Tigo has more than 30 years in operation under different brand names. How has the company evolved over time?
Amnet—as Tigo was previously known—and now Tigo have always been at the forefront of telecommunications in Costa Rica. It was one of the first major pay-TV companies here and one of the first to provide a broadband service when the market opened up in 2009. Our parent company, Millicom, came into the picture in 2008 when it acquired Amnet in the region. At that time, Millicom was just a mobile telephone company; however, it realized the market would switch in terms of products. Millicom thus looked at opportunities and realized Amnet was a strong company in the region. Since the acquisition in 2008, we have really pushed our business, especially in Costa Rica, to start incorporating higher broadband speeds and take the lead in the market. We have been the leaders in terms of broadband speeds for the last six or seven years. In 2010, we opened our B2B unit and improved our internet and data services in the region. For Millicom, this move was a strong bid in terms of how the market would evolve and we have seen our investment grow well in the region, especially in Costa Rica. We see Costa Rica as the most advanced and developed market in the region. We test new fixed products and developments as well as higher speeds and services in Costa Rica and then roll those out to the rest of the region.
What strategy do you follow to achieve successful results?
We always look to provide more value to our customers. We are always the first service provider to bring in new developments, like we did with digital television and high-definition television. We have the strongest offering in digital channels. Now, we are moving toward multiple screen products in the region with Tigo Play and other developments to come in a few months. We also recognized that the end game is basically broadband; therefore, we invested a great deal in high-speed broadband and bringing the best quality service to our customers. We design our products and approach the various areas of our business not just to sell, but also to first find out what the need is. We look at what the best fit is between what we have to offer and what our customers need. Our main aim, especially in B2B, is to become our clients' business partner, not a service provider. In this way, we can provide services in addition to the traditional internet and data services. We can provide solutions for different needs to all industries.
What is the importance of Costa Rica to the whole group?
For us, Costa Rica has the particular characteristic of being our only operation where we do not have mobile services. Therefore, it is a testing ground where we can try new services and products. Costa Rica also has the most advanced telecommunications market. There are a whole range of competitors here, including a strong state-owned company, strong local players, and large telecommunications companies. You also have other companies that have not traditionally been part of the telecommunications business; for example, they were mainly in electricity, though they are now developing products. Therefore, it is a highly competitive market where you find all kinds of products, making it a great market to try new things in.
What can you tell us about your social responsibility initiatives?
We work to be a great partner to the government and the country to close the digital gap. Hence, in everything we do we try to leverage our abilities to close that gap. We know from our experience in other countries that great internet services and penetration are directly linked to social development. Everything we do in terms of CSR is driven by our goal of closing that gap to improve the quality of life for Costa Ricans. We are fully involved in Child Online Protection programs and we also do some social service work every few months where our own staff go to schools and help out. In line with what we do in our business, we are aggressive in terms of providing great services that are leveraged and linked to our Internet services. We strongly believe that a well-connected country and society will have an improved quality of life.
How do you foresee the company evolving in the medium term?
We aim to keep leading the market in our residential products as well as in our B2B unit. B2B is a market that is still young in the sense that it was served by the state-owned company for decades. It is now in a transition to move toward private services as well. Tigo will be a stronger player there. We have a number of innovations in the pipeline that will help us grow as we are planning to. We will also become a stronger ally of the government in terms of closing that digital gap.
What goals would Tigo like to achieve over the next year and beyond?
We want to continue incorporating more broadband services into our customer base. We also want to grow our digital television base. This is a market that has traditionally had analog television products and we are now trying to show the market that digital products have many benefits. Costa Rica has one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the region. This makes the country fertile ground for multiple-screen products. In terms of cable television, we have a strong base in our Direct-To-Home (DTH) product that will basically bring services to rural areas. That will increase our market share.