Internet Service Providers Enter the Client’s Home
Personalized services, their deployment in sub-urban and rural areas previously disregarded by larger companies, and the development of strategies and businesses tailored to their clients appear to be the keys to the success of small Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Latin America and the Caribbean.
During a panel organized within the framework of the LACNIC 32 LACNOG 2019 event, executives representing Brazilian, Mexican and Panamanian ISPs presented their strategies to successfully survive in a competitive market that presents greater technological challenges on a daily basis.
Ariel Weher, the debate’s moderator, highlighted the role of smaller ISPs in the region thanks to their exponential growth, their investments in hardware and software, and their value-added service offerings to compete with larger companies.
Success stories. Jesus Espinoza, leader of innovation and strategy at Ovnicom, stressed that the development of services was the key that has differentiated the company from its competitors during the 18 years it has been operating in Panama. “We switched from the transactional model to a model of trust with our clients,” Espinoza observed.
Originally a company offering only telephony, Ovnicom now provides a variety of digital services such as networking, IP telephony, Internet and cloud services. “The business changed, and so did we. We focus on offering low cost and excellent quality services,” he added.
33% vs 2%. Basilio Pérez of ABRINT and president of LAC ISP (the association that brings together Internet Service Provider chambers of five different countries) observed that ISPs in Brazil have annually increased their broadband market share by 33%, while larger companies are only growing at a rate of 2%. “We are increasingly present in spaces that they have not occupied,” Pérez added.
He pointed out that 88% of new broadband users in Brazil accessed the service through smaller ISPs, practically all of them using fiber optics.
According to Pérez, this growth can be attributed to the fact that small businesses are taking the Internet to locations that larger companies do not consider profitable. He added that these companies are interested in technological development: 77% of ISPs have ASNs and 78% are operating exclusively with fiber optics.
The client is what they are all about. Moisés Abadie of Liberty Panamá and vice president of the local IXP, noted that his goal has always been to differentiate himself from their competition. “As a small provider, we are always looking to find our space and opportunities to obtain returns and offer a solid service,” said Abadie.
“Who is the client? The client is no longer the person but the device they are using. Today we are struggling with a much more complex client. We must make sure that this client can access the service on their cell phone, on their laptop or on their bedroom TV set. And to do this we must enter the client’s home with a personalized service,” he added.
In turn, Ricardo Acosta of Konecta stressed that they were one of the pioneers in the deployment of wireless networks in rural and urban areas of Mexico.
He observed that they have been working for 15 years seeking to reduce the digital divide in Mexico, focusing their efforts on providing coverage in rural areas of Baja California, places where nobody wanted to go. “We detected enormous needs in rural and suburban areas, and we began to connect small-scale farmers and entrepreneurs so that they could have their window to the world. We then found other residential clients, from software developers to gamers,” Acosta said.
Paraphrasing the legendary Pancho Villa, he added: “We are going where others don’t want to go, and the reason we are going is because we can.”
He stressed that, in a world of giants, being small means “being able to move fast and reinventing oneself with ease.”
The term they use to describe their service is “glocal,” in other words, a service of global quality purchased from a local provider
He concluded by saying that having their own number resources (IP addresses) has helped them implement stable connections without relying on a single carrier or knocking on the doors of major corporations or the government.
Click here to watch the video of the panel.