, visit our Web site at www.trangobroadband.com.

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January 10, 2004

Cable & Wireless, AT&T know it’s all about turf

From the Barbados Advocate:

Web Posted - Sat Jan 10 2004
By David "Joey" Harper

The question as to whether Cable & Wireless, the sole telecommunications provider in Barbados, should switch their billing system to metered rates or not rages on. The bigger picture that has been systematically kept from the view of and scrutiny by the consumer, is the question of fixed rates and to what extent will they be affected by the rate hike that is Cable & Wireless’ ultimate goal.

There is a very real possibility that the rates may leap forward by almost one hundred per cent a month, from the current twenty eight dollars a month domestic rate to fifty-six dollars a month. This could easily be done while the population sniffs behind an in heat rate hearing conveniently called “metered rate hearings”, being convened by a woefully inadequate Fair Trading Commission, peopled by persons of unquestionable intellect, but short in some cases on experience in dealing with multinational giants accustomed to challenging citizens and their representative governments.

The battle now being fought is not completely, if at all, about rates, for they already know the outcome. It is a battle for turf, fought daily by these economic behemoths. This battle is not about the smaller players in the game, it is about two multinational giants, AT&T and Cable & Wireless. These companies will fight as vigorously for turf, it is not about ego, but about positioning internationally.

I was introduced to the real world of territorial business warfare when introduced into the lottery business, at a conference in Chile. I was privileged to be seated beside one of the leaders in the industry; she was the head of a major lottery destination and knowledgeable in the ways of the marketplace.

“Why”, I asked her, “were service providers so interested in the Barbados market, which yielded by lottery standards a puny seventy three million Barbados dollars, approximately thirty-six million United States dollars, the weekly takings of some of the major lottery markets?”

Her response was simple, “Gtech,” she said, “could not afford to allow any competitive service provider to enter, without a major challenge any market that they had pioneered, the cost of maintaining a marginal market like Barbados was way beyond that of any state lottery, but the internationalisation of the brand name Gtech was more important than profits; it gave them the ability to quote on more lucrative markets and win, using the fact that their base was worldwide, efficient in small infrastructurally difficult or in the case of Barbados, a hub that would lead to Caribbeanisation of their lottery base.”

This condensed conversation led me to realise the threat that small countries such as ours face, especially in a world of journalists whose investigative reporting skills were greatly hampered by the need to maintain competitive in the corporate controlled advertising market, not only in cost, but in compliance to invisible rules set down by national and multinational corporations, which are depended on for support by social agencies, suppliers of advertising and governments.

The above constitutes the re-colonisation of the Caribbean by multinational corporations. This is most interesting and is progressing with an efficiency that should be the model for any political science student to base a doctoral thesis.

The effects of this new development which will create intense hardships for the colonised, purely because of the two hundred and fifty thousand souls who people our country, very few are business literate beyond the ABCs of international intrigue, whether honest or dishonest as Enron et al will demonstrate. The failure of these soulless entities can spell economic disaster to small states dependent on their services, as job providers and economic motivators of our fragile economies.

The de-literisation of the masses of young people is also a phenomenon, the Internet has the capacity to educate, but is it possible that this is not exactly what the world of international commerce wants, and therefore if the cost to access the net can be made prohibitive to the masses, would this not create the type of dependency on the privileged who can afford to maintain the surfboard, well waxed and able to ride the encroaching business tsunami which could make environmental kick-em-jenny appear as a blessing?

I ask these questions because my fear is that our leaders are not moving beyond the borders of their own little empires, fuelled by egos that deceive them into believing that they are players in the bigger world picture.

Deals are being brokered daily on private jets commuting between Tobago and Barbados that will have significant repercussions on sleeping Barbadians. The press is from time to time entertained on these flights, and even though I trust the integrity of our press corps, I know that it is hard to probe those who are acting as your hosts. Sometimes snippets of information are revealed, but prudence and journalistic ethics will not allow even the boldest journalist to reveal, sometimes this can be unfair to a public that depends on the media to investigate, reveal and report.

I am not happy that the rate hearing, apart from the dramatic appeal which it generates, will have any effect on the true motive of the parties competing for and against increased rates. I do not believe that the fledgling FTC is really ready to deal with the massive job of intrigue and Public Relations blitzes, as well as marketing strategies that are being played out on a gullible market.

My ninety-nine dollar cell just rang, and I marvel at the fact that this same unit can be purchased on the Internet for one cent, by the average consumer, and a fifty dollar rebate offered in the form of a card if you purchase two. If this offer extends to any service provider, can you imagine the profit that accrues every time you line up to purchase that dream of a deal?

But who bothers to surf the net to investigate international trends? Not many people, and in the future it may be so costly, that home surfing may suffer and only the few who really need to will visit the Internet cafés, or should we now label them “beaches”?

Government should come off “autopilot” and start educating the masses on the effects that globalisation will have on a sleeping population, casting blame on the recalcitrance of neighbouring territories ceases to be an option. Our government has a responsibility to awaken from its self-imposed political slumber and come to the public, not within the confines of town hall meetings which serve less use than the “regular caller” dominated call-in programmes.

In order to counter the attempt to recolonise small states such as ours, the masses must be armed with easy-to-understand information. History may record that you aided and abetted in committing the crime of allowing smothering bureaucracy to cheat the masses of the chance to set in place positive social structures to strengthen its immune system against the corporate multinational colonialism that seeks to finally destroy the will of our people.

Metered rates! As a matter of fact, it is a turf war and the prize is the credibility of Barbados, settled years ago by Barbadians that were proud to be just that, Barbadians.

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January 6, 2004

Cable & Wireless Selects Nortel Networks for VoIP Infrastructure in Cayman Islands; Next Generation Network Expected to Deliver Advanced Multimedia Services, Reduce Costs

GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 6, 2004--Cable & Wireless Cayman Islands has selected Nortel Networks (NYSE:NT)(TSX:NT) to provide a next generation network that will converge existing voice, data and Internet services onto one advanced packet infrastructure to help drive increased network efficiency and reduced network costs.

Under an agreement estimated at US$17 million over two years, Nortel Networks will deploy products from its Succession voice over IP (Internet Protocol) and Multimedia Communications portfolios as well as professional services, positioning Cable & Wireless to provide customers in the Cayman Islands with advanced multimedia services like video calling.

With a voice over IP (VoIP) network, customers in the Cayman Islands are expected to eventually be able to customize their communications to fit personal needs, and to consolidate services like e-mail, mobile, home and work phones onto a single number or address.

A packet infrastructure allows voice information to be broken down into 'packets' and transmitted over a data network, maintaining the quality of the voice and the communication experience. By enabling voice, video and data traffic to reside on a common network, Cable & Wireless will be positioned to derive operating and capital efficiencies. The packet network is also expected to provide additional network capacity and centralized network management, positioning Cable & Wireless to rapidly deploy new services.

"Cable & Wireless is committed to providing leading-edge communications services to customers in the Cayman Islands and in the region," said Tim Adam, chief executive of Cable & Wireless Cayman Islands. "Nortel Networks has the proven technology and the expertise to understand our requirements and implement an advanced IP network that will enable us to quickly deploy those new services that our customers demand."

"Cable & Wireless is building an advanced IP infrastructure that eliminates the traditional boundaries between voice and data networks, and between voice and data services," said Norberto Milan, managing director, Caribbean, Nortel Networks. "We look forward to continuing our more than 30-year relationship with Cable & Wireless in the Caribbean, and to working closely with them in the Cayman Islands to ensure a smooth evolution and to help them meet their business objectives."

Nortel Networks solution for Cable & Wireless Cayman Islands will include Nortel Networks Multimedia Communication Server 5200, which uses open standards-based software and commercially available hardware to help service providers deliver a rich suite of multimedia and collaboration services that can be seamlessly integrated with existing telephone services.

It will also include the latest IP enhancements to Nortel Networks Succession Media Gateway 9000, a leading-edge access gateway designed to smoothly transition revenue-generating telephony services onto a packet infrastructure. Cable & Wireless Cayman Islands is expected to be the second service provider worldwide to deploy these enhancements.

Cable & Wireless will also deploy Nortel Networks Succession Communication Server 2000-Compact superclass softswitches, and products from the Nortel Networks Passport and Nortel Networks OPTera portfolios.

In addition to network equipment and services, the agreement includes professional services that range from design through to network operation assistance and maintenance support.

Nortel Networks has a proven portfolio for packet voice and multimedia services that enable the delivery of solutions across all four carrier voice over packet market applications: cable, local, long distance and wireless. In the first and second quarters of 2003, Nortel Networks ranked #1 in the global markets for voice over IP and voice over ATM ports shipped and in global softswitch revenue, according to Synergy Research Group.

Cable & Wireless is one of the world's leading international communications companies. It provides voice, data and IP (Internet Protocol) services to business and residential customers, as well as services to other telecoms carriers, mobile operators and providers of content, applications and Internet services. Cable & Wireless' principal operations are in the United Kingdom, continental Europe, the United States, Japan, the Caribbean, Panama, the Middle East and Macau. For more information about Cable & Wireless, go to www.cw.com.

Nortel Networks is an industry leader and innovator focused on transforming how the world communicates and exchanges information. The Company is supplying its service provider and enterprise customers with communications technology and infrastructure to enable value-added IP data, voice and multimedia services spanning Wireless Networks, Wireline Networks, Enterprise Networks, and Optical Networks. As a global company, Nortel Networks does business in more than 150 countries. More information about Nortel Networks can be found on the Web at www.nortelnetworks.com.

Certain information included in this press release is forward-looking and is subject to important risks and uncertainties. The results or events predicted in these statements may differ materially from actual results or events. Factors which could cause results or events to differ from current expectations include, among other things: the sufficiency of our restructuring activities, including the potential for higher actual costs to be incurred in connection with restructuring actions compared to the estimated costs of such actions; continued reductions in spending by our customers; fluctuations in operating results and general industry, economic and market conditions and growth rates; the communication by our auditors of the existence of material weaknesses in internal control; the ability to recruit and retain qualified employees; fluctuations in cash flow, the level of outstanding debt and our current debt ratings; the ability to meet the financial covenant in our credit facilities; the use of cash collateral to support our normal course business activities; the dependence on our subsidiaries for funding; the impact of our defined benefit plans and our deferred tax assets on our results of operations, cash flows and compliance with our financial covenant; the dependence on new product development and our ability to predict market demand for particular products; the ability to integrate the operations and technologies of acquired businesses in an effective manner; the impact of rapid technological and market change; the impact of price and product competition; barriers to international growth and global economic conditions, particularly in emerging markets and including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of rationalization in the telecommunications industry; changes in regulation of the Internet; the impact of the credit risks of our customers and the impact of customer financing and commitments; stock market volatility generally and as a result of acceleration of the settlement date or early settlement of our purchase contracts; risks associated with a consolidation of our common shares; the impact of supply and outsourcing contracts that contain delivery and installation provisions, which, if not met, could result in the payment of substantial penalties or liquidated damages; the future success of our strategic alliances; and the adverse resolution of litigation, intellectual property disputes and similar matters. For additional information with respect to certain of these and other factors, see the most recent Form 10-Q and Form 10-K filed by Nortel Networks with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Unless otherwise required by applicable securities laws, Nortel Networks disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Nortel Networks, the Nortel Networks logo, the Globemark, Business Without Boundaries, Succession, Passport and OPTera are trademarks of Nortel Networks.

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Cable & Wireless needs Caribbean, UK focus after topping FTSE Index

Web Posted - Tue Jan 06 2004

The future fortunes of Cable & Wireless Plc are very much in the hands of its Caribbean and UK operations.

The company, whose shares last year topped the UK benchmark index with their biggest gain in at least 15 years, must reverse declining revenue at its UK unit and boost regional sales to send the stock higher.

Robert Kuin, who manages about $186 million of telecommunications stocks at the Paris office of Fortis Investments Ltd, in recent comments in the international Media said the future of Britain’s second-largest phone company lay in “operational improvements” in its Caribbean and UK businesses.

Before last year, Cable & Wireless stock was the FTSE 100 Index’s worst performer for two years. The shares were worth 44 pence last January and tripled in the following 12 months to 133.5 pence. In the same period, the FTSE rose 14 per cent. About 7.9 billion Cable & Wireless shares traded in 2003, more than any other year since at least 1989.

Chief Executive Officer Francesco Caio took charge in April and within two months said the 131-year-old company would exit the US, restructure the UK division and develop its national businesses. In December, he put the American unit under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and agreed to sell it. Investors and analysts now want Caio to make good on his other pledges.

“People will want to see some kind of evidence of execution to justify any upward rating,’’ said Matthew Bloxham, an analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co. with an “in-line” recommendation on the stock.

In the Caribbean division, the company’s second-largest, fiscal first-half sales dropped 16 per cent to 341 million pounds after international calls opened to competition in Jamaica in March and because of an 18 per cent decline in the Jamaican dollar against the UK pound.

Caio has dismantled the company’s Global and Regional units, handed local managers their own balance sheets and made then accountable to London.

“In the early part of 2004, the fundamentals are going to struggle because of the currency effects,’’ said Goldman’s Bloxham.

The Jamaican dollar slipped 8.7 per cent against the British pound in the last three months, the Japanese yen fell 3.2 per cent and the US dollar declined 6.9 per cent.

After a year of suspended dividends, Cable & Wireless hasn’t yet decided on a payment to shareholders for the year ending March 2004, Chairman Richard Lapthorne said last month. The company had 1.62 billion pounds in cash at the end of September and Lapthorne said the company wasn’t “in a hurry” to part with it.

“think they will go for a meager dividend and concentrate on getting the company back on its feet,” said Andrew Darley, an analyst at ING Financial Markets with a ``hold’’ recommendation on the stock.

In the six months ended in September, Cable & Wireless’ UK business, its largest, posted an operating loss of nine million pounds ($16 million) compared with a loss of 211 million pounds a year earlier and the 131-year-old company said demand was “flat”.

A quarter of the British workforce is being cut within two years and some workers have been moved from the London headquarters, the company said. Revenue at the unit fell four per cent to 825 million pounds, extending a two-year decline. “All we can now do is look at the fairly tragic fundamentals,’’ said ING’s Darley.

Duplication of costs in areas such as software and network routing may allow the company to boost its UK margin even without revenue growth, Darley said.

“There are so many easy ways to cut costs that Cable & Wireless should only really have problems improving after two to three years,” he said.

Fixed costs from the US unit are being transferred to the rest of the group and customers may take business to competitors because Cable & Wireless has withdrawn from the US, the company said last month. The two factors may lower fiscal fourth-quarter operating profit by as much as 15 million pounds, the company said.

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January 1, 2004

Cable & Wireless Jamaica selects Nortel for GSM overlay

From RCR Wireless News:

Dec. 30, 2003 12:02 PM EST

WASHINGTON—Cable & Wireless Jamaica Ltd. has purchased cellular communications equipment from Nortel Networks Inc. and eight other U.S. exporters as part of a $173 million project. Export-Import Bank of the United States is guaranteeing a $72.3 million seven-year loan to the U.K.-based telecommunications provider.

Cable & Wireless is in the process of overlaying its TDMA networks in all its Caribbean mobile markets with GSM/GPRS technology. Nortel will supply the GSM network with islandwide coverage and upgrade the carrier’s existing data transmission landline network.

In addition to Nortel’s U.S. subsidiary, Hewlett-Packard Co., PowerTech Services, Digital Island, Glenayre Electronics, Tallard Technologies, Global Communications Consulting and Rohn Industries will provide equipment, software and services for the new network.

Ex-Im Bank said it is guaranteeing a loan by Citibank N.A. to Cable & Wireless Jamaica.

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