Entrepreneur: Leonel Roman
HQ: Managua, Nicaragua
Number of Employees: 1-10
GIIRS Rating: coming soon
“I have been in this business for many years,” Leonel Roman, the founder of Wifinic, stated. Roman was already a fixture in the world of Central American telecommunications having accumulated over 30 years of experience in the field. Roman previously managed the DirectTV franchise in Nicaragua and Costa Rica from 1999-2004. After merging his pervious company, Nacsa, with Estesa (eventually acquired by cable TV company Claro) Roman began identifying another need in the Central American telecommunications market.
“There were many customers throughout Nicaragua who didn’t have internet service,” Leonel explains. “There is internet service in Nicaragua, but it is mostly centered in and around Managua, the capital. Access is limited outside the capital, in rural areas. Where there is internet access, it was very expensive.” As a result, households and schools were often cut off from the digital world.
Leonel spotted an opportunity. In Nicaragua, most customers received internet services via cable; however, such companies often didn’t penetrate more remote regions of the country. As a result, Leonel began using fiber optic cables and line-of-site towers to provide internet services. “There are a few companies in Nicaragua that wholesale internet capacity to retailers like us,” Leonel explains. “They purchase internet capacity in the U.S. and bring it to Nicaragua using one or more of the existing fiber optic submarine cables that come from Miami to here and to other countries as well,” Leonel states. The fiber optic cable extends from Managua to other urban centers throughout the country. “From that city,” Leonel continues. “We extend it via microwave to the places where our customers are. We buy at wholesale price, we take it to the customers’ homes, we retail it, and provide customer service.”
Through services provided by WifiNic, customers around Nicaragua who were once isolated from the digital world are now connected to thoughts, ideas, knowledge, and information that had previously been inaccessible. Cyber cafes have sprung up in coastal and rural areas outside the capital city. In fact, WifiNic provides free internet service to several schools and a health clinic.
WifiNic looks to expand its service in Managua on a house by house basis. Currently, the majority of his clients are tourist developments and resorts in coastal areas; however, Leonel has the ambition of reaching “all corners of Nicaragua.”