April 23, 2009
Telecommunications fraud in Bermuda
Word of the fraud came from the Ministry of Energy, Telecommunications and E-Commerce whose officials recently met with the country's telecommunications service providers to discuss the situation."
April 16, 2009
Signals Telecom Consulting
Signals Telecom Consulting is the leading Caribbean Basin and Latin American telecommunications markets consulting firm. They are a source for many of the press releases you read here on Caribbean Telecom News.
Signals Telecom Consulting was founded in 2004. The firm is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina with an on-site presence in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the U.S.
The Signals Telecom Consulting staff includes 30 consultants and a strategic relationship with consultants in six countries including Brazil, Mexico, Great Britain and the United States.
US begins easing telecom restrictions for Cuba
This is some interesting news (from http://signalstelecom.com):
US New Policies towards Cuba Are a Positive Step, but Many Obstacles Need to Be Addressed by Both Nations.
America Movil / Telmex (Mexico), CANTV (Venezuela), Millicom (Luxemburg), Oi (Brazil), and Telefonica (Spain) the Leading Candidates to Challenge US Operators in a Liberalized Cuban Telecom Market
Cuba is the most attractive telecom market for potential investors in the Western Hemisphere due to its large population and feeble penetration rates for fixed and mobile telephony, Internet (dial up and broadband), PayTV services, etc. In addition, the geographic proximity to the US, the large Cuban immigrant community and strong historical ties between the two countries make the island a natural expansion market for US operators.
On April 13, 2009, President Barack Obama of the United States issued a memorandum allowing US telecom providers to:
Authorize U.S. telecommunications network providers to enter into agreements to establish fiber-optic cable and satellite telecommunications facilities linking the United States and Cuba.
License U.S. telecommunications service providers to enter into and operate under roaming service agreements with Cuba's telecommunications service providers.
License U.S. satellite radio and satellite television service providers to engage in transactions necessary to provide services to customers in Cuba.
Signals considers that US telecom operators should be cautious about their real business opportunities in the island as the White House announcement does not and can not imply immediate business presence or commercial exclusivity for US telecom providers in Cuba. Furthermore, US telecom operators are not well positioned to gain a footprint on the island on the short / medium term due to regulatory restrictions in place both in the US and in Cuba. Some foreign operators already have a business relationship with the island. Most undersea fiber cables passing near Cuba are not controlled by US telecom companies, and most satellite fleets with footprints on the island are foreign owned.
Signals Consulting provides herein, a brief overview of some of the challenges that could be met by US telecom providers interested in launching commercial services in Cuba:
- The US will need to review its current regulatory framework to implement the necessary modifications needed to guarantee that US-based telecom service providers would not subject to lawsuits from parties with asset claims in Cuba;
- President Obama's administration must define the impact of its new policies toward Cuba and how it may alter the status of the Helms-Burton[ii] Act and its application to non-US telecom service providers;
- Any agreement between US telecom operators and local monopoly Etecsa must be approved by Cuban authorities.
- US based telecom operators will not be able to provide services directly to consumers until the local Cuban telecommunications market is liberalized through appropriate implementation of regulatory changes. After liberalization, US operators will require service concessions to be able to pr ovide commercial services in Cuba.
- Cuba's telecommunications market already has limited foreign investment. As of 1Q09, Telecom Italia has a 27% participation on the local monopoly, Etecsa/Cubacel. If telecom Italia were to divest of its stake, the most likely buyer would be Telefonica of Spain;
- Once liberalization of Cuba's telecom market is announced, US service providers will face fierce competition from international players such as:
. Regional Telecom Providers:
- America Movil / Telmex (Mexico): the largest telecom provider in the Caribbean by number of subscribers with operations in Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. If telecom service holding Columbus Communications is acquired by Carlos Slim, America Movil / Telmex would become the strongest telecom provider in the Caribbean basin allowin g numerous synergies with a prospective Cuban operation;
- Cable & Wireless / LIME (UK): the largest fixed line service provider and 2nd largest mobile network in the English speaking Caribbean;
- CANTV / Venezuela Telecom (Venezuela): currently a shareholder in a Cuban/Venezuelan enterprise that is deploying a 1630 Km undersea cable linking Cuba with Venezuela with a secondary cable linking Cuba with Jamaica;
- Digicel Caribbean: as of 4Q08, the largest mobile service provider in the Caribbean with presence in most non-Spanish speaking markets of the Caribbean and El Salvador;
- Millicom: operations in Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Paraguay;
- Oi (Brazil): the company's second objective after acquiring Brasil Telecom is to expand into international markets. Unlike the digital inclusion project with Mozambique's Soico TV, entering the Cuban market will provide Oi with the means to expand its subscriber base rapidly. In addition, Oi's subsidiary Brasil Telecom GlobeNet has a 22,000 KM undersea cable system with landing points in Florida that could easily and inexpensively be expanded into Cuba;
- Telefonica of Spain: one of the largest telecom providers in the planet with over 250 million subscribers (with a strategic participation in the controlling counsel of Telecom Italia);
Other potential interested parties
- Most satellite fleets that have footprints in Cuba are not US based companies. Thus, a clarification on the status of the Helms-Burton Act may provide the necessary incentive for these firms to start negotiating commercial relations with Cuban authorities: