Mexico , Brazil , Chile and Costa Rica
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ICT: The week in 10 stories

Bnamericas Published: Friday, August 11, 2017

This week, regional authorities met to discuss the digital agenda and closing the digital divide, the Brazilian government unveiled its 2017-22 digital transformation policy, and BNamericas took a look at the operations of Costa Rica's state-run telco Instituto Costarricence de Electricidad (ICE) in its latest operator series.

ADDITIONAL CAPEX FOR OI

Brazilian telco Oi expects additional annual capex up to 2bn reais (US$630mn) if its 8bn real capital increase proposal, part of the new terms of a judicial reorganization process, is approved by creditors and bondholders.

CEO Marco Schroeder (said in an earnings call with investors and analysts on Thursday that the increase in investments is critical for Oi to have a "strengthened balance sheet" and to be up to the challenges of a "capital intense" segment as is the telecom one.

The company's annual capex is 5bn reais currently and the executive believes that the capital increase proposal made to creditors would allow the company's annual investments in the next four years to reach up to 7bn a year.

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION INEVITABLE FOR MINING

The pressure from falling mineral grades and a slump in prices is driving mining companies to transform digitally whether they like it or not, senior mining officials said Thursday.

Peruvian copper/ zinc miner Antamina is beginning to use drones to monitor is truck fleet to improve efficiency and avoid downtime.

Willy Coronado, ICT manager at Peruvian miner Chinalco, which is developing the Toromocho copper project, commented that the company has begun to focus on improving digital efficiency throughout operations.

Meanwhile, José Miguel Vallejo, CTO of Chilean state copper miner Codelco, said that mines urgently need to improve telecommunications throughout mines to ensure any digital transformation project is successful.

PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON 2.5GHZ IN MEXICO

Mexico's telecom regulator IFT launched a public consultation for the guidelines to be used in the tender for spectrum in the 2.5GHz band (2500-2690MHz).

The IFT will tender 120MHz in six blocks of 20MHz each: four frequency division duplex (FDD) blocks in the 2530-2560 band, and two time division duplex (TDD) in the 2575-2595MHz band. The remaining 10MHz will be used as "guard bands", 5MHz on each end of the TDD spectrum.

The minimum reference value was set at 350mn pesos (US$19.5mn) for each block, regardless of the category, and the bid security was set at 700mn pesos.

Mexican mobile operator Telcel will be able to participate in the tender for blocks in the 2.5GHz band. However, the telco will not be allowed to partake in the first round in order to encourage other operators to bid.

ENTEL POSTS Q2 NET LOSS

Chilean telco Entel posted a net loss of 2.64bn pesos (US$4mn) compared to a profit of 8.80bn pesos a year ago due to an increase in net financing costs to maintain the Peru rollout combined with lower operating income due to a competitive environment in Chile.

Total revenues grew 5% to 481bn pesos.

Total mobile customers reached 14.6mn, up 5% versus Q216 fostered by strong growth in Peru. Mobile customers in Chile fell 8% to 8.8mn, particularly in the prepaid segment, while the postpaid subscriber base rose 4% for a total of 43% of the customer base.

LIBERTY GLOBAL BOOSTS LATAM REVENUES

Liberty Global posted a 52.7% increase in revenues in its Latin American operations (LiLAC) in 2Q17 to US$921mn, driven primarily by the operations of Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), acquired last year.

Liberty's CWC operations, that are concentrated in the Caribbean and Central America, grew 1% overall and 3% in the Caribbean, including 15% growth in Jamaica with most growth coming from mobile and managed services.

In Chile, Liberty's VTR operation saw 8% growth in the quarter, on higher ARPU from cable services and increased revenue from a growing mobile base.

MEXICO TO BUILD NEW SATELLITE

Mexican state-run telco Telecomm called for expressions of interest for the design, financing and operation of a new satellite to support satellite Morelos 3, in a public-private partnership (PPP).

As part of the PPP, Telecomm is looking for a mobile-satellite service system in the standard L band that can back up 50% of the capacity assigned to Morelos 3.

The new satellite will provide nationwide coverage, which includes territorial waters, exclusive economic zones, and the maritime and terrestrial area that cover the Panama canal, including Central America and adjacent waters.

NII HOLDINGS

NII Holdings, the parent company of mobile carrier Nextel Brasil, saw its already delicate financial situation complicate further as losses skyrocketed in the second quarter of the year.

The group posted net losses of US$84.8mn, compared to US$9.9mn net loss a year earlier. In the first six months of this year, net loss amounted to US$177.5mn, up from US$46.5mn.

NII Holdings attributed the poor result to restructuring, and impairment charges in the amount of US$54mn.

ELAC2018

Latin American authorities and experts met this week in Santiago, Chile, to prepare for the upcoming VI Latin American and Caribbean Ministerial Meeting on the Information Society due to be held in Colombia in 2018.

Delegates discussed the region's digital agenda, eLAC2018, a strategy that lays down how to use digital technologies as instruments for sustainable development. The objective is to develop a digital ecosystem through regional integration and cooperation, strengthening digital policies.

BNamericas spoke to Juan Jung, public policy director at regional telecom association Asiet, about Latin America's digital agenda.

ICE OPERATOR SERIES

The opening of Costa Rica's telecom sector has borne fruit, as evidenced by the fact that the country's mobile penetration of 170% exceeded the global average last year. Nonetheless, the development of an open market has caused some grief to the country's most renowned telco.

BNamericas takes a look this week at the operations of Costa Rica's state-run telco Instituto Costarricence de Electricidad (ICE) and its competitive position in the country's mobile market in its latest operator series.

BRAZILIAN DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION POLICY

The Brazilian government unveiled its 2017-22 digital transformation policy to prepare for the so-called fourth industrial revolution, or industry 4.0, and address the challenges of advanced manufacturing.

The document presented in Brasília by science, technology, innovation and communications minister Gilberto Kassab will remain under public consultation for 30 days. The online process to request changes and make suggestions can be accessed here.

A working group headed by Kassab's ministry will gather proposals and come up with a final version of the document, which will be sent in the form of a draft decree to President Michel Temer.

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  • Ligga Telecom, formerly Copel Telecom, is a subsidiary of Companhia Paraenense de Energia and offers telecommunications and communications services. During 2015, the firm served...