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CANTV: Fraying at the Edges

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CANTV is boosting clients, but its service is declining - and corruption is growing.

BY JOHN SWEENEY

CARACAS —  CANTV’s operational and financial performance has improved significantly since it was nationalized in May 2007, says company president Socorro Hernandez.  

However, CANTV’s published numbers tell a different story - of a company with an expanding client base which is failing to make needed investments to modernize and expand its operations. And the investments CANTV is failing to make this year will probably be reflected in deteriorated service as early as 2009, says Wolfgang Schalck, a telecommunications engineer who does consulting work for CANTV. 

Fixed line, cellular and Internet services provided by market-leader CANTV have continued growing in the 18 months since the government of President Hugo Chavez took control of the company.  

For instance, CANTV claims the number of fixed line telephone clients grew by almost one million new subscribers from the first quarter 2007 through mid-2008, and presently totals over 4.2 million clients.  

WIRELESS LEADER

In the same period, CANTV’s cellular telephony subsidiary Movilnet increased from about 9.2 million clients to over 10.4 million, displacing Spanish-owned Movistar as the largest cellular telephone provider in Venezuela. CANTV also has implemented an aggressive direct marketing campaign by telephone to increase its client base for ABA Internet broadband services.

Keywords: Corruption, Customer Service, Finances, Ideology, Service Interruptions

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