AT&T LatAm doubles business

AT&T Latin America Corp., a broadband services provider to Latin American businesses, in 2000 doubled its number of multinational clients in the region and exceeded its network expansion goals.

At the close of 2000, AT&T Latin America’s network had more than 130,000 kilometers of fiber optic cable and covered 13 cities in the five countries in which the company operates, the carrier announced Thursday. The company’s statement didn’t say what the original expansion goal had been. The company spent about $212 million in 2000 to expand its network, with most of the money going to its network in Brazil (43 per cent) and in Argentina (34 percent).

AT&T Latin America also announced that it expects revenue growth of between 13 per cent and 15 per cent in its fourth quarter, ended Dec. 31, 2000, in line with its previous guidance of 10 to 15 per cent growth. The company is expected to report its fourth-quarter results during the week of Feb. 22, according to First Call/Thomson Financial.

Meanwhile, AT&T Latin America ended the year 2000 with 700 multinational clients, twice as many as in 1999. The company estimates that there are about 3,000 multinational companies operating in Latin America.

AT&T Latin America, founded in Oct. 1999, is part of a group of alternative carriers that are taking advantage of the opening up to competition of Latin American telecommunications markets to offer advanced services to businesses.

Most Latin American countries launched efforts to privatize their state telcos and open up their telecommunications markets to competition during the 1990s, a process that is still ongoing and at different stages in each country. As a result, investment in infrastructure has increased significantly and yielded a wider variety of services. Spending has also picked up significantly since the telecom revamping got under way in the region. Consumers and businesses spent about US$45 billion on telecommunications services in 1999 in Latin America, a figure expected to reach $92 billion in 2004, according to Pyramid Research Inc.

AT&T Latin America, which has about 1,900 employees, also operates in Chile, Per