Ricardo Suárez
Co-Founder & CEO
Weex
/
View from the Top

Information to Empower

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 12:09

Q: What is weex’s vision and how is the company helping to transform the telecommunications landscape in Mexico?

A: weex was created to empower young people. We noticed that one of the most common problems young people face was their severely limited access to mobile data. This limitation led us to the conclusion that it was a good moment to break into the industry. We decided to pursue the opportunity to go after a neglected segment, using a differentiated value proposition driven by our desire to empower young people with access to information, to help ensure their economic, personal and professional development. It became truly important to offer a differentiated product for this segment. From day one, we have worked alongside young people in the design of the company. While we were negotiating the contract with the carrier and obtaining all the needed permits, we designed some applications that allowed us to simulate our offering for about eight or nine months, iterating what was working and what was not.  

Q: What added value does weex offer compared to both traditional and virtual network operators?

A: Our main differentiator is that our users only pay for what they really use, rather than paying a monthly plan full of services that they do not need. Our goal is to provide users with certainty regarding how their data is being used. A common frustration for users is that they deposit MX$20 or MX$50 and two days later they find that they no longer have any balance in their account and they do not know how that money was spent since they have not used the data or made any phone calls. 
We operate following three pillars: control, transparency and flexibility. We provide clients with control through a concept we call packs, where users can buy time for their favorite apps regardless of megabytes. For instance, a user can buy two unlimited hours of Waze for only MX$2, providing certainty regarding how the overall balance is going to be affected. The concept has been well-received among our niche. One element that is attractive for our users is the fact that they can create their own package according to the number of megabytes they require for a number of days or depending on how much money they have available. The basic concept is that we adapt to the users’ needs instead of having the users adapting to us. We try to adapt our offering to the budget and to the requirements of our users, something a carrier has a lot of problems doing because they attend a universe of millions. In the end, this is what virtual operators do: try to attend a segment in a way that operators cannot. 

Q: How will virtual operators change the telecoms ecosystem in Mexico?

A: We are at the initial stage of an industry development that will change the current ecosystem. Virtual operators are here to offer more options to users, which indirectly generates competition. Even though we cannot compete directly with big carriers, the fact that the final user can have six or seven options that provide an added value or differentiated services enriches the market. 

Q: Three years after virtual operators entered in the country, how does the segment’s development compare to other parts of the world?

A: Comparisons are complicated because each country has its own dynamic, nature and regulations. A mostly pre-paid market acts differently to a mostly postpaid market. Many successful cases of virtual operator assimilation happen in post-paid markets. A lot of European countries enter this segment; for instance, Germany or the Netherlands, where virtual operators have almost a 40 percent market share. For us, it has not been a surprise that the development of the sector is going so slowly. We are aware that it will take longer to reach a 10 or 15 percent market share. We need to educate users and the market regarding what virtual operators can offer. It is a matter of developing trust and credibility but it will take time.