Millicom offers a range of digital services to more than 63 million customers primarily under the Tigo brand in fourteen markets in Africa and Latin America. Leading Edge talks to José Perdomo, Managing Director of Tigo Paraguay
Leading Edge (LE): Tell us about Millicom, the parent company of Tigo Paraguay.
José Perdomo (JP): Tigo Paraguay is a member of the Millicom Group, a company with 24 years of history and with its success based on entrepreneurship and innovation. Millicom is a member of the AB Kinnevik Investment Group (“Kinnevik”), a very well known business group from Sweden with investments in sectors such as telecommunications, e-commerce, entertainment, and financial services. Millicom is positioned in emerging markets in high-growth sectors of mobile communications, phone networks, and content. As a part of its mission to spearhead the adoption of the internet and the digital lifestyle, through its operations in Africa and Latin America, Millicom has been a pioneer in products and services with a large social impact.
LE: What is the role of Tigo Paraguay and what is its value-added offering?
JP: Within the context of the group, Tigo Paraguay has always been distinguished for its boldness and innovation, along with its large degree of sensitivity to what customers want and need. What is happening in Paraguay? You can reinvent the world in a different way with technology. Paraguay is very interesting, as it is a market where many special and unique things occur with relative normality. In fact, the competent and regulatory authorities of the financial sector have been the greatest supporters of financial inclusion via technology, and have even promoted the model at the international level. Tigo Paraguay acquired a cable operator four years ago now, and from this base, accelerated the distribution of the Internet and TV across the country. With the rights to televise football as its centrepiece, the Paraguayan sports channel Tigo Sports was created. We have invested in HD studios, creating a unique offering. Currently we are covering all types of sports in Paraguay, so that all of them have advertising resources to be able to invest, and so that sports can develop in Paraguay. This is another innovation not within the normal scope of a network operator.
We are the fourth-highest rated employer in Paraguay according to the Great Place to Work survey, and are market leaders in the category of ‘I go the extra mile for the company
LE: What have been your top priorities since taking on the role of Tigo Paraguay’s CEO?
JP: From the beginning, my focus has not only been on innovation, but also on improving relationships with customers through the improvement of the services we provide. In general, this consists of making the company stronger and more reliable. It is during this process where we encounter the passion of our employees. We have invested in networks, systems, call centres, stores, products, and invoicing to build trust and improve credibility, which are fundamental pillars for the continuity of any company. Along with innovation, of course. And our partners, who were very passionate, responsed overy positively. People are motivated. In fact, we are the fourth highest rated employer in Paraguay according to the Great Place to Work survey, and are market leaders in the category of “I go the extra mile for the company.”
LE: What will be the most important short and medium-term investments of Tigo Paraguay?
JP: At Tigo Paraguay, we have announced our 2020 commitments, which aim to spur on the digital transformation with determination, and to contribute to the economic development of the country alongside this digital transformation. Paraguay is a great place for doing business, setting up a factory, building, and exports because it is very competitive in terms of taxation, has a qualified and affordable workforce, and a low cost of energy. The message from the government is real and coherent. As for the people, Paraguayan professionals are people with a lot of motivation and interest in learning and growing.
Paraguay has a long road ahead of it in this sector. There are still a large number companies and homes that remain digitally unconnected. Only 15% of homes have high-speed Internet. This figure could reach 60%, but for that to happen, networks need to be built. In this country, 92% of transactions are made in cash, and only 8% are made electronically. That means there is a “blue ocean” of opportunities in the area of electronic payments. These opportunities will lead to tax revenue, which, in turn, will lead to further investment in Paraguay