BT pushes for Latin American market expansion

04 October 2011 | Guy Matthews

UK incumbent telco BT has said it plans to double its business in key Latin American countries over the next three years, echoing a push it made for business in the Asia-Pacific region earlier in the year.

BT said it will recruit 250 new staff in Latin America, build its professional services capabilities in the region, open new centres of excellence to support customers and implement network and customer service improvements.

It said the move will help those of its global customers which are investing in the region, as well as support large Latin American companies as they expand globally. It claimed the addressable market for communications services in Latin America is worth £12 billion a year, and is growing by 7% annually.

As well as serving global enterprises, BT said it will launch wholesale solutions tailored to the needs of regional telecoms operators, to help them extend the range of services they provide to their own customers.

BT already serves around 1,300 organisations in the region, including multinationals such as Unilever, Rhodia, BASF and Fiat. It has also signed recent contracts with local service providers, such as a £133 million deal with Brazilian state-owned telco Empresa Brasileira de Correios e Telégrafos (ECT) and with Colombia's Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies, supporting its delivery of internet connectivity to schools, hospitals and government organisations.

"Latin America is showing great dynamism and ability to grow in the face of a turbulent global economy,” said Jeff Kelly, CEO of BT Global Services. “Our global customers recognise this. Right now, they are expanding and investing in the region. At BT we also understand that large Latin-American companies, the ‘multilatinas’, are rolling out ambitious strategies of globalisation. These powerhouse players need consistency across their global operations, in their home bases and all over the world. That is exactly what our investments allow us to deliver to them."

BT said it will increase the number of MPLS points of presence it operates in Latin America by around 20%, and launch Ethernet services in 21 new cities.

It will also build new Centres of Excellence to offer better support to customers in Rio de Janeiro, Bogota and Mexico City.

In 2010, BT began a major programme of Asia-Pacific investment in a bid to secure new business in that market, as well as support existing corporate customers expanding into the region.