BT, the U.K. based telco, is one of the largest buyers of satellite capacity in the region. The operator has been building its presence in Latin America, and needs satellite capacity to serve a number of its corporate clients. Jacinto Cavestany, vice president, Latin America at BT Global Services, talks about the telco’s plans to expand its presence in the region and how satellite fits in to its overall communications strategy.
VIA SATELLITE: How is BT looking to grow revenues in Latin America? What segments of the market is the operator targeting to grow its business?Cavestany:
We started almost a decade ago in Latin America around some of the biggest global contracts that we signed, especially Unilever. It was reactive in the sense that we had to start operations there because some of our global customers were having operations in the region. At that point, we had a period of time where we focused on delivering services in Latin America. We were not proactively looking for customers in the region. We were reactive for contract management. That happened in an important way.
We also bought two companies, which really started to enhance our footprint in the region. One was Infonet — a U.S.-based company that was strong in Latin America, mainly through distributors. It didn’t have a direct sales force, but had a strong network of distributors. The second acquisition was Comsat — another U.S. company only active in Latin America. It had a good sales force in the major Latin America countries and great specialists on satellite communications. We saw this company as a fantastic opportunity to sell to Latin American corporate customers, as well as enhance our footprint in the region with satellite connectivity, which we forecasted would be important for at least two to three decades until cable is deployed everywhere. So, in the last four years, what we have been doing is leveraging on these assets and our global contracts with the likes of Fiat, Pepsi and the others. We have been working with major Latin American companies, which are starting to become multi-nationals. We have also been successful with public administrations, especially in Colombia and Brazil. We have won contracts with Caixa Economica Federal and Correios in Brazil and Compartel in Colombia. All of these contracts have sped up our growth in the region. We are able to balance our global capabilities with the opportunities to grow with these “multi-Latinas” as well as public administrations.