Telefónica, Latinet Team on Central America VPNs

In an effort to serve businesses requiring high-speed telecommunication services in Latin America, Latinet Corp. announced Thursday that it has teamed up with Telefónica Centroamérica to roll out international private lines, VPNs (virtual private networks) and videoconferencing services for businesses in Central America.

The agreement calls for the companies to serve Panama, Guatemala, El Salvador and the U.S. this year, with plans to expand to the rest of Central America in 2001, according to a written statement from Latinet.

One of the benefits for both Latinet and Telefónica is that each company has operations in countries that the other doesn't, said Frank Kardonski, vice president of sales for Latinet.

For the consumer, the services offered by the alliance can be more cost effective than if each company went at the market alone, Kardonski added. "By building a joint network, we're making (our services) cost-effective for the end consumer," he said.

Latinet said that the first step in the agreement with Telefónica would be to interconnect their respective networks, which would enlarge the geographical footprint of the network and increase the number of customers that can be offered guaranteed quality of service.

The network offerings of Latinet and Telefónica will allow users to establish secure connections through private and managed IP (Internet protocol) backbones, which will work as private networks by connecting sites within the region and offer security between companies and their clients, Latinet said.

Latinet sees Central America as a growing market for international private lines, VPNs and videoconferencing services, according to Kardonski. "Markets that have a lot of growth potential have a lot of growth opportunities for small carriers like" Latinet, he said.

There are obstacles to being successful in Central America, such as changing political (and) regulatory situations, Kardonski noted. "Because we're a company founded in Panama, we ... know how to do business in Latin America."Latinet provides integrated broadband and Internet access in Latin America, with operations in Panama, Ecuador, Venezuela, Costa Rica and the U.S.

Telefónica Centroamérica is a division of Spain's Telefónica SA and has operations in El Salvador and Guatemala, according to Telefónica's Web site.

Latinet, in Miami, can be reached at +1-305-373-8832 or on the Web at http://www.latinet.net/. Telefónica SA, in Madrid, is at http://www.telefonica.es/.

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