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Technology: connecting a region wireless by nature

Getting connected is clearly important for the Caribbean, whose disaggregated geography has historically posed challenges. The multi-platform evolution is fast underway in the Caribbean as investment continues to pour into the sector.

 

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Published by Global News Matters

HIGHLIGHTS

With regulations loosening, providers are scrambling to improve the range, quality and availability of their products.

Getting connected is clearly important for the Caribbean, whose disaggregated geography has historically posed challenges. Connectivity is key to the development of the region’s markets, where cyberspace can unite consumers from different countries to form new and larger segments with similar needs. Where nature made the Caribbean ‘wireless’, technology has the opportunity to connect the region’s 43 million consumers, and advances have progressed on moving connectivity forward.

With a culture of innovation and rapid technology adaptation, the region is expected to continue to both use and create technology to generate exciting results. The multi-platform evolution is fast underway in the Caribbean as investment continues to pour into the sector.

With regulations loosening, providers are scrambling to improve the range, quality and availability of their products. Even in the Bahamas, where the government recently re-assumed a majority stake in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company, a newly liberalized (though still evolving) regulatory landscape is courting new operators, who will be free to offer a raft of services.

Major operators appear to be taking note, as evidenced by Cable & Wireless Communications (operating as LIME) investing more than $1B to upgrade its infrastructure and platforms across the region. Furthermore, with ICT and telecoms access increasingly linked to socioeconomic development, keep an eye out for budding entrepreneurs to capitalize on government efforts to spur small- and medium-sized ICT business endeavors, and for major players to roll out universal coverage in traditionally underserviced jurisdictions.

Indeed, the race is on in the telecoms industry. Twenty top recent developments from the industry that can translate into opportunity are highlighted below:

  • Telecoms provider LIME asserts that 50% of customers in Anguilla have a smart phone.
  • Chinese telecoms giant is seeking entry into the Antigua & Barbuda market and is set to meet with PM Browne and the utilities regulator.
  • Cable Bahamas Ltd’s $3MM investment will position it as first Quad Play provider.
  • Improving access to ICT services becomes a major opportunity for facilitating Belize’s transition to e-governance.
  • Bermuda reports 89% of companies are using computers, 56% have a website, yet only 8% are receiving orders over the Internet.
  • CCT BVI is offering prepaid service migration to attract new customers to a revamped, bundle-ready service platform.
  • LIME has expressed concern about Logic’s recent purchase of cable company WestStar giving the company too large a share of the Caymanian market.
  • Google is promoting open Internet access in Cuba as Cubans are newly able to access Google Chrome.
  • DotDM has deployed a Domain Name Server Node, which will enhance Internet speed and security in Dominica.
  • France’s move to guarantee high-speed Internet access within 10 years will lead to ICT investments in Guadeloupe and Martinique.
  • GT&T, Guyana’s lone landline provider, will move to raise rates on the currently “unsustainable” service.
  • Natcom registered 200 thousand Internet subscribers in Haiti in the first 6 months of 2014.
  • Jamaica reports that USD-denominated Internet transactions were up +22% in 2013.
  • Just over half of the population of Puerto Rico had Internet access in 2013, according to the US Census Bureau.
  • The government of St Kitts & Nevis and regulatory agencies are reviewing cost models and price strategies for next generation networks.
  • Columbus Communications (operating as Flow) has boosted max Internet speeds in St Lucia from 1.1 mbps to 100 mbps.
  • Sint Maarten has granted its fourth mobile concession to Beach Mart NV.
  • PM Gonsalves backs Spectra Inc’s application to begin operations in St Vincent & the Grenadines, where it would compete with Flow.
  • Uniqa has commissioned a 4G+ network in Suriname, with 4G LTE on the horizon.
  • Trinidad & Tobago will use US $20MM in Inter-American Development Bank funds to position itself as a regional ICT hub.

 

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

GLOBAL NEWS MATTERS

Global News Matters is the leading source of Caribbean business insights, market intelligence and research. In this rapidly-evolving region, we provide tools and actionable information, and bridge business opportunities allowing our customers to improve their performance and stretch their targets.

With a market of 43 million consumers (and a similar number of tourists), the Caribbean may be the next step to growing your company’s bottom line. Visit our website or e-mail us today info@globalnewsmatters.com to find what is available for you in the Caribbean markets.

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