Top 10 Topics at Futurecom

12:05 PM Light Reading's Joe Braue offers highlights from the most influential telecom tradeshow in Latin America

September 19, 2011

4 Min Read
Top 10 Topics at Futurecom

12:05 PM -- You know, it’s tough hanging out at the largest and most influential telecom tradeshow in Latin America when everybody speaks Portuguese and your knowledge pretty much begins and ends in “Bom Dia.”

That’s why I was very lucky that we were able to announce a new partnership with TeleSamana , a leading telecom online portal covering Latin America, at the show. (See LR, TeleSemana Team to Serve Latin America.)

TeleSemana will be offering its audience a Spanish-language Light Reading Channel, which will include Pyramid Research blogs and research, and news that’s relevant to the Latin American telecom market. And we’ll be jointly producing research and webinar programs.

The agreement paid off in the first 24 hours with TeleSemana Chief Editor Rafael Junquera agreeing to help me bring you a list of the top 10 most talked-about issues at the show. Take it away, Rafa:

  1. The paid TV market finally opened up after five years of heated debate. The final ratification of the new video law was announced during Futurecom. What this means is not only that big telecom players like America Móvil and Telefónica will invest heavily to capture as much market share as they can possibly can, but also that they will go into overdrive to consolidate all their Brazilian assets to offered a converged telecom offering (voice, data, video, mobile services, caipirinha -- you name it).

  2. Broadband was discussed from all angles you can think of. From left to right, from net neutrality to how operators will be able to offer 60,000 soccer fans with high-definition video recording capabilities the capacity to send their movies to countries overseas. The auction for 2.5GHz spectrum is scheduled for April 2012, so LTE should be in Brazil later that year or early in 2013. Cisco said the private sector needs to invest $860 billion to offer a reasonable broadband experience by 2020 -- where will you be by then?

  3. Vivo, largest mobile operator in Brazil, said it is increasing its smartphone and tablet inventory by 30 percent every quarter. The thing is that TIM, the second-largest operator in Brazil, seemed to suggest that smartphones would grow even faster in the country if taxes were lower and device manufacturers were able to scale them faster.

  4. Higher production of devices is of course hurt by the taxation on the telecom industry in Brazil, which has one of the highest tax rates in the world, if not the highest. The Brazilian government announced its intention to offer a $2.5 billion tax reduction to promote new investment to expand the telecom infrastructure. This admirable pro-business policy is no doubt being inspired by the fact that in three years the whole world will be watching the World Cup and then the Olympics through Brazil’s telecom infrastructure and the government would love to avoid any embarrassment (go back to bullet No. 2).

  5. Current telecom taxation is being blamed as the reason why MVNOs are not emerging as expected after Brazil became one of the first countries in Latin America to enact an MVNO regulation. We need to be careful when we discuss MVNOs in Latin America; as it is an already-low-end prepaid market, is there really any room for full MVNOs? Point is, MVNOs were not widely discussed because there wasn’t much to discuss about them as only two companies have requested and been approved an MVNO license.

  6. Acquisitions are also affecting the Latin America telecom landscape. Recall CSG acquiring Intec? Well, they announced their first product resulting from combining both company’s strengths.

  7. Remember Amdocs buying Bridgewater Systems? At Futurecom 2011 Amdocs announced Bridgewater assets are being integrated in its Revenue Management division.

  8. Brazil discovered the femtocells during Futurecom 2011. Operators recognized during Futurecom they are being sluggish in offering these devices; however, they blame it on scale. Operators, manufacturers and Anatel, the telecom regulator here, agreed to work together to see how this little base stations fit into the picture. Lots of talk, but nothing was put on paper, so, do not get very excited about it.

  9. Huawei announced it is starting handset manufacturing in Brazil. In 2012 the Chinese vendor will start its tablet production. ZTE will start the production of its own phones before the end of the year and at a later stage mobile broadband gear.

  10. And of course, markets shook when the news came out that TeleSemana and Light Reading have entered into their new partnership. Now if only Joe Braue could at least learn enough Portuguese to find the bathroom or perhaps pick up a check.

— Joe Braue, Group Director and SVP, Light Reading

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