Tigo Business: Latam’s preferred wholesaler
Tigo Business: Latam’s preferred wholesaler
26 April 2021 | Natalie Bannerman
Augusto Dumit, director of multinationals and wholesale at Tigo Business, speaks to Natalie Bannerman about the journey from launch to present day and how the business is rising to meet the demands of its customers.
When one thinks of telcos in Latam, a few key players spring to mind, chief among them is Millicom and its subsidiary Tigo.
Through the Tigo and Tigo Business brands, Millicom delivers its digital services – including high-speed data, broadband, mobile, cable TV, voice and SMS, mobile financial services and business solutions.
Speaking to Augusto Dumit, he shares the little-known fact that in the wholesale segment Tigo Business has a sizable advantage over its competitors, as “the first convergent wholesaler in Latin America”.
“The vision of the company and its consequent investments in mobile and fixed networks have facilitated our purpose of becoming the most trusted ally for businesses in their digital journey through secure and reliable solutions, leveraging our digital highways and ensuring customer experience delivery,” says Dumit.
Tigo has achieved this with a renewed and strengthened portfolio of digital services, including cloud services, cybersecurity services, Internet of things (IoT) and managed services. It has also expanded into new markets, providing carriers with a single point of contact to cover their needs in many countries, with high levels of service.
Focusing on the differences in demand between the segment’s wholesale customers and those in the enterprise and consumer side of the business, Dumit explains that there are many different customer types that all have to be managed accordingly.
“It is important to understand that within the B2B world we have different types of clients with different types of needs. This segment presents specific needs, given that the service is provided to a carrier of carriers who also, in general, will be testing the service to an end customer,” he says.
“This end customer in general terms is a large multinational or an international body or institution. We have deployed a huge footprint that covers Latin America and the US with high levels of availability, maritime and terrestrial redundancies, and that creates the digital highways on which we deliver from basic services to layers of digital services of cloud, cybersecurity among others.”
Latin America as a whole saw fixed traffic increase by about 15%-30% in the first half of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Equally, operators reported a 25% increase in mobile data traffic during the 2020 lockdown. Though all networks remained operational during this time, it is most definitely a test in resiliency.
“The pandemic was a great opportunity to test our ability to transport, scale and meet the requirements of carriers and OTTs with large volumes of capacity and immediate flexibility needs,” comments Dumit.
“The planning, deployment and commissioning work in this segment proved to be the most resilient business during the pandemic. Our entire team was proud to see the results materialise in this way. Overall, it was a year of consolidation in sustained growth.”
Part of Tigo Business’s wholesale portfolio is its fibre ring, which connects the 16 countries from the US to Argentina, including Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico and six Central American countries.
Aside from delivering greater transport capacity between countries, the fibre backbone enhances the company’s interconnection capabilities between offices, branches and operations across its footprint and links its data centres to provide storage and cloud services across the region.
At the time of the announcement, Dumit shared that: “The capacity allows us to offer a wide range of products and services, such as network security, edge security and data security, as well as the ability to manage and monitor the client’s equipment and systems on a 24/7 basis, thanks to the combination of our network infrastructure and data centres.”
In addition to the network backbone, Dumit says that Tigo’s infrastructure team has “made a number of investments so that our coverage continues to grow in a consistent and planned way”.
As for mobile and fixed infrastructure, he says that, “76% of our mobile customer base is covered with 4G mobile networks in the countries where we operate, and fixed networks have been deployed with enormous planning by the commercial, technical and financial teams to be able to serve the B2B and B2C markets.”
In total, he says that the company has deployed more than 150,000km of fibre-optic cable, with more than 12 million homes passed and “a clear digital vision focused on the client to create value for stakeholders by improving our customer experience”.
With soon to be 10 years in the telco space, Dumit is considered an authority on the Latam communications market. Getting his thoughts on the biggest areas of growth across the wholesale business, he identifies broadband, cloud and cybersecurity, and large internet and data capabilities.
“The first thing we have seen is growth in demand for broadband services in large numbers. Above all, it has been accelerated mainly by the arrival of working from home and SD-WAN,” says Dumit.
The next biggest demand for cloud and cybersecurity services, according to Dumit, has been driven by “the acceleration in the digital transformation of companies, the search for efficiencies, the use of new platforms and applications to improve all business models and their processes have driven the growth of public, private and hybrid cloud services.”
In order to meet this demand, however, Tigo Business has 12 Tier III state-of-the-art data centres in the Latin American countries where they operate.
The final growth area for large internet and data capabilities comes as large carriers and OTTs have had to “increase access to large capacity transportation”, says Dumit.
“We have been working for the last 10 years to build digital highways that allow this large flow of voice, data and video capabilities with alternative routes, monitoring 24/7/365 from our regional NOC, and with support and service teams in all the countries where we operate.”
Delving deeper into the area of security as whole, one misconception is that advanced digital transformation will lead to an increased attack surface for bad actors. Dumit, however, reminds us that the threat can also come internally.
“Insider threat is a reality in public and private sectors, especially today when demand for remote access is increasing, which requires softening the permits,” he says.
For its part, Dumit explains that Millicom has been investing in cybersecurity controls to continuously harden its defences against cyberattacks as well as implementing security layers for its customers.
“Our team is being updated and certified on attack vectors. Tigo is focused on monitoring, analysing, threat intelligence, among other services. We offer services like consulting, cybersecurity solutions, and all the monitoring and support for maintenance of security services,” he adds.
Part of the development of new security offerings, as well as the three areas of growth previously identified, is how the company is innovating with emerging technologies like 5G/6G, AI and machine learning. Over at Tigo Business’s wholesale division, “we have a product development area that is dedicated to analysing new technologies, testing them, clearly understanding if they can benefit customers and their scope and the challenges posed by deploying in the region,” explains Dumit.
“We are not strangers to this technological revolution that is under way and, of course, because we are leaders in most markets, and main players in this ecosystem, we have been evolving and offering our clients new service solutions with a convergent portfolio and a wide range of cloud, cybersecurity and IoT digital services.”
Over the years, Tigo Business’s wholesale division has seen a vast number of developments, evolving in line with needs and business requirements. The first part was establishing a strategy that, according to Dumit, “would allow us to expand our business in an orderly, profitable and sustainable manner over time”.
Born from that was an expansion strategy with a clear focus on the Latam market, featuring consolidation of the Central American market where the company was already leading, as well as further expansion in the South American market.
“This implied an investment that allowed planning the network expansion and going from having four interconnected countries to currently 16 with a robust, redundant and high availability network. We serve customers outside of our nine operations in Latin America, including customers based in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.”
This, along with a redefined organisational structure, enabled Tigo to become commercially agile, effective in its service delivery and deliver service support with a centralised NOC with advanced management tools.
Since its launch in 2012, Tigo Business has effectively reacted to the changing needs of multinational corporations, large local companies and small and medium-sized businesses, which has not only put it at the forefront but embedded it into the workflow – a position that is only set to strengthen.
“A clear definition of our target market and the customer journey seeking a clear alignment with their needs, position us as one of the preferred wholesalers in the region.”
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