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Panama 2019 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

With an investment of USD2 billion in Panama, Cable Onda's parent company, Millicom, has made a long-term commitment to bringing the Fourth Industrial Revolution to all Panamanians.

Rodrigo Diehl
BIOGRAPHY
Rodrigo Diehl brings to Cable Onda years of experience in the telecommunications and technology sectors, and a deep understanding of the Latin American region. Previously, he was a partner of McKinsey & Co. in both Germany and Brazil. He also previously worked as a Senior Analyst and Planning Manager at Techint Group. Also, in directing McKinsey's Latin American telecommunications, media, and technology strategy, he worked closely with telecommunications operators, IT service providers, software players, and device manufacturers. Diehl graduated with honors from the University of Buenos Aires and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

How important are the operations of Millicom internationally, now that it has acquired Cable Onda?

Millicom is a telecommunications company that operates in Africa and Latin America, but the vast majority, over 90%, of its business is in Latin America. Latin America is a strategic priority for us. We operate in nine countries in Latin America: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Paraguay, and Bolivia. With our recent acquisition of Movistar's operations in Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua, we are now a fully convergent operator for fixed, mobile, and business communications. In all those markets, we typically hold a strong leadership position where we are either number one or number two in the market. We believe that through our work and efforts we are making a difference in the region, as we build digital highways that connect citizens, communities, cities, and the countries themselves with the rest of the world. We are proud that this year Cable Onda was recognized as the fastest Internet provider in Panama by Ookla. Our commitment is to have the best digital highway and provide the best service for our consumers.

What are your expectations for the operations of Cable Onda in Panama?

Panama fits quite nicely into our operations across Central America. We also have operations in Colombia, so there was this gap between Central America and South America that we now closed with the acquisition of Cable Onda. Panama helps us continue diversifying our portfolio. Panama is a dollarized economy and it is a country that has great macroeconomic indicators and a long history of democracy, political stability, and respect for institutions. These are all factors that are important for investors like us who have a long-term view.

Would you say this headquarters will become the main hub for Millicom?

Our Millicom office is based in Miami, where our executive team sits and where all global strategic decisions are made. Given the geographical position of Panama, Cable Onda's strong presence, its solid team, and its operations in other Latam markets, we could eventually benefit from conducting centralized back office functions from here. So, this is something we are looking into, and we just created an SEM for that purpose.

What are your main goals for 2019 and the next year?

In 2019, our main goal is to complete the integration of Cable Onda and Telefonica into the Millicom family. Successfully completing the integrations of Cable Onda and Movistar into Millicom will improve the experience for our customers.

What are your CSR initiatives?

There are a lot of initiatives we undertake in terms of social responsibility. All employees of Cable Onda, including myself, spend two days per year doing social work. We go to schools and villages and to whoever can benefit from our support. In total, this translates into 30,000 hours per year. This makes a difference in our communities and we do it with tremendous passion.

What are your most important priorities for the future?

Cable Onda has a fantastic team with an amazing track record of success. Probably the most important element of Cable Onda is its team. It is a top priority to protect that and invest further in developing our people. In addition, we are working hard and investing a lot of resources into upgrading the digital services we offer. With the acquisition of Telefonica in Panama, we are now waiting for regulatory approval. The enterprise value of the Cable Onda acquisition was USD1.46 billion. The acquisition of Movistar cost USD650 million. Put together, we have made investments of around USD2 billion in Panama. This shows that we are here for the long run. We want to be the key actor in bringing the Fourth Industrial Revolution to Panama.