When DISH Network Corp. CEO Joseph P. Clayton came to Puerto Rico several months ago to assess his company’s local performance, he didn’t like what he saw.
“I was actually here in March. I toured some of our retail locations and I was not happy. It was a diverse, not consistent looking feel to the brand and message,” the down-to-Earth, high-ranking executive said. “That being said, we’re still the largest paid TV provider on the island with a little over a third of the business.”
So, with the goal in mind to straighten out the local operation and expand its local footprint, DISH is partnering with Claro de Puerto Rico to begin offering bundled services that include paid satellite TV service, broadband and telephony.
“With this relationship with Claro, with more investment in our brand — in the displays, which you’ll be seeing in the malls — I fully expect to grow to over 50 percent of the paid TV business here on the island,” Clayton said.
“So, we have high expectations, and we’ll be making a significant investment as well in the infrastructure and the people and in our brand,” he said, while refraining to disclose the amount, adding that “if I told you that, you would tell [competitor] DirecTV.”
On Tuesday, the companies disclosed the details of their newly formed partnership through which Claro is looking to expand the paid TV service via satellite technology it launched in April 2010. Existing customers will be migrated to the new service, Claro Puerto Rico President Enrique Ortiz de Montellano said.
“We’ll be slowly phasing out that product and replacing it with DISH,” he said. “The satellite service will continue to co-exist with our IPTV offering. DISH gives us a national reach in a quick manner, while IPTV will continue operating in the areas where it is available.”
The new DISH bundles start at $54.98, which buys subscribers the three services. From DISH, customers will receive a 30-inch antenna to access as many as 100 HD channels, the company’s proprietary Hopper DVR service, while Claro will provide a dedicated Internet with speed up to 50 mega, a free Wi-Fi modem, access to Claro Wi-Fi hotspots on the island and unlimited telephony throughout Puerto Rico.
The local partnership, which has been several months in the making, is not a first between DISH and Claro. In Mexico, Claro’s parent company América Móvil has been offering paid TV services to customers through the DISH platform for the past four or five years, company officials said.
Locally, DISH will be investing to ramp up its customer service and administrative structure, which calls for adding about a dozen new jobs, Clayton said.