Carlos Slim’s Claro Hits Back at Upstart Rival: ‘It’s All Smoke’


Billionaire Carlos Slim’s America Movil SAB isn’t about to back down in the publicity fight for Colombia’s mobile market.

The company’s Claro brand took to Twitter on Wednesday with videos that appeared to jab back at taunts from a small upstart company, Wom, which is setting up service in the country.

While it didn’t name companies specifically, Claro seemed to directly respond to Wom’s publicity barbs, boasting of its size in the country and adding “the rest is all smoke.” One of the videos appeared to poke fun at Wom’s theatrical chief executive, Chris Bannister, with an actor taking selfies and flashing the horns as a hand gesture.

Carlos Slim’s Claro Hits Back at Upstart Rival: ‘It’s All Smoke’

“For months they’ve been telling you that you deserve more,” a caption reads as the actor is hit by a plume of purple smoke, Wom’s signature color. “But until now you haven’t seen anything.”

The videos were later deleted from the Twitter account @ClaroColombia. A company spokesman had no immediate comment.

Even though it has yet to launch, Wom has used brash tactics to go after Claro, the market leader. At a media launch last year, it went as far as to depict Claro and other competitors as crying schoolyard bullies. Analysts say Wom poses a threat, after its sister company rapidly became successful in Chile in the last five years.

Carlos Slim’s Claro Hits Back at Upstart Rival: ‘It’s All Smoke’

The Wom brands are backed by the same European private equity firm, Novator Partners LLP. Wom didn’t respond to a message seeking comment.

Colombia is a key market for Mexico-based America Movil, a regional telecommunications giant that helped make Slim Latin America’s richest person, with a net worth of $54 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

In a conference call with analysts last month, America Movil CEO Daniel Hajj said of the Wom challenge, “we’re prepared to compete, as we compete in other places with new competitors.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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