ICT: The week in 10 stories

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Friday, November 10, 2017

PARAGUAY

Paraguay's telecoms regulator Conatel has officially launched an auction for the 700MHz band.

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According to Conatel head Teresita Palacios, seven licenses will be auctioned at US$12mn each. Licenses will come with social commitments to build telecenters and supply notebooks to schoolchildren.

Questions regarding the bidding rules can be made until November 24 and offers will be received and opened on December 4.

BOLIVIA

Bolivia's plans to launch a second satellite are still on the table, and the country's space agency, ABE, has estimated the cost of the project at US$250mn and expects the spacecraft to be in orbit in 2021.

Bolivia launched its first satellite, Tupac Katari, in December of 2013 from the Xichang satellite launch center in China and with an investment of US$302mn, 85% of which was provided by China's Development Bank, with the rest coming from the Bolivian government.

CUBA

Cuba has advanced in its transition to digital terrestrial television (DTT), a process that will conclude with an analogue blackout that experts believe could take place in 2023.

Hugo Andrés Fernández, an engineer at state-run IT group GEIC, said during an event in Havana that DTT signals currently cover 60% of Cuban territory and 70% of the population. According to Fernández, it is likely that coverage could reach 100% within six years, which would facilitate the analogue blackout, reported local dailies.

REGIONAL

Latin American investments in 4G technologies are expected to reach an annual average of US$13bn between 2017 and 2020, according to consultancy Global Data.

This would represent a drop compared to the annual average of US$16bn invested between 2013 and 2016.

VENEZUELA

Spanish operator Telefónica is investing some 30bn bolívares (US$8.9mn) to expand its LTE network in Venezuela and cover six new cities.

To do this, the company will deploy 160 4G nodes, expanding its LTE coverage by 60%. The telco is already providing 4G services in the cities of Porlamar, Cumaná and El Tigre, and three other cities will be covered in the first quarter of next year, Telefónica Venezuela president Pedro Cortez was quoted as saying by media outlet Konzapata.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

The Dominican Republic's telecom regulator Indotel has launched a tender for 30MHz of spectrum in the AWS band (1700-2100MHz).

The AWS band is suitable to deploy 4G networks and provide LTE services, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

BRAZIL

Brazilian state-run telco Telebras is considering abandoning the idea of awarding part of the capacity of Brazil's SGDC geostationary satellite for defense and communications and retaining the entire project for itself.

This was one of the suggestions raised by Telebras president Maximiliano Martinhão.

After three postponements, no formal bidders showed up for an auction on October 31 to sell private companies 57% of the capacity of the SGDC satellite, which was launched in May.

PERU

Peru's telecoms regulator Osiptel has ordered mobile operators to temporarily suspend sales of unlimited internet plans, saying they have not provided clear information to users.

The watchdog has given the operators one working day to implement the decision or face fines of 202,500-607,500 soles (US$62,000-187,500).

Earlier this week, Osiptel called on the telcos to clearly state the terms and conditions of "all-you-can-eat" data plans recently introduced by Entel, Movistar and Claro.

URUGUAY

Uruguay's government has signed a loan agreement with the World Bank for US$12mn to develop a series of digital initiatives including the Plan Ceibal for digital schools and e-signatures, according to a statement on the presidential website.

The loan is for 17.5 years with a five-year grace period. The loan was signed using digital signature.

The funds will go to the e-government and information and knowledge society agency (Agesic), the research and innovation agency (ANII), the office of public accounts (CGN), the tax office (DGI), the Plan Ceibal and foreign trade office (VUCE).

REGIONAL

BNamericas spoke to Cristina Magdalena, director of business innovation at Japanese IT firm Fujitsu, about the IoT and artificial intelligence solutions sought by Mexican companies.