Q&A: Alexis Segal, director, wholesale, Latin America, IDT
Capacity Latam 2015: IDT's director of wholesale for Latin America, Alexis Segal,
What are your strategic priorities in the Latin America for 2015?
Our priorities are always the same - working very closely with our retail team, originating the majority of the traffic that terminates in Latin America, and working with all our partners to maximise opportunities and add value.
We are a licensed operator with a presence in five countries in the region; Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Peru. We have a very strong team across the region, with a presence in Buenos Aires, Miami, Rio de Janeiro and Mexico, which deal with our partners.
What do you hope to achieve by attending Capacity Latam 2015?
We attend Capacity Latam to mainly meet business friends to review our business together and identify opportunities to grow together. We’re also here to to share our view on the wholesale market and, more importantly, listen to the market’s opinions.
Of course, it’s also great to make new business friends in the region.
What major trends do you see occurring in the Latin America market this year?
Smartphone and bandwidth penetration is still low compared to other regions, providing lots of growth potential.
Some countries like Chile are always pioneers in terms of deployments. Hopefully the governments will support and sponsor deployments but in some countries high taxes discourage new investors and technologies.
This year also is one of potential political change with elections due in many countries. So things will change and I am very optimistic about it. For example, we were able to start doing business with Etecsa and now we can offer to our customers a direct interconnection to Cuba, and of course this is only the beginning.
Although everyone likes to complain about it, voice minutes continue growing. The new technologies available don’t take away traffic from the traditional players - traffic continues to grow.
What are some of the challenges of operating in the Latin American market?
There is no place in the world like Latin America. You need to understand the region; its culture, politics, economy and development.
If you want to succeed in Latam, you need the team to be in the region.
Of course there are risks you need to take, but if you don`t take them, you won`t succeed. Some countries are more difficult to do business in but if you have the right partners, you will always find solutions.
The Mexican and Central American voice business is more related to the US. Very aggressive international long-distance plans to call the US have grown traffic tremendously in recent years.
The picture in Latin America is totally different. The market is still probably 80% prepaid with the international long-distance rates to call from a land line or mobile still very expensive.
Therefore, as consumers look for alternatives to call their family and friends, there is a big opportunity here for the traditional operators.
We know about voice, we know about our markets, we know about Latam, and we‘re passionate about it; it's in our DNA.