THE IT CROWD

Ecuador 2014 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Katherin Miño, General Manager of PuntoNet, on improving internet penetration, streamlining installation, and promotions, and staying responsive to consumer trends.

Katherin Miño
BIOGRAPHY
Katherin Miño, General Manager of PuntoNet, studied Business Administration Engineering. Afterwards, she earned an MBA at the International SEK University and a MSC at the ADEN Business School. Sánchez complemented her studies with management and coaching programs at the Florida International University (FIU). She is an accomplished negotiator, as well as knowledgeable in administrative, financial, and technical fields. Her professional career has focused primarily on the development of telecommunication companies.

How would you describe PuntoNet's role in Ecuador's internet sector?

PuntoNet's role is vital, as we help companies to develop their activities and integrate different applications around Ecuador and the world. Telecommunications is a crucial tool that enables companies to optimize their time and resources and dedicate themselves to developing their core business without worrying about such activities as telecommunications

Over the past seven years, the country has seen a profound economic transformation, with internet penetration jumping from 6% to 70%. How has this changed the internet business?

In the past we lacked the tools to provide good coverage and could not reach all segments. With government support to develop telecommunications and create regulations, coverage in Ecuador today is good. We can provide internet to people and to companies with many kinds of systems, including satellite, fiber optic, wireless, copper cable, and more.

How did that transformation change the way PuntoNet approaches the market?

We have two different segments, each with a special focus. The first segment is home broadband. For this segment, PuntoNet created and implemented a large wireless network around Ecuador, building a dedicated product that was more cost effective than other methods. Our strategy was to form close relationships with our clients since in the early days many were unfamiliar with internet usage, perceiving it as largely a medium for entertainment. At that point, the government supported the use of the internet to develop and spread knowledge. Then, there is the corporate segment, where the key consideration is innovation and the renewal of technology. We want to give companies the entire IT infrastructure they need to facilitate the running of their business. Companies do not have to spend money on servers, or telephone systems, so we provide this. Our business is 65% corporate and 35% home clients. Our focus is on the corporates because by the nature of business they have the most urgent requirements. We are fourth in Ecuador in terms of corporate market share, but we do not count Claro or Telefonica because their core businesses are somewhat different from our own.

How large is PuntoNet's network coverage, and what challenges have you faced in building network infrastructure from scratch?

We have commercial offices in 13 cities, but provide 100% nationwide coverage of Ecuador. The difference is in the kind of technology employed in each city. For example, the Galápagos, being islands, exclusively have satellite coverage. In the key cities, we have a fiber-optic or wireless network. In the smaller cities, we only have a wireless network because its implementation is more convenient.

What distinguishes PuntoNet from some of the larger names in the market?

We are fundamentally different from other companies for two main reasons. Firstly, our service is easy to install. Other companies take between 10 or 15 days to activate. We can install it within four or sometimes three days. We also run campaigns with a same-day installation service. People do not like to wait, so this makes a real difference. Additionally, the larger companies have many internal processes and inevitable bureaucracy. We are a private company and it is a simple task for us to optimize the process. If I want to run a campaign this weekend in some neighborhood or other, I can offer to install the service the same day. It makes a big difference. Another thing is that we do not contract work out to third parties. We want to be a company that creates jobs, our entire team belongs to PuntoNet. We create a culture of belonging, and our employees are motivated to do the job right.

What are your goals for Puntonet over the next five years?

We have two goals. One is to keep a long relationship with our home clients. The other is to improve our relationships with our corporate clients and provide them with a greater range of tools so that they remain with us. I anticipate us becoming a large company recognized for its human talent and committed to its mission.