The Business Year

Carlos Zenteno

COLOMBIA - Telecoms & IT

Carlos Zenteno

President, Claro


Carlos Zenteno is an electronic engineer from Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Occidente, ITESO, in Guadalajara. His professional career began at IBM Mexico in 1992 as a product and infrastructure engineer. In 1993, he joined América Móvil, and until 2010, he led Claro’s operations in Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. Between 2010 and 2016, he served as president of Claro’s operations in Brazil. In 2016, he assumed the position of President of Claro in Colombia.

In order to improve the lives of millions of people, Claro has invested not only in the main cities, but also in communities further away from urban centers to provide greater connectivity.

Claro added 452,000 new users in the first part of 2021, tripling its growth rate YoY. What factors explain Claro’s sustained market leadership in Colombia’s telecommunications sector?

The most important thing for our company is customer experience. We have a large number of people working on customer experience because we deem it extremely important; in fact, we have several different fields all working to create the best experience for our customers. The first is related to network quality; this means we are investing in order to offer the best capacity and the widest coverage in the whole country. Beyond this, we are working at all our centers and stores to offer the best experience for each and every contact with each and every customer. Finally, we have been working on all our digital tools for the last five years in order to bring about self-service for our customers. We are accordingly investing in training Claro’s human talent on digital techniques. One important aspect of these investments, and the result of the company’s growth, is that we have now reached 99% of Colombia’s municipalities that did not have 4G coverage: 1,088 municipalities. In terms of fixed coverage, we have incorporated 19 new municipalities. We have been making this effort for over 20 years in Colombia. Our investment in and commitment to Colombia has been clear. We see this service as a source of opportunities for people. For this reason, we have not only invested in the main cities but have also invested in communities much further away from urban centers.

Colombia was highest-performing country among América Movil’s subsidiaries. What does Colombia represent for the conglomerate at the international level in terms of business development?

Colombia is extremely important for América Móvil, as it was one of the group’s first international operations in 1999. From that moment on, the commitment to the country was clear. It is for this reason that Colombia is extremely representative for the group. We are also important for Colombia in terms of market share and the investment we have made in the country of over USD15 billion. This has allowed us to hold a better market position and enabled us to help in the country’s development.

Through the Claro por Colombia campaign, internet access has been extended to many citizens, mostly in rural areas. How is Claro committed to extending access to technology in Colombia?

Claro por Colombia is our specific sustainability program. We have several areas of activity, one of which is Escuela Conectadas, which translates as Connected Schools. Via this program, we offer an internet service to these schools free of charge, and our commitment is to connect one school a week. At Claro, we ask ourselves how we can bridge social gaps, and we are working on this from three angles: coverage; access; and the ecosystem; i.e., the applications that enable the use of technology. We then have Copa Claro por Colombia, which focuses on many children from different regions of Colombia. They were all able to have access to the Copa and can participate in great amounts of learning, combined with physical challenges. In addition, we focus on several other angles, such as helping food banks and organizations that generate employment and working with the Canadian embassy and Cuso International on the entire process of social reintegration in Colombia. If we take a look at the figures for 4G coverage, we are over 500 municipalities ahead of the next operator. In bringing coverage to remote municipalities, we have had to set up transmission networks via satellite, microwave, and solar panels. The impact on the population through the generation of opportunities is enormous. All this brings with it with the connectivity that we now see across the country; by way of example, companies, banks, and so on can now connect their branches.



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