Telecoms News Highlights - Friday 21st September 2007
Digicel deploying Alvarion WiMax solution - Caribbean Indotel updates telco contracts - Dominican R. Moody's places Suncom ratings under review for upgrade - Puerto Rico Watchdog: US$6.9mn in subsidies available for broadband tender - Dominican R. Centennial completes Islanet acquisition - Puerto Rico
Digicel deploying Alvarion WiMax solution - Caribbean
Caribbean mobile group Digicel plans to deploy a mobile WiMax network in the Cayman Islands using technology from Israeli wireless solutions provider Alvarion (Nasdaq: ALVR), the latter said in a statement.
The 802.16e compliant solution will be used by Digicel to target both residential and business customers over the 2.3Ghz band.
The contract comes hot on the heels of a deal in July in which Digicel selected another Israeli equipment supplier, ECI Telecom (Nasdaq: ECIL), for a WiMax solution in Jamaica.
Digicel, primarily a mobile operator, has operations in 22 countries throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America with some 5.9mn subscribers in total.
Indotel updates telco contracts - Dominican R.
Dominican Republic telecoms regulator Indotel has confirmed that 40 of the country's main telecoms operators are complying with spectrum management regulations introduced in 1998, the regulator said in a statement.
Law 153 from 1998 changed the criteria under which operators and broadcasters may use spectrum, with respect to signal strength, height of transmission towers and various other characteristics of antennae. The law also requires operators to prove that they comply with standard accounting procedures and that they have paid any taxes required of them.
The law specified that Indotel was to verify that all operators had adopted the new specifications within a year, but several market and industry factors prevented this, despite repeated attempts.
To mark the successful completion of this process Indotel presented the 40 operators with adjusted concession contracts on Wednesday, September 12. The operators in question include Claro-Codetel, Orange Dominicana and Tricom, plus several cable TV providers and TV stations.
Moody's places Suncom ratings under review for upgrade - Puerto Rico
Moody's has placed the debt ratings of US and Caribbean mobile operator Suncom Wireless on review for a possible upgrade, the ratings firm said in a statement.
The move follows the September 17 announcement by US operator T-Mobile, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom (NYSE: DT), that it has offered to buy Suncom for US$1.6bn in cash and US$800mn in assumed debt. The deal is expected to close in the first half of next year.
The review will focus on T-Mobile's plans for Suncom's existing debt, which Moody's says is around US$1bn. Furthermore both Suncom's senior secured term loan and senior unsecured notes have provisions for change of ownership.
Suncom has operations in the southeastern US and Puerto Rico. Currently the company has a corporate family debt rating of Caa1.
To see a copy of the statement, go to this link
Watchdog: US$6.9mn in subsidies available for broadband tender - Dominican R.
The Dominican Republic's telecoms regulator Indotel has set aside up to 231mn pesos (US$6.9mn) to subsidize broadband connectivity for 500 rural municipalities in 16 provinces over the next two years, Indotel said in a statement.
Earlier this month the watchdog launched the project tender, inviting any domestic or foreign telecoms operator with an existing concession in its home country and at least a year of experience.
The initiative is one of 11 announced by Indotel last May for the 2008-09 period, in which the government expects to invest 800mn pesos (US$24.8mn).
Indotel said it has already received interest from several companies, but did not specify names.
Centennial completes Islanet acquisition - Puerto Rico
US and Caribbean mobile holding firm Centennial Communications (Nasdaq: CYCL) has completed its acquisition of Puerto Rican wireless ISP Islanet Communications, Centennial said in a statement.
The acquisition agreement was first announced in May of this year, giving Centennial access to Islanet's 200 business clients. Islanet mostly focuses on the enterprise sector, offering point of sale data, credit card transactions, internet access and VoIP. The company also has licenses for 2.5Ghz spectrum, suitable for WiMax.
The value of the deal has not been disclosed.
"This transaction immediately expands the addressable market for our broadband business by providing more efficient last-mile access to reach small and medium-sized business customers. We'll continue to evaluate an expanded deployment of WiMax as the technology evolves," Centennial's CEO Michael Small said in the statement.
Centennial's main business line in Puerto Rico is its mobile operation, which had a subscriber base of 406,500 at the end of fiscal year 2007 and posted revenues of US$302mn in FY07.
Copyright 2007 Business News Americas
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