Millicom CEO Mauricio Ramos (pictured) made use of his keynote on the theme of value creation to explain how an operator like his is creating a sustainable business even when average revenue per user is around $5 per month.
“We need to have a very cost-efficient model,” he said, where the delivery of excellent mobile and fixed connectivity is the primary objective.
In his view, three factors are essential for an operator in the type of markets served by Millicom throughout Latin America: to be network centric, to be very customer focused, and to be convergence driven.
“The magic starts with the network”, he said, as reliable connectivity is what makes customers stick and creates brand loyalty. Furthermore, “the way not to be just a dumb pipe is to start by being a really, really good pipe,” he added. The “secret sauce” to be the best possible pipe, meanwhile, is to have the lowest cost of production for the bits that run through the networks and are consumed by customers.
He pointed out Millicom was able to add 3 million mobile customers and 700,000 residential customers during the Covid-19 pandemic because it focused on building state-of-the-art networks.
Becoming the “pipe” of choice and attracting customers and value-added partners then smooths the path towards becoming a digital enabler, Ramos observed, pointing to Millicom’s Tigo Money digital wallet as one example of a value-added, digital service.
“I believe that is, as a telco, how we find our role in the ecosystem,” he said. “We have three great roles to play: partner, distributor, and innovator.”