March 28, 2007

2007 Latin America - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in Mexico and the Caribbean

Telecommunications in the Dominican Republic is One of the Fastest Growing and Most Competitive Sectors of the Economy

DUBLIN, Ireland--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c52798) has announced the addition of 2007 Latin America - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in Mexico and the Caribbean to their offering.

This report provides information on Mexico and the Caribbean Countries (Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and small island nations). Each country has its own chapter and covers the following subjects.

Key Statistics

Market and Industry Overviews

Regulatory Environment

Major Players (fixed and mobile)

Infrastructure

Mobile Voice and Data Markets

Internet, VoIP

Broadband (DSL, cable, wireless)

Pay TV and Convergence

Topics Covered

1. Caribbean Small Island Nations

2. Cuba

3. Dominican Republic

4. Haiti

5. Jamaica

6. Mexico

7. Puerto Rico

8. Glossary of Abbreviations

Exhibits and Tables

Summary

The region comprising the Caribbean Sea and its numerous islands is commonly known as the Caribbean. It lies south of the Gulf of Mexico, covering an area of about 2,754,000 sq km. For many years, it was referred to as the West Indies; however, the name Caribbean has been universally adopted since the early 20th century. Varying considerably in size, the Caribbean islands form a wide arc between Florida in the north and Venezuela in the south, as well as a barrier between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

Caribbean Countries: These countries include Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands, and the US Virgin Islands. Despite being relative small markets by global standards, telecommunications has become one of the Caribbean’s major growth industries. Liberalisation agreements have been reached in most countries, and Cable and Wireless, historically the monopoly provider of telephone services in many Caribbean markets, is facing growing competition, especially in the mobile sector, where Mossel-owned Digicel has made a meteoric ascent. From 2001, when it first launched GSM services in Jamaica, it has grown into a pan-regional mobile provider, with operations in over 15 Caribbean nations.

Cuba: Despite strong economic growth in 2006, Cuba still occupies last place in this region for Internet penetration and is second lowest in fixed-line teledensity. The potential demand for international telephony services is high as Cuba has the largest population in the Caribbean. However, in early 2007 supply was still constrained by the US embargo, which has prevented the implementation of submarine fibre-optic cables, as well as by Cuba’s information security laws. Thus Cuba still has to rely almost exclusively on satellites for international connectivity. In addition, Cubans cannot legally buy a computer or subscribe to an ISP without having a government permit. Mobile rates are prohibitive for the vast majority of Cubans. Etecsa, controlled 73% by the government and 27% by Telecom Italia, holds a monopoly in both fixed and, through its subsidiary Cubacel, in mobile services.

Dominican Republic: Telecommunications in the Dominican Republic is one of the fastest growing and most competitive sectors of the economy. Despite a relatively modern telecom system, the Dominican Republic’s fixed-line teledensity lags well behind the Latin American average. In contrast, with about five times more mobile phones than fixed lines, mobile penetration is about average for Latin America. Verizon Dominicana, the dominant provider of fixed-line and mobile telephony, as well as Internet services, was acquired by Mexico’s América Móvil in December 2006, ushering the entry of the largest Latin American telco into the Dominican market. Following the acquisition, in February 2007 Verizon Dominicana’s fixed line business was renamed Codetel, the company’s original name, whilst the mobile business was rebranded Claro. The economic recovery of 2005 and 2006 is encouraging telcos and cable companies to undertake new investments in emerging services such as wireless broadband and VoIP.

Haiti: Fixed-line teledensity in Haiti is the lowest in Latin America. Fixed-line services are provided by state-owned monopoly operator Teleco which is inefficient and poorly managed. In addition, political unrest has severely affected investments in a country where most people have no electricity or running water. In contrast, in May 2006 the Haitian mobile sector received a significant boost when Digicel launched the fourth mobile network. In its first eight months of operation Digicel claimed to have secured over 1 million subscribers, thereby ushering in a new era of mobile competition. Internet access is also open to competition although it remains constrained by low teledensity. WLL and VoIP are in part being used to supplement the shortage of fixed lines.

Companies Mentioned

- Alestra - Axtel - Centennial de Puerto Rico (CPR) - Centennial Dominicana - Codetel (formerly Verizon Dominicana) - Digicel - Economitel - Empresa de Telecomunicaciones del Cuba SA (Etecsa)- GoTel Communications Ltd - Iusatel - Marcatel - Maxcom - Megacable - Protel - Puerto Rico Telephone Company (PRTC) - Telefónica Larga Distancia de Puerto Rico (TLD)- Teléfonos de México (Telmex) - Tricom - Turitel SA.

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March 20, 2007

Zupintra Communications Inc. forms Joint Venture with Italba Corporation

MIAMI, FL, March 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Zupintra Communications Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Phinder Technologies Inc. OTC BB "PHDT", is pleased to announce it has formed a telecommunications joint venture corporation with Italba Corporation, to be based in Panama City, Panama. The joint venture will be known as Zupintra Panama, Inc. and will focus on developing next generation telecommunications opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean, including VOIP, broadband wireless data, IPTV and WiMax.
"Latin America is one of the key frontiers in the advancement of next generation telecommunications networks." stated John Alexander (Lex) van Arem, CEO of Phinder Technologies Inc. "Italba has a unique and broad knowledge of the telecommunications industry in Latin America, this joint venture catapults Zupintra into an immediate leadership role in this rapidly growing area of the world."

"Zupintra is the first company to commit to the real advancement of telecommunications for the common man in Latin America." stated Gustavo Alberelli, CEO of Italba Corporation Inc. and new Managing Director of Zupintra Panama. "We are delighted to be associated with Italba, whose long standing dedication to Latin America is unparalleled in the industry." stated Christopher G. Hall, Chief Operating Officer of Zupintra Communications Inc.
Italba Corporation is a world class provider of telemedicine services in Latin America and the Caribbean and has been the leading provider of satellite broadband data services throughout Latin America for the last four years.
Phinder Technologies' core business runs through its wholly owned subsidiary, Zupintra Communications Inc. Zupintra is a facilities based retailer and wholesaler of international voice traffic within the carrier to carrier network. As a wholesale VoIP provider, Zupintra Communications Inc. holds both origination and termination contracts with PTT's and next generation carriers.

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March 16, 2007

Huawei & Digicel Deliver Seamless 3G in Caribbean

Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. , announced that it has partnered with Digicel Group ("Digicel") to deliver a CDMA2000 1xEV-DO network in Caribbean, allowing the Caribbean's largest GSM mobile operator to provide international roaming and mobile data services to its CDMA customers.

Shenzhen, China, March 15, 2007 (XTVWorld.Com) -- The first stage of the project includes five of Digicel's 22 markets including Jamaica, Bermuda, Aruba, Cayman Islands and Barbados. With the CDMA2000 1xEV-DO network, Digicel is now the first GSM operator in the region to simultaneously offer GSM and CDMA services, and travelers to this region will be able to roam on Digicel's network and experience seamless CDMA roaming service.

According to Mr. Mario Assaad, Digicel Group Chief Technology Officer (CTO): "Huawei will help us deliver the most seamless and intelligent CDMA international roaming and high speed wireless data services in the main tourism areas along the Caribbean Sea. When traveling to the Caribbean, many U.S. mobile customers used to experience poor service and erratic network coverage from CDMA Caribbean operators. Now, they can come to the Caribbean and be assured of reliable mobile service by roaming on our seamless mobile network."

"We are delighted that our cutting-edge technology and services are supporting Digicel to realize market opportunities in the Caribbean," Mr. Jiang Yafei, President of Latin America Region department at Huawei, said. "Caribbean's telecommunications market is growing rapidly, and Huawei will provide the best solutions and user-friendly services to support Digicel's requirements on network and service."

Leveraging on its understanding of the coverage regions, Huawei has delivered solutions that fully satisfies Digicel's requirement for fast and efficient project implementation. In this project, Huawei adopted its industry-leading CDMA2000 outdoor macro BTS in large quantities, which enables convenient deployment as only power supply and transmission resource are needed to be connected to the cabinets. This eliminates the need for construction of equipment rooms and installation and debugging of auxiliaries, and in turn allows deployment to be rolled out within a shorter time period.

As at December 2006, Huawei has won 31 CDMA2000 1x EV-DO commercial contracts, with its CDMA networks serving 60 million subscribers worldwide. As the global leader in CDMA, Huawei continues to use innovative technologies to meet customers' needs and enable them to create long-term value and potential g

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Centennial completes sale of mobile unit

Caribbean and US mobile holding company Centennial Communications has completed the sale of its Dominican Republic unit Centennial Dominicana for US$80mn to US-based holding company Trilogy International Partners, the parent company said in a statement.

Centennial announced the sale in November 2006, but according to local press reports was waiting approval from the DR telecoms watchdog Indotel.

This is the second mobile operator to be sold in recent months in the Dominican Republic.
In December, Mexico's América Móvil completed the purchase of Verizon Dominicana from US telco Verizon in a deal delayed by demands from the government tax agency for a US$518mn tax on the US$2bn deal. Though the final tax payout was not disclosed, it was significantly reduced, BNamericas previously reported.

The Centennial sale moved through the regulatory approval process with less fanfare and Centennial said in its statement that it expects to complete the cash exchange by April 11. Outside the US, Centennial still has mobile operators in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Trilogy International, based in Bellevue, Washington, adds the mobile operator to its controlling interest in Nuevatel of Bolivia and Communication Cellulaire d'Haiti, both fixed wireless and mobile telephony operators.

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March 5, 2007

CMC issues warning on CWC broadcasts

From Trinidad and Tobago's Newsday:

"Sunday, March 4 2007

THE CARIBBEAN Media Corporation (CMC) has warned that legal action will be taken against any firms that illegally broadcast the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007.

In paid advertisements yesterday, Errol Clarke, the CMC’s Chief Operating Officer, said that radio and television broadcasts of CWC matches will be available to “residential homes” by the Caribbean Communi-cations Network (CCN), Caribbean News Media Group (CNMG) and Trinidad Broadcasting (TBC).

He warned that other telecommunications carriers, including satellite, are prohibited from broadcasting the event.

“The public broadcast of the event for commercial purposes is prohibited and will be subject to legal action,” he said. “Proprietors or general managers of organisations, including restaurants, nightclubs, bars, clubs of any description (including private members clubs) that wish to broadcast signal of ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 for the benefit of their patrons are invited to purchase non-exclusive rights to broadcast the event.”

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March 2, 2007

Institutions, Performance, and the Financing of Infrastructure Services in the Caribbean

Institutions, Performance, and the Financing of Infrastructure Services in the Caribbean

0821362801.01._BO2%2C204%2C203%2C200_PIsitb-dp-500-arrow%2CTopRight%2C45%2C-64_OU01_AA240_SH20_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgThis book reviews the access to services, investment needs, tariffs, and efficiency of fifteen Caribbean countries across five infrastructure sectors (telecommunications, electricity, water and sanitation, maritime transport and ports, and airports and air services). Benchmarks are established to compare Caribbean countries with each other, and with similar countries. To some extent, differences in performance can be explained by unalterable factors such as a given country's size and location. However, we find that, in many cases, differences in performance among countries cannot be completely explained by such factors. Many of the remaining differences seem to be attributable to institutional and policy factors, such as the level of competition among service providers within a given sector, whether providers are government or privately-controlled, and the quality of regulatory and subsidy regimes. The study highlights several key policy findings and recommends changes that have the potential to help Caribbean governments overcome some of their inherent disadvantages of scale to provide better, cheaper infrastructure services.

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March 1, 2007

Digicel raises US$1.4 billion from corporate bond issue

The 800 lb. Gorilla of Caribbean wireless telecommunications just raised 1.4 billion in a bond offering:

Digicel Group Limited, newly incorporated in Bermuda, said it has successfully raised US$1.4 billion from a corporate bond offer, giving Denis O'Brien the capital he needs to finance full acquisition of the company's shares from minority partners.

O'Brien, the founder and chairman of Digicel Group, who holds 78 per cent of the shares in company, said the bond was oversubscribed.

Boasting a customer base of over four million aggregated throughout 22 operating countries, Digicel Group recorded annualised revenues of US$948 million (approximately J$63 billion) for the six-month period ended September 2006.

More here.

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