is the Chilean unit of Latin American telecom giant America Movil, which has more than 230 million cellular customers in 18 countries throughout the region.
Claro recently unveiled its investment plan for the next four years, which foresees spending US$2 billion during that period to expand its international voice and data network, to add another 280 miles of fiber-optic cables and to increase coverage in rural areas of Chile.
“We’re concentrating on our infrastructure plan, we want to add capacity and coverage in the whole country,” says Gerardo Muñoz, Claro’s general manager in Chile. “This is an important challenge, we’re making sure to concentrate on investment so we’ll be prepared to offer more and better services, more products, more broadband Internet access, and more capacity.”
The company needs to make this huge investment to keep up with the strong demand for its services. Claro Chile’s revenue grew 27.9% from a year ago to 129.2 billion Chilean pesos (US$276 million) in the first quarter of this year. At the end of March, Claro had just over 5 million wireless clients, an increase of 33.9% from a year earlier.
Last year Claro Chile and Telmex Chile merged, uniting to form a company that can offer its clients the so-called Quad play of mobile, Internet, telephone and television services. Claro can now provide them all, individually or as a package, or a simple fixed-line telephone service for clients that want it.
|‘we’ll be prepared to offer more and better services, more products, more broadband Internet access, and more capacity’|
“We believe we should offer a wide range of products,” says Mr. Muñoz. “There are still clients who just want a telephone service at home, and we offer them that. But we also want to be ready for clients who welcome technological changes, so we can tell them ‘we have smartphones, we have voice and broadband access, we have mobile Internet, and we have television and value-added services.’”
Since the merger last year, Claro is working on remaking itself into a new company. For example, the new company is proud to be the first telecommunications provider in Chile to offer a wireless version of a triple-play bundle. The main advantage is to be able to sell the service all around the country, even in remote and rural areas.
A quick look at a map shows just how difficult it is to reach the whole country. Chile is a long, narrow nation that stretches 2,653 miles north to south, yet its average width east to west is only 110 miles, between Argentina and the Pacific Ocean.
“It’s a very big country, very long, where it’s difficult to connect in some areas and reaching all the population can be difficult,” explains Mr. Muñoz. “We want to be in the north and in the south, in small towns and in big cities. That’s our Chilean philosophy and it’s America Movil’s regional philosophy.”
Claro and America Movil work together to not only offer services in as big an area as possible, but also to make sure clients have access to high quality services. They want to make sure that quality improves every day, Mr. Muñoz says.
Claro and its parent company also share the philosophy that, by extending telecom services around the country, and around the region, they are offering clients a chance to improve their lives.
“Communication is the same as education, and Chile’s government very correctly is planning to continue pushing for more connectivity, to give more and more Chileans the chance to get connected,” says Mr. Muñoz. “That will offer people a higher level of education and greater opportunities.”