EconomyFinancialAltán adds a million users so far in 2022,...

Altán adds a million users so far in 2022, while looking askance at 5G

Altán Redes, a company that seeks to connect remote areas in Mexico through its Red Compartida project, managed to pay one million users in the first five months of the year, bringing the total to 6 million. But, despite the progress, the company is still far from the goal of 19 million users that had been set at the end of last year.

Altán Redes, which operates under a business- to-business business model (in other words, it does not sell services to final consumers but only to other telecommunications operators), also added two new companies to its list of clients for a total of 114 clients that offer 257 integrated services.

For industry analysts, the addition of both users and customers is positive for the company, as it reflects that telecommunications service providers continue to trust the Red Compartida project to bring their service offerings to remote areas; however, they recognize that growth is going at a slow pace at a time when the company requires liquidity to face the millionaire debt it has with suppliers and investors.

Michel Hernández Tafoya, president of Observatel, points out that the main challenge now facing the company chaired by Salvador Álvarez is to retain the clients and users who have managed to pay for their network.

“Now (Altán) already has more users, but it will be essential to see, a year from now, how many of those 6 million have remained connected to that network. This will depend on whether Altán’s network works correctly and whether there are no (reliability) problems in the services that its clients offer to users”, he comments.

Altán Redes is facing a commercial bankruptcy process and is in the debt recognition stage with each of its more than 70 creditors, of which Promtel, Huawei, Nokia and American Tower seek to be recognized as “priority” to receive their payments soon. of debt.

In addition, the company expects an injection of capital through a second loan that it will obtain this time from the national bank and that is around 100 million dollars. The first credit obtained by Altán was received on August 31, 2021 and amounted to 50 million dollars.

Despite the fact that the company is operating in the red, Salvador Álvarez, CEO of Altán Redes, said in a statement that the addition of new users to the network is due to “the result of the aggressive business plan that we began to promote at the end of 2019, including the launch of disruptive offers from our MVNOs (virtual mobile operators) with plans up to four times cheaper than the competition”.

He added that the participation of MVNOs, such as Izzi Móvil, Megamóvil, Coppel’s Redi and Walmart’s Bait, within the total number of clients who pay them to use their network increased from 15% in 2019 to 67% at the end of last year. This is reflected in the type of services most contracted by end users.

Of the 6 million served by Altán indirectly – through other companies that use its infrastructure – 81% correspond to the mobile internet segment and 19% to domestic internet.

5G, a lifesaver?

The migration of the 5G network could give Altán Redes an additional attraction to attract new clients. On its website, it states that the 4.5G technology with which it operates allows it to migrate to 5G faster.

Jorge Fernando Borjón, former commissioner of the Federal Telecommunications Institute, affirms that the Red Compartida was designed to transition to 5G, but the demand for services of this new network will depend on the appetite in the market and how the fifth generation in networks evolves. AT&T and Telcel. “It’s a long-term investment, so for the time being, fifth-generation networking could not help you improve your finances,” he says.

The Observatel manager points out that because 5G technology is not yet as attractive to customers as it is to users, the migration to this new technology should not be a priority for Red Compartida, since its adoption requires large investments and ensure financial viability.

“Altán has an advantage because it is probably not relevant for its potential clients to have 5G, perhaps later on no operator will want to be out of 5G, but for now probably for its niche clients it may be better to be with 4.5G”, he adds. Hernandez Tafoya.

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