I had the chance to catch Gabriel Torres, Vice President and General Manager for T-Mobile USA, Inc.’s Southeast region, and a rising star in his field, on one of his rare breaks. Torres came to the U.S. from Mexico over 18 years ago, has worked in all sectors of the telecommunications industry, and was just named by Hispanic Business as one of the top 25 corporate executives for 2013. We chatted about how telecommunication companies like T-Mobile are reaching out to Latino communities.
According to Torres, Latinos are adopting smart phones at a much faster rate than the general population; while approximately 60% of all consumers buying phones are investing in smart phones, an estimated 70% of Latino consumers are investing in smart phones. Getting a sizeable portion of this market is the goal of companies like T-Mobile, and as a high-ranking Latino at the company, Torres has a big role in helping shape the company’s outreach strategy to Latino communities in the U.S.
In fact, T-Mobile has already launched some interesting strategies to target Latinos. In January, it was announced that T-Mobile is the official wireless sponsor of Major League Baseball (MLB). As part of this deal, T-Mobile will provide MLB with a wireless voice communication system that will connect managers in MLB dugouts to coaches in bullpens. Exposure to beísbol aficionados? Check. T-Mobile has also launched a deal with Telemundo’s new telenovela set in Miami, Pasión Prohibida, where the actors in the show hurl across a room, or sob with dramatic flair into their T-Mobile smartphones. Exposure to millions of drama loving Latinos? Check. And finally, just this month, it was revealed that T-Mobile was the presenting official sponsor of the 2013 “Premio Lo Nuestro” Latin music awards, to be held this Thursday, February 21st. As part of this partnership, T-Mobile will help activate the magenta carpet and will sponsor the Social Media Wall, a backstage area hosted by Miss Universe Amelia Vega. Exposure to Latin music lovers everywhere? Check.
While these new partnerships are certainly exciting, T-Mobile knows that it has to invest in the local communities where it operates in order to really build up customer brand loyalty. According to Torres, T-Mobile does this in part by recruiting Latinos. “It’s very important for us to also make sure that whoever we’re putting in positions of leadership… that they have at least the cultural understanding of the markets that they manage,” stated Torres. In addition, T-Mobile is giving back to local communities through events like “Huddle Up,” where T-Mobile employees volunteer their time and resources to a local after-school center aimed at disadvantaged youth. For Torres, these efforts aren’t just about a physical transformation of a local youth center, “it’s about enabling technology.”
It’s clear that Torres in his role at T-Mobile is enjoying this new phase of his career. When I asked him what advice he had for young Latinos looking to enter the telecommunications industry, he replied that T-Mobile is looking for people that have an affinity for technology, people skills and an openness to learn. But most importantly, emphasized Torres, they should have a “love for the gadgets.”
By Being Latino Contributor, Alexandra Aquino-Fike