Telecoms News Highlights From The Region
Solutrea axes launch after concession controversy - Jamaica Jamaican mobile startup Solutrea has pulled the plug on its plans to launch mobile services following controversy on how it was awarded the concession license, company CEO Keith Walker told local press.
Solutrea axes launch after concession controversy - Jamaica
Jamaican mobile startup Solutrea has pulled the plug on its plans to launch mobile services following controversy on how it was awarded the concession license, company CEO Keith Walker told local press.
In a press conference on Monday, Walker said the "politicization" of the Ministry of Science, Commerce and Technologies (SCT) awarding of the concession license in May this year had caused its investors to reconsider its plans to launch services.
"A total of US$50mn had been earmarked for our initial investment. Unfortunately, the project has become the subject of much controversy, raising even questions regarding our corporate integrity and bona fides," Walker was reported as saying.
Charges of preferential treatment surfaced in the country's local press surrounding the awarding of the contract starting at the beginning of July. The ministry then issued a report on Monday (Jul 30) to the country's congress saying the due diligence process had run its course before the contract was awarded.
But questions of influence peddling arose in the local press surrounding a lawyer contracted by Solutrea, who was also working as an aide to SCT minister Phillip Paulwell.
It was also claimed that Solutrea did not make the J$510mn (US$7.44mn) payment for the license by the June 30 deadline.
The scandal worried the company's investors enough to terminate its plans for the operation, according to a report in the Jamaica Observer.
The mobile license as well as the amount paid will be returned without any conditions attached, the report added.
Court grants injunction against TSTT firings - Trinidad & Tobago
Trinidad & Tobago's industrial court has granted an injunction temporarily preventing the country's fixed line incumbent TSTT from firing 11 employees, local daily the Trinidad Guardian reported.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) filed a lawsuit of unfair dismissal against TSTT at the beginning of the month on behalf of the sacked employees, something that the CWU said violated collective bargaining agreements.
TSTT's human resources and administration VP Edgehill Messiah told the paper that the court ruling has encouraged the CWU and TSTT to sit down and negotiate the matter, which Messiah said could happen in September.
The 11 workers were served notice of the company's intention to terminate their jobs on June 18, as TSTT deemed their positions to be redundant.
Relations between the CWU and TSTT have soured recently. At the end of May the CWU called for an audit of TSTT due to financial losses that the CWU said is being blamed on fraud involving TSTT employees.
TII Network closes local facilities - Puerto Rico
US network infrastructure developer and manufacturer TII Network Technologies has closed its Puerto Rican factory and moved operations to Long Island, New York, as part of a corporate restructuring, the company said in a statement.
Closing infrastructure production points was seen by the company as the best way to cut costs. TII estimates the closure will incur a one-time non-recurring cost of US$1.1mn. The company did not specify how much it expects to save as a result of shutting down the plant, but says it is part of a move to focus more on R&D.
"The move into our new facility is an important step towards achieving [the company's] transformation. Our expanded R&D and testing capabilities enable us to simulate real-world conditions in a test environment," the company's CEO Ken Paladino said in the statement.
TII develops and manufactures solutions for IPTV distribution, VoIP, network interface, surge protection, as well as residential network gateway systems.
Onemax signs Verso Technologies for billing solution - Dominican R.
Dominican Republic broadband wireless provider Onemax has signed US VoIP solutions provider Verso Technologies (Nasdaq: VRSO) to deploy a postpaid and prepaid converged IP billing services solution over mobile WiMax, the latter said in a statement.
According to the statement, Onemax is the first commercial operator to offer internet, multimedia and VoIP services over mobile WiMax in the Dominican Republic.
Under the terms of the agreement, Verso will deploy the I-Master Solution, which enables service providers to deploy a wide spectrum of new products with prepaid, limited credit and other specialized billing models. The solution allows for combined internet access, on demand data and voice services.
"Verso was unique in offering an IP billing solution with so many rating features, as well as the ability to offer converged voice, data and content all within a prepaid model," Onemax CEO Raoul Fontanez said.
Onemax provides wireless voice and data services including VoIP, broadband wireless data connectivity and multimedia services for businesses.
Regulator proposes prepaid mobile rates - Costa Rica
Costa Rica's telecoms regulator Aresep plans to hold a public hearing in 30 days on the rates that would be charged for prepaid mobile telephony due to be introduced for the first time in the country by state-owned monopoly ICE, local press quoted Aresep's director Roberto Alfaro as saying.
ICE has been gradually rolling out GSM mobile technology to replace the older TDMA model and its postpaid service has suffered from over demand when it has offered new lines.
Some 500,000 of the country's 1.5mn mobile subscribers still use TDMA technology, the reports said.
Aresep has proposed several different prepaid card options from 2,500 colones (US$4.83) to 10,000 colones, all at a higher per minute rate than postpaid service. The regulator will be accepting comments on the proposed rates through September 10.
Although no date has yet been set for the launch of prepaid services, ICE has said previously that it will be adding 300,000 GSM lines in the near future. Of that total, Aresep is pushing the company to set aside most of those lines for prepaid telephony to speed up the country's mobile penetration rate, now at 58%, the reports said.
Copyright 2007 Business News Americas