MOVERS & SHAKERS

Costa Rica 2017 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Carlos Ríos Briseño, General Manager of Claro, on products in the pipeline, the need for commercial innovation in the sector, and its priorities for the coming year.

Carlos Ríos Briseño
BIOGRAPHY
Carlos Ríos Briseño currently represents Claro Costa Rica as General Manager. He has a background in industrial engineering, with expertise in marketing. He joined America Movil in 1991, where he served in various positions in commercial areas.

What does Costa Rica represent for Claro's global operations?

Costa Rica is one of the few subsidiaries where America Movil did not acquire a consolidated operation. We started both network deployment and business from scratch and now we have a very competitive efficient network covering about 98% of the population. We also have a National Direct to Home Satellite Television License (DTH) that allows us to provide services along the entire country with state-of-the-art multimedia technology. Our operations in Costa Rica closed the previous small geographical gap in the continuity of Claro's services across the Latin America region, since currently Claro has presence from the US to Patagonia with a powerful brand presence. The aperture telecommunications market in Costa Rica gave us the opportunity to offer a real full Central America coverage to our regional customers.

Claro CR recently introduced new HD channels and MiFi technology. What other products are in the pipeline for next year?

We are making significant improvements to our DTH offer by operating a new satellite and broadening capacities to increase the quantity of channels and introduce many HD channels. In 2016, we finished the migration of satellite receivers to operate them with the new satellite so that all our customers can start 2017 with an improved experience. In regard to the broadband mobile services and according to recent studies from the regulatory authority, Claro currently provides the best customer experience for internet access, which will be improved by extending our 4G coverage in 2017 and adding new spectrum by participating in the frequency bidding planned for the next year. We will continue consolidating our growth in the corporate market, supported by the America Movil global infrastructure and the offer's diversification. The commercial options for companies are going to be stronger.

The three operators this year addressed the need of the pricing model to be modified now that the market is already in competence. When will SUTEL conduct its new evaluation?

The aperture of the Costa Rica telecommunications market started with many rules of price regulation to prevent some behavior from the incumbent operator. Now, the regulatory authority is analyzing the level of competition of the markets. The mobile telecommunications market in Costa Rica is highly competitive but it could be improved by allowing commercial innovation; therefore, it is imperative that the regulatory authority provides the necessary flexibility for creativity and development of innovative new products. We are waiting on the final report from the regulatory authority and hope that it will produce positive results to remove the obsolete price regulation and avoid unnecessary intervention in the market in order to increase competitions and generate more benefits to users. Currently, the broadband services for internet access in the postpaid segment is regulated by allowing a unique way to rate, preventing low-income users from experiencing the high-speed connections and the general users from experiencing the highest speed offered by networks. Customers should have the right to choose between being rated based on speed, capacity download, or other innovative ways. In this sense, we expect to be able to broaden the options for customers. This is what we propose and we hope that it gets resolved by the end of the year based on technical facts and the evidence of the existence of strong competition in the Costa Rica mobile telecommunications market.

What are your top priorities for 2017?

Our main priorities for the next year are consolidating our growth strategy for our 4G network and refining our approach toward the content. We are dealing with large content, but there are also other services content on the corporate market. We want to consolidate the country brand that we already have and drive that brand deep into the hearts of the Costa Rican population. In addition, we want to expand our satellite television offer in a significant way, continuing our double-digit growth trajectory of the last three years.