2012-09-10 06:09:14 - Caribbean Telecommunications Report Q1 2012 - a new market research report on companiesandmarkets.com
BMIs Caribbean Telecommunications Report covers the nations of Barbados, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Trinidad & Tobago and Cuba. This quarter sees the introduction of revised and extended forecasts, which predict how the countrys fixed-line, internet, broadband and mobile telephony sectors will develop through to the end of 2016. Our new forecasts reflect the latest operator and regulatory data; in some cases this covers the period through to the end of September 2011.
Many of the mobile telephony markets of the Caribbean have already reached maturity and, as a result, continue to report slow growth and minimal change to operator market shares. However, mobile market maturity has increased the impetus to introduce advanced data services
based on next generation 3.7G and 4G technology. In November 2011, Digicel Barbados became the latest regional operator to introduce 3.5G HSPA+ technology. The HSPA+ network, which is being marketed as 4G, will provide users with high-speed internet services on smartphones and laptops/PCs via dongle modems, as well as tablet computers and portable Wi-Fi hub devices.
Meanwhile, in December 2011, it was announced that Bahamas Telecoms Company (BTC) had commercially launched its HSDPA network in Grand Bahama. The network currently has coverage over the majority of New Providence and the Freeport area of Grand Bahama, offering maximum download speeds of up to 8Mbps. However, BTC plans to extend the network to other parts of the country; the operator also plans to invest US$45mn in the network over the next two years, an investment that BMI believes could provide the company with a strong technological advantage over its competitors when the wireless sector is liberalised in 2014. In April 2011, UK-based Cable & Wireless Communications (C&W) completed its acquisition of BTC.
Puerto Rico is the most dynamic market in the Caribbean, and maintains its place at the top of our Business Environment Ratings for the region. The Puerto Rican telecoms market benefits from a relatively large population and strong growth potential, coupled with strong competition in the market. In December 2011, the countrys second-largest mobile operator Claro announced that it was poised to launch commercial 4G mobile broadband services based on LTE technology in the capital, San Juan. The AmÃ©rica MÃ³vil-owned firm previously said that it would deploy LTE in early 2012. However, its plans appear to have been accelerated in light of rival AT&T Puerto Ricos launch of LTE services in November. AT&T also beat local cellco Open Mobiles planned 4G debut by the end of the year.
In contrast to Puerto Rico, Haiti and Cuba remain the least developed markets in the region, although they arguably offer the greatest potential for future growth. With the lowest penetration rates in mobile, fixedline and broadband markets, there is huge potential for services to take off. However, both countries face significant barriers in terms of purchasing power of citizens. As the poorest countries in the region, the telecoms services currently on offer are out of the reach of most people.
Further barriers to development in Cuba are tough sanctions, regulations and a lack of competition. Cubas sole telecoms operator, ETECSA, was 27% owned by Telecom Italia until Q310, when it sold its stake to a financial company owned by Fidel and RaÃºl Castro. In February 2011, it was reported that Cubas authorities were studying the possibility of selling the 27% stake in ETECSA previously owned by Telecom Italia, possibly to a foreign operator. Even if the sale goes ahead, it is likely that the government would seek to retain its current control over the telecommunications sector.
In both Cuba and Jamaica, the governments are preparing to introduce new telecoms laws. In July 2011, Jamaicas Prime Minister Bruce Golding also announced plans for a new, independent telecoms regulator, which is expected to emerge after a new telecommunications act is drafted. One of the greatest difficulties facing the new regulator will be to reaffirm the importance of competition in a market that is moving back towards a near monopoly. Earlier in 2011, it was announced that Digicel would acquire AmÃ©rica MÃ³vils Claro Jamaica in exchange for its holdings in El Salvador and Honduras. In September 2011, Prime Minister Golding made public the conditions handed to Digicel for its acquisition of Claro Jamaica.
Contrary to Digicels plan to consolidate and integrate the two networks, the government has reportedly instructed the combined company to operate and maintain both networks. Other conditions for the merger include an obligation for Digicel to build out to meet the 90% coverage requirement stipulated in Claros licence.The price of this market report covers 4 quarterly reports on this sector. This quarterly report will be downloadable instantly as a PDF document, with the 3 remaining reports delivered at regular intervals throughout the year.
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