Guillermo Santos
Commercial Director
Axesat Mexico
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Satellites Essential to Smooth Oilfield Activities

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 11:29

Q: How did the Telecommunications Reform influence Axesat’s decision to enter this market through the acquisition of Enlaces Integra?

A: Satelites Mexicanos (Satmex) was a Mexican private company specialized in launching satellites and selling the capacity of those satellites. It created Enlaces Integra to provide added value services, such as internet access, video, data streaming, or voice services, which requires a different permit. Before Axesat entered the country, we looked for a company that could help us rapidly grow here. At this point, Satmex had been bought by Eutelsat, which only focuses on satellites. Therefore, the acquisition of Enlaces Integra made complete sense. It was suited to our main practices and already had the client base that we wanted to tap into. It is important to know that Axesat only handles corporate clients so we do not provide internet for households in small communities, for example. As such, we really needed to find a company that only catered to the business segment, which was another reason we matched so well with Enlaces Integra. We are trying to make Mexico our main base for providing services to the Latin American market. From Mexico, we have been targeting a lot of countries in the region where we think we can grow our business by 40-50%. We have 12,000 antennas installed across all our operations, with around 6,000 in Mexico. We have also been broadening our technology for the oil and gas market, so we believe 20-25% of our total revenue could now come from that sector.

Q: Who are your technological partners in Mexico, and what advantages do they provide to your activities?

A: We rely strongly on partnerships. In Mexico, the best satellite at the moment is SatMex-6, now rebranded as Eutelsat 113 West A. In order to offer Mexico the best service we can, we need to offer the best satellite for every client based on their location in a particular region of Mexico or Latin America. To provide this breadth of options, we have established technological partnerships with four of the five biggest companies in the satellite business. These all provide us with similar services with a measure of customization, which allows us to match the best satellite and technology combination with a client’s needs. We have a wide range of choices to use so we can ensure a tailor-made solution for every client.

Q: Does Axesat manage its sales directly or through distributors?

A: For the oil and gas segment, we handle our sales directly. Axesat is highly specialized on selling telecommunications solutions to the oil and gas industry, giving us the knowledge and experience to do direct sales. However, we naturally work a lot through the major Mexican carriers, such as Telmex, Alextra, and Axtel. We are not competing with such companies as we help them grow their business. For example, it is impossible to run a fiber optic cable all the way to certain remote oil and gas sites. It is far easier for Axesat to go in alone, set up a dedicated antenna, and bring in telecommunications that way. This means that we help these major operators expand their networks through our technology. As for distributors, we are very strict in who we pick. If we were going to work with distributors in the oil and gas industry, they would need to have real expertise of the sector and of the solutions we would provide. Otherwise, they would just get in our way. We have very few distributors here in Mexico at the moment.

Q: The company has an operations center in Mexico City as well as Bogota. What was the reason for installing such a facility in the country?

A: There are two reasons for this, pricing and the satellites themselves. The best satellites to work with in Mexico are not the best satellites options in Colombia. We needed to have a main antenna, which we call Point to Satellite, and it needed to be in the optimal location for our clients in Mexico. We actually bought the one that Enlaces Integra already had in operation, renovated it, and included new technologies. The Mexican market, and specifically the oil and gas industry, needed a dedicated operations center. In smaller countries, one center can serve three countries, but we had to be able to target all of Mexico from within the country. Having this operations center in Mexico City allows us to cover the entire geographical spread of Mexico, respond quickly to client needs, and provide all our services from one spot. Axesat is an international company but being Axesat Mexico we want to provide what the Mexican market needs. Every market is in a different state of development and we need to fully understand and focus on what is happening in Mexico. Our operations center here is devoted to that task.