ADOC Center Opened in Temoaya, Increasing Opportunity for all

ADOC Secretariat Office, Chinese Taipei

November 23th, 2011


APEC Digital Opportunity Center (ADOC) Secretariat is proud to open a new ADOC Center in cooperation with Escuela Secundaria Oficial #30 “Melchor Ocampo” in Temoaya on November 23th, 2011. This ADOC Center aims to provide training on information and communication technology (ICT) for local community and children that have encountered difficulty in gaining access to computers and are eager to gain knowledge of computer. ADOC center seeks to empower them to take full advantage of the digital opportunities afforded by ICT and the Internet.

Mexico joined the ADOC project in 2009, and since then 4 ADOC centers have been established. Thus far, around 15,500 Mexicans have received training at the ADOC centers in Obregon, Navojoa, Guanajuato and Ciudad Juarez. These centers are the fruits of cooperative effort between Mexico’s public and private sectors and the ADOC Secretariat Office in Chinese Taipei. The new ADOC center in Temoaya opened today will aim to train around 250 persons during its first year of operation.

ADOC project is a self-funded multi-year Economic and Technical Cooperation (ECOTECH) initiative that Chinese Taipei first raised in the 2003 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting. It aims to assist in transforming digital divides into digital opportunities throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The first phase of the ADOC project was launched in August 2004 and was concluded at the end of 2008. The second phase ADOC project, ADOC 2.0 project, was proposed during the 2007 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting and launched in 2009 by Chinese Taipei.

The training provided by ADOC centers includes not only ICT basic skills but also e-commerce and e-trading practices in order to empower the trainees with the ability to generate income and to improve quality of life. Until December 2011, in collaboration with APEC PMEs, 89 ADOC centers have been established, and around 245,000 people have received training from August 2004 to October 2011.

For additional information, please contact with local ADOC Country Coordinator.

ADOC Secretariat, Chinese Taipei Maxim C. C. Lu maximlu@iii.org.tw +886(2)66318518 
Mexico Coordinator Mr. Julián Nevárez Montes jnevarez@apecdoc.org +52(1)6444577119
Chile Coordinator Mr. Renzo Sanguinetti Mariselli rsanguinetti@apecdoc.org +56(9)84119067
Peru Coordinator Ms. Cynthia Fiorentini cfiorentini@apecdoc.org +51(9)97902328

Roundup: Comviva, NewCom, Star Network, ICE

Mobile solutions provider Comviva said on Friday that it will launch its cloud-based messaging and data solution in Latin America, Africa and South East Asia.

Comviva will use the cloud to reach out to small and medium-sized operators and MVNOs to enhance their VAS infrastructure using a pay-as-you-use model.

Operators will be able to select services on demand, connect to their existing network infrastructure, and reduce turnaround time in delivering new services while giving them the ability to scale and grow as needed.

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NewCom International, a provider of unified voice, video, data and content solutions, has unveiled its virtual network operator (VNO) starter package, designed to help operators in Europe and the Middle East to access the satellite reach necessary to manage networks in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa, NewCom said in a statement.

NewCom combines satellite, WiFi and fiber infrastructure with bundled services and engineering support to enable operators to manage banking, rural, contingency, video streaming and exploration networks without the costly expense of owning and operating a teleport hub.

NewCom’s VNO Starter Package includes C and Ku band Evolution with a starting configuration of 1.5 Mbps/512 Kbps, a VNO license, leased servers, satellite space segment and internet services.

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Mexican telecoms startup Star Network has selected Miami-based business and operations support systems (BOSS) provider Open Systems’ SmartFlex solution to support its fledgling operations, Open said in a statement.

Star Network won a 30-year concession in November 2009 and offers wireless internet, pay TV and VoIP.

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Costa Rican state telecom and energy monopoly ICE has placed US$250mn in 144A bonds – those destined for institutional investors and structured by known banking entities – on international markets, the company said in a statement.

The bonds mature in 10 years and have an interest rate of 6.95%.

ICE is preparing for competition in the mobile market once Telefónica (NYSE: TEF) and América Móvil (NYSE: AMX) launch operations in the coming weeks. Over the last two years, ICE has been upping its game, introducing prepaid and value-added services.

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Costa Rica’s ICE has also launched an IPTV service, called ‘Kölbi TV digital’, local press reported.

The service was launched at the Expo Telecom 2011 event and is initially being made available in the areas of Escazú, Rohrmoser, Santa Ana, San Pedro and Tibás.

A total of 85 channels are available in the basic package, as well as a video-on-demand library of more than 6,000 titles, according to the reports. The new service’s basic package costs US$38 a month for existing broadband customers and US$45 for new customers.

Reference: Business News Americas.

Cofeco “misguided” in making dominance rulings against telcos, analyst says

Yet another ruling on market dominance issued this week by Mexican antitrust body Cofeco against telcos is more indication of how the watchdog is “misguided” in its regulation and not on the right track, Ernesto Piedras, director of the Competitive Intelligence Unit, told BNamericas.

Cofeco said on Tuesday (Nov 1) that telecoms giant América Móvil (NYSE: AMX), as well as smaller players Telefónica (NYSE: TEF) and Grupo Iusacell, has “substantial power” in the market for connecting incoming calls from rivals.

América Móvil’s local mobile unit Telcel is the market leader with a share of more than 70%, but Telefónica’s mobile unit Movistar has less than 30% and Iusacell some 5%.”There is concern in the sector that if you declare all dominant then no one is dominant. If you apply dominance to all players in the sector, then you don’t resolve the issue,” Piedras said.Piedras said this is not the first time that the watchdog has issued questionable rulings and that it appears to be disoriented, with limited understanding of the issues.

The ruling would let Mexican telecoms watchdog Cofetel draw up rules for governing call completion to limit the carriers’ market power.Cofetel’s ability to regulate has always been questioned given the financial power of América Móvil, but the watchdog has been attempting to flex its muscles more this year.Tuesday’s ruling is the sixth Cofeco has made in the past two years against América Móvil.

The telco has sought appeals against all of those rulings and will have the right to appeal the latest findings.The dominance findings are separate from antitrust commission decisions this year to slap fines of US$1bn against América Móvil and US$6.9mn against fixed-line sister firm Telmex for anticompetitive practices.Cofeco has already accepted a request from América Móvil to review the US$1bn fine and has said it will alter Telmex’s fine.

Reference: Business News Americas.

Telmex investing in fiber to bring speed up to 20 Mbps

Mexican fixed-line telecoms giant Telmex (NYSE: TMX) is investing in upgrading its network to fiber in different parts of the country, with speeds up to 20 Mbps, and will continue to invest as demand dictates, company CFO Carlos Robles said during a conference call with investors.

“We are making investments in different areas of the country, areas which we think are most suitable for those types of speeds because they have applications and uses for them,” Robles said.

“These are speeds of up to 20 Mbps, which by any references in the market are interesting for our customers.”

Asked when the company might start offering speeds of up to 50 Mbps, Robles said: “Once the market is ready for speeds higher than 20 Mbps, we’ll launch those products.”

The executive said Telmex ended the third quarter with 7.8mn broadband customers, up 9% from the year-ago period. Robles would not say how many of those customers have speeds of 20 Mbps.

Telmex provides broadband through its Infinitum service, packaged with unlimited domestic and long distance voice calls. Customers of those services will be the first to benefit from the fiber-to-the-home upgrades.

Robles said the current offer by parent company América Móvil (NYSE: AMX) to buy the 40% of Telmex it does not already own would not affect the planned fiber investments.

In the third quarter, Telmex saw profits fall 3.8% to 3.59bn pesos (US$268mn), and sales slipped 2.9% to 27.8bn pesos, as the company has suffered from being unable to offer broadcast TV – and hence triple play services – due to licensing restrictions.

Reference: Business News Americas.

Axtel dives further into the red during Q3

Mexican telco Axtel saw its net losses increase to 1.02bn pesos (US$77.7mn) during the third quarter of 2011, compared to a 18mn-peso net loss in the year-ago period, according to financial results reported by the company.

Axtel’s revenues remained basically flat at 2.71bn pesos during 3Q11.

During the quarter, the Mexican peso depreciated 12% against the US dollar, generating a foreign exchange loss of 1.15bn pesos, compared to a gain of 119mn pesos in the third quarter of 2010, the company said.

The operator reported 1.44mn revenue generating units (RGU) at end-Q3, growing 12% and adding 155,000 RGUs year-over-year.

Axtel’s broadband subscribers reached 377,000 at the end of the period, up 52% year-over-year. The operator added 31,000 net customers, compared to 44,000 in the year-ago quarter. Axtel also said it ended Q3 with 32,000 high-speed internet subscribers and 353,000 WiMax subscribers.

The company saw its local services revenues decline 2% to 950mn pesos, from 969mn pesos during 3Q10. The operator’s long distance revenues decreased 3% year-on-year, to 284mn pesos.

Axtel’s data and network revenue grew 4% to 639mn pesos, from 612mn pesos in 3Q10.

Reference: Business News Americas.

TV Azteca files complaint against Cofetel head

Mexican broadcast giant TV Azteca has filed a complaint against telecoms regulator Cofetel’s head, Mony de Swaan, and its verification and monitoring unit head, Manuel Gerardo MacFarland González, for their alleged omissions regarding Telmex’s (NYSE: TMX) supposed concession violations, local press reported.

TV Azteca recently accused Telmex of violating its concession terms by broadcasting the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara and Formula 1 racing on its internet service Uno TV.

“The broadcast and/or distribution of television signals that Telmex performed or performs through its telecommunications network is illegal, since it is providing a service for which… the company does not have a license or permit,” TV Azteca said.

TV Azteca asserts that even though both officials are aware of Telmex’s violations, De Swaan and MacFarland have failed to take the necessary administrative actions against Telmex, which would result in sanctions according to the country’s federal telecommunications law.

The company has called for an investigation to determine the officials’ administrative responsibilities.

Reference: Business News Americas.

Televisa’s net profits fall 6.8% on foreign exchange losses

Mexican broadcaster Televisa, which has interests in cable and satellite TV and telecommunications, saw third quarter profits fall 6.8% to 2.05bn pesos (US$145mn), due to foreign exchange losses, the company said in a statement.

The company said revenue rose 8.1% to 15.96bn pesos from 14.77bn pesos the previous year, thanks to the growth of its cable TV companies.

Profit margins from the cable TV and telecommunications business grew to 35.3%. Sales of pay-TV programming rose 15% to 931mn pesos. Satellite TV provider Sky added 238,000 subscribers in the quarter for a total of 3.8mn.

Televisa’s cable TV and telecommunications business saw sales rise 13.1% to 3.39bn pesos with 542,469 revenue generating units added for Cablevisión, Cablemás and TVI, boosted mainly by triple play packages.

Reference: Business News Americas.

DF mayor, presidential hopeful, calls for open competition in TV, telecom

Mexico’s federal district (DF) mayor Marcelo Ebrard has called for open competition in several sectors such as television and telecommunications, according to local press reports.

A left-wing government should promote private investment in the entire country, he was quoted as saying during a three-day visit to the Middle East. “I do not believe that a left-wing perspective, looking to achieve greater equity in our country, means a conflict with investments and the private sector.”

According to Ebrard, a presidential hopeful of the left-wing PRD political party, Mexico needs a change of direction, giving priority to reducing inequality and implementing new economic policies.

“What should be done is create conditions to increase private investment,” he added.

Presidential elections in Mexico will be held July 1, 2012.

Local party proposes removing special tax for telecom services

Mexican political party PRD has called on the lower chamber to remove the 3% IEPS tax for telecommunications services from the country’s budget next year, local press reported.

The party has also asked that the value-added tax be removed for internet services.

“No telecommunication service provided in our country should be taxed, since this type of measure has only [led to a] continual drop in our country competitiveness, leaving us behind in the path of technological development and widening the digital divide,” said Francisco Javier Castellón, president of the senate’s science and technology committee.

In August, representatives from Mexico’s ICT industry associations – including Canieti, Observatel and the science and technology committee – sent a letter to President Felipe Calderón asking the government to remove the IEPS tax for telecommunications services by 2012, to contribute to the local market’s development and increase investments and competitiveness.

Though congress has already exempted internet services from the IEPS tax, the document asserts that all telecommunications services must be freed of this charge, including data, TV, fixed and mobile telephony.

According to Castellón, internet and telephony services “cannot be considered a luxury” since they are increasingly necessary in everyday life.

Reference: Business News Americas.

Cofetel launches consumer website to improve sector information

Mexican telecoms regulator Cofetel has launched a website designed to improve the general consumer’s access to information about the sector and the services they receive, Cofetel said in a statement.

In a presentation Cofetel head Mony de Swaan said that the launch of the so-called MiCofetel website was in keeping with the work plan for the next 18 months, which the watchdog set out in August.

That plan has five main work areas – competition in the industry, coverage and infrastructure deployment, convergence and technological modernization, quality and prices, and institutional strengthening.

De Swaan said that Cofetel would use MiCofetel to study and publish feedback received about the development and coverage of services.

Users can use the site to inform themselves, request information or denouce faulty services, which, he said, should help the customer to make more informed decisions.

The site was developed in conjunction with the consumer protection agency Profeco, which will follow up on any complaints made.

MiCofetel includes a broadband speed measurement tool so that users can test the real speed of broadband they are receiving and compare that with the level of service stipulated in their contracts with operators.

Another area of the site will include more up-to-date statistics on the industry designed for research purposes.