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DIRECTV bets on neutral networks to offer connectivity services

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Satellite pay-TV company DIRECTV, recently acquired by Werthein Group, is advancing talks with neutral network operators in Latin America to strengthen its connectivity service.

“In Argentina we are working with Metrotel and we continue working [to incorporate] more companies that want to provide our services,” DIRECTV Latin America’s south region director, Silvana Lettieri, told BNamericas.

Speaking at a panel at industry chamber ATVC’s international conference in Buenos Aires, Lettieri highlighted that entering the connectivity business is imperative. "Today we have neutral networks available to reach the customer's home with a complete service," she added.

Apart from Metrotel, the company has alliances with FiBrasil (Telefônica and CDPQ) in Brazil, WIN in Peru and Velonet in Colombia and is evaluating other opportunities in the region, Lettieri told BNamericas.

She specified that the selected model is not limited to agreements with neutral networks to offer broadband service as a white label, but that service bundling alliances are also under evaluation.

DIRECTV has an agreement with Argentina’s iPlan under which the latter markets the OTT service DIRECTV Go along with its internet offer. “Among the two suppliers, we reach the client home with the best offer,” said Lettieri.

In the past, the company forged similar alliances for bundling broadband services with satellite television.

Lettieri said the company has fiber optics and 4G clients in countries where it obtained spectrum to provide connectivity.

"We are also exploring the possibility of providing satellite internet because this will connect us with a sector with which we already have a lot of relationships, which is the rural sector," she said.

Asked if DIRECTV was evaluating the use of geostationary satellites with KA-band or a constellation of low-orbit satellites, Lettieri only replied that the market is still being explored. “We are not limiting ourselves to anything in particular,” she added.

"This is a project [to provide internet connectivity] that will be strengthened and expanded, always based on feedback from our users, because their experience is decisive for our decisions," she said.

The company does not share data on the number of broadband customers as it is a start-up business.

Vrio, which handles DIRECTV’s regional operations, has 10mn subscribers in 11 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. In Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay, 47% of DIRECTV Go subscribers have also contracted the traditional pay-TV service and use the streaming platform as a complement, while 23% only use the OTT service, according to figures released in July.

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