ICT: The week in 10 stories

By
Friday, May 19, 2017

CHILE

Chile's telecoms regulator Subtel relaunched the much anticipated tender to build a submarine and terrestrial fiber cable connecting the country's southernmost region.

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The project, which was abandoned in October last year due to a lack of offers, has been redesigned to be more attractive to investors. It still consists of three terrestrial and one submarine stretch and the 64.1bn pesos (US$100mn) in government financing remains unchanged.

Changes include more clarification on companies participating as consortiums and an extension to the time allotted to complete the project.

MEXICO

Mexico was the Latin American nation hardest hit by the global WannaCry ransomware attack, according to IT security firm Kaspersky Lab América Latina.

Experts believe the majority of companies listed on Mexico's BMV stock market lack robust defenses against similar attacks moving forward.

The ransomware attack that struck governments and corporations around the world on May 12 infected an estimated 200mn devices. After Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia and Chile were the next worst affected.

ARGENTINA

Argentina's telecoms regulator Enacom has launched a tender for spectrum in the 2500-2690MHz band consisting of frequency division duplex (FDD) and time division duplex (TDD) spectrum.

Argentina telecoms regulator Enacom also released figures that show a 3% growth in mobile subscribers in 2016, ending the year with a total of 63.7mn. The telecommunications sector saw investments of 26.7bn pesos (US$1.7bn) and recorded 217bn (US$14bn) in revenues.

COLOMBIA

Colombia saw a 15 percentage-point increase in broadband access devices in 2016 to 69.6% penetration, according to a study published by ICT ministry Mintic.

The country ended 2016 with some 32.2mn devices, 7.5mn more than in 2015, according to a survey conducted by consultancy Infométrika. Smartphone penetration reached 34.4%, desktop PCs 7.62%, smart TVs 7.54%, tablets 6.05%, videogame consoles 2.45% and eReaders 0.16%.

PERU

Through a joint collaboration agreement, Telefónica Perú and O3b Networks joined forces with Google's Project Loon to provide mobile internet connectivity emergency relief during the catastrophic floods in Peru.

During March and April of this year, a series of floods and rainfall caused by the so-called "Coastal El Niño effect" caused serious damage to public infrastructure, including telecommunication networks.

In less than 72 hours, Project Loon's balloons, which fly at 20km above the ground in the stratosphere, started to provide mobile internet connectivity to tens of thousands of people in the most affected areas in the center and northwest of the country, the highlands of Lima, Chimbote and Piura.

Project Loon integrated with Telefónica's and O3b's networks to connect people to the internet in remote areas.

BRAZIL

Positivo, Brazil's biggest electronics manufacturer said it wants to become the biggest technology company in the country.

Part of this drive is reflected in the company's recent decision to rebrand itself as Positivo Tecnologia. Positivo now plans to launch an initiative for start-ups. Positivo's net revenues grew 20.7% year-on-year to 454mn reais (US$145mn) in January-March.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) has acquired Dominican cable TV provider Marpin 2K4, meaning the former's local brand Flow can add pay-TV to its portfolio of mobile and fixed telephony and broadband.

With the acquisition of Marpin, Flow will inherit 12,500 TV and broadband subscribers.

CWC was acquired in May last year by Liberty Global. It operates in 14 countries in the Caribbean, and has a minority stake in TSTT Trinidad & Tobago and a 49% stake in CWC Panama.

REGION

Arianespace successfully launched the SES-15 satellite, the first SES hybrid satellite comprising Ku-band wide beams and Ku-band High Throughput Satellite (HTS) capability, with connectivity to gateways in Ka-band. The satellite will serve North America, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

SES also said its SES-10 satellite is now fully operational at 67 degrees West and will be serving the thriving markets in the Latin America region.

CHILE

Also in Chile, the Santiago Exchange stock market announced a partnership with IBM to implement what it says will be the world's first blockchain system for securities lending. The project is intended to help Latin America's third largest stock market increase the size of the short selling market and eventually scale the system to other countries.

With blockchain the exchange will automate the complex back office processes of clearing and settlement after trading that is designed to help reduce errors, possible fraud and processing time for each transaction, while also improving transaction management and lowering costs.

Short selling currently represents just 0.7% of the US$200mn daily transaction volume and the idea is to aim for closer to 40%.

MEXICO

Speaking during the MVNO Latin America event in Mexico City this week, Nicolás Borges, director of strategy at Altán Redes, operator of Mexico's Red Compartida wholesale network, said the traditional model whereby telecoms operators lease capacity in their networks to mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) could soon be a thing of the past.

Borges said we could see new network infrastructure administrators who lease capacity to operators according to their needs. In this sense, MVNOs would become the norm.

During the same event, Mexican supermarket chain Soriana said it is set to enter the mobile sector as an MVNO in partnership with telco Maxcom. The operator decided to work with the retailer in designing the value proposition, going beyond its duties as a virtual network enabler (VNE).