Q&A: Mateo Ward, CEO, Neutrona Networks

16 March 2016 | Jason McGee-Abe

Neutrona Networks’ CEO, Mateo Ward, informs Capacity about its strategic priorities in Brazil and Mexico. Additionally, he explains what major trends he sees surfacing in the Latin American market this year and the key challenges being faced.

What are your strategic priorities in Latin America for 2016?

MateoWard340pxWe continue to see growth in service requirements within the region, especially in markets like Brazil and Mexico.  We plan on expanding with additional core network across the region and additional PoPs in Brazil and Mexico this year.  We are also looking at adding PoPs in Central America and the Caribbean. Cloud service providers continue to expand service offerings in the region, mainly in Sao Paulo.  We look to use our extensive connectivity throughout the region to provide our customers with the on-ramp to these services for their clients.  Finally, we continue to integrate additional local access partners to allow us to continue to have the most capillarity in local access networks of any international carrier in the region.

What have been the key developments for you in the region over the past 12 months?

New subsea cable systems. After many years of talking about it, new subsea cable systems are finally being built and they will be adding a huge amount of capacity in the region. This has changed the landscape in the carrier marketplace in 2016, as new systems with 100 G channels are creating disruption in the pricing curve of services. These new systems have a significant impact in our 2016 planning as we work to anticipate their completion in 2017 and 2018.  

Deterministic bandwidth. Equipment providers have evolved their layer 1 platforms to be more than just wavelength management systems – they are now bandwidth management systems.The added flexibility and scalability will allow network expansion to be closer matched to demand.

The rise of the sub-regional local access provider as the alternative to the incumbents. We continue to see highly specialised service providers entering local markets/regions that are a reliable alternative to the incumbent. More competition in the local access market will improve pricing and service quality.

What major trends do you see surfacing in the Latin American market this year?

Customer experience is becoming a priority. We are starting to see more normalised installation timeframes, better service management reporting, and a focused effort by sub-regional service providers to be strong alternative to the incumbents.

What are some of the challenges of operating in the Latam market?

The challenges are not new – inflationary pressure, currency restrictions, political stability, lack of construction standards, differing regulatory regimes all make it complicated to conduct business in the region.  Much of the basic telecom infrastructure in the region was built in 1998 to 2001 and it needs to be replaced.  However, these challenges also create opportunities for businesses that find ways to overcome them. It is all about knowing how to operate in a way that you make these issues disappear for your customers. 

What do you hope to achieve by attending Capacity Latam 2016?

Reconnecting with our partners. In the 16 years that we have been providing services in the region, it has always come down to the personal relationships that we have developed over the years with our customers and vendors. Capacity Latam is a great opportunity for us to reinforce the importance of those relationships on a personal level.