We begin a new year hoping to see a lot of positive things taking place in Latin America’s telecom industry. During 2010 seeds were planted and during 2011 many of them will grow and flourish. Here we begin our telecom reporting for the new year.
The president of Telefonica Chile, Cluaudio Muñoz, said that the company would invest 700 million dollars in the country during 2011. The executive indicated that the investment would be principally destined for the modernization of the infrastructure and technology in fiber optics and the offering of broadband Internet services. This amount forms part of the 2.500 million dollars that the company will invest over the next four years for the introduction of fiber optics direct to the home (FTTH), as announced by Telefónica in September of last year. In addition, Muñoz specified that the company is working so that 2011 marks a peak in the utilization of numerical portability. “We are working in order that the first advances in this sector will be seen by the middle of the year.” said the executive.
In December of last year, Google’s mobile publicity service, AdMob, reached the level of 2 billion requests daily, four times more than it received in the previous twelve months and more than 30 times those registered in 2007. Comparing December 2009 with December 2010, mobile publicity inserted by Google has grown 564% in Asia, 474% in Western Europe, 266% in North America, 256% in Latin America, and 246% in Eastern Europe. Harsh Shah, from the marketing team of Google Mobile ads, stated that they are achieving a rapid global growth and that currently nine countries have given rise to 1.000 million requests.
The superintendent of Telecommunications in Ecuador, Fabián Jaramillo, said that the Government is studying the process to digitalize the television system and estimates that the transition will take ten years. A commission of the National Council of Telecommunications (CONATEL) delivered a report last week to define the master plan which will establish a timetable to achieve the analogue switch in the country. In addition, Jaramillo indicated that they estimate a price for the decoders or STB of between 20 and 50 dollars, and that there are two national companies interested in manufacturing them. The superintendent indicated that the government was considering subsidizing the devices in lower income sectors. In the month of March 2010 CONATEL, on the recommendation of the Superintendent of Telecommunications, established the Brasilian-Japanese ISDB-T standard to digitalize the terrestrial digital television system (TDT).
Mobile data income in Peru will triple until 2015 as a consequence of low penetration, an economy in expansion, the launching of new 3G networks and the increased sale of smartphones, according to a report by Pyramid Research. The consultancy indicated that the mobile telephone market would be the principle source of income growth in the country. Income from mobiles will grow at a CAGR rate of 6,6% annually until 2015. Incomes from mobile data generated income of 355 million dollars in 2010 and an increase is expected up till 2015, reaching 1.070 million dollars.
In this same market, the Agency for the Promotion of Private Investment (ProInversión) awarded Gilat to Home Peru two contracts of 14,4 million dollars to provide access services for broadband internet and fixed and public telephones in rural areas. The contracts “Broadband for the development of the valleys of the rivers Aprimac and Ene – VRAE” and “Broadband for the development of the Camisea communities (Camisea-Lurin) will reach 764 areas and more than 213.000 inhabitants. In addition ProInversión awarded a contract to Telefónica Mobile for 14,7 million dollars for the integration of rural areas and areas of preferred social interest to the network of the mobile countryside service. The financing of the project will be provided by the Fund for Investment in Telecommunications (FITEL). The launching of fixed and mobile telephone services in the area will reach 79 areas directly and 120 more indirectly in the areas of the Amazons, Junin, Loreto, Madre de Dios, San Martin and Ucayali. For this competition, America Movil had made a lesser offer of 139 million dollars, but since the company had already been awarded the same project in the Central North and Central South zones, it was decided to favor the competition and the contract was granted to the second best offer economically, in this case that of Telefónica.
The head of the Ministry of Technology for Information and Communication in Columbia (MINTIC), Diego Molano, said that during this year they would advance with the bidding process for the spectrum in the 2,5GHz band. The licence will be granted for the delivery of services of broadband mobile Internet access on LTE. This auction complements that announced by MNTIC this week, 30MHz of spectrum in the 1.900 MHz band for the provision of 3G services, to satisfy the necessity on the part of the operators for the growing diffusion of this sector in the country.
Gilat Satellite Networks announced that the Ministry of Technology for Information and Communication in Columbia (MINTIC) together with the National Development Fund (FONADE) would extend the contract for the offering of rural communication services for 21 million dollars for one year more, ie until the 31st December of this year. The contract allows for the provision of fixed telephone and broadband internet access services in community telecentres in rural zones of Columbia by means of satellite connection. The community telecentres will be equipped with telephones, computers, printers, scanners, faxes and web cameras provided by Gilat.
The government of the province of Córdoba, Argentina, yesterday inaugurated the three first access points for free Wi-Fi and Internet in the capital of the province. These points are positioned in the three main squares in the Córdoban capital: Plaza San Martin, Plaza de la Independencia and Paseo de la Buen Pastor. With an investment of 7,6million dollars the government will open 1.500 access points in the capital of the province with Motorola equipment connected to the fibre optic network of the state company providing electrical and telecommunication services, EPEC. In areas not served by the provincial company’s lines, the cover will be provided by WiMAX technology. In addition, during the course of this year they will install access points in other highly populated cities in the province, such as Rio Cuarto, Villa Maria and San Francisco.
The Federation of Cooperatives in the south (FECOSUR) has extended its mobile telephone service to the town of Comodoro Rivadavia, in the province of Chubut in Patagonia, Argentina through its virtual mobile operator, “Nuestro”. As of this month the Popular Limited Cooperative Society (SCPL) of Comodoro Rivadavia will commence the commercialization of the virtual operator and add itself to the forty other cooperative societies offering this service in the country. The SCPL plans to install 10,000 lines in its first phase and then extend the mobile telephone service to other areas. Nuestro is the virtual operator created by FECOSUR which groups telephone cooperatives and public services of Argentina. It operates through the infrastructure of Personal, mobile operator of Telecom Argentina.
The Costa Rican Electrical Institute (ICE) began a campaign last week to encourage the migration of its clients with equipment with TDMA technology over to new free equipment with GSM technology. The ICE is contacting its clients directly to send them new phones without charge, with the objective of closing its TDMA network in February. The state operator has around 39.000 TDMA lines currently active, almost 1,3% of its total client base, estimated at around three million accesses.
The new minister of Telecommuncations in Brazil, Paulo Bernardo, taking over his post yesterday, said that he would work to reduce the price of broadband in the country, according to reports from the local media. The minister indicated that this would be possible with the participation of all players in the sector, including private companies. To this end, Bernardo will negotiate the inclusion of obligations for the operators in the area of Internet in the General Plan of Methods of Universalization to be published in May. The minister confirmed that the state industry Telebrás would provide services where private companies had no interest and estimated the cost of offering access would be 35 Reales (21 dollars) for speeds of between 512Kbps and 1Mbps.
Comparing quantities of Smartphones sold in 2009 and 2010 in Bolivia, demand grew between 45 and 50% according to estimates from operators Viva and Tigo. The head of Pospago, Mauricio Porro Vargas stated that demand for Viva grew 50% in 2010, and suggested it was due to the purchase capabilities offered by the operator to its clients. In the same vein, the regional director of Tigo, Gaston Jáuregui Quevedo, said that the intelligent devices “are already priced more economically, which is allowing them to provide mass returns.”