NTT America looks to boost LatAm presence

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

NTT America is looking to expand its Latin American footprint, leveraging demands for connectivity and data traffic from corporates and on an improving economic, regulatory and political landscape.

That's according to Michael Wheeler, NTT America's executive VP for global IP network.

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The America division of the Japanese telecommunications giant NTT Group operates in Latin America through a series of subsidiaries, providing ICT, ​cloud, ​data ​center and network security services.

NTT's fiscal 2017 ends March, but according to Wheeler, the company exceeded its business plan for Brazil, its largest Latin American operation, managing to increase its customer base by 20% and also expanding local staff.

Last year was "a very good year for us in Brazil," Wheeler told BNamericas in São Paulo.

But part of the reason why the company is growing its sales organization in Latin America, not only in Brazil, is related to groundwork preparation for reaching out to new markets in the near term.

One of the potential new markets is Argentina, where the chances of receiving a long-anticipated new NTT Latin American data exchange point-of-presence (PoP) have reportedly increased significantly. The company opened its first and sole regional PoP in São Paulo seven years ago.

"The regulatory and governmental dynamics in Argentina continued to evolve in a positive way from our perspective, and also from other players in the ICT industry, and this is very good," said Wheeler.

According to David Berrios, senior director for business development in Latin America, the trend for localization of services by multinationals is pushing NTT's business in the region.

"The same customers we have in Europe, in Asia and in the US want to expand their operations and localize them in each individual market, and basically where our clients are moving is where we are going," he said.

Wheeler and Berrios' business comprises commercial Latin American offices only in Brazil and Colombia, although the NTT organization has a wider footprint across the region.

Overall, IP transit is the core product, but Wheeler said NTT has been seeing an uptick in value-added services sales in the region as well.

The series of undersea cabling systems arriving in Latin America, particularly in Brazil when it comes to the Atlantic, and Colombia and Chile in the Pacific, is another push for data connectivity and for the company's Latin American operations.

Both globally and locally, NTT competes with big players such as AT&T and Level 3, the latter of which merged with CenturyLink in a deal valued at US$34bn, expanding its data center and connectivity footprint in South America.