Mobilink is one of the oldest mobile operators of Pakistan with largest subscriber base of 40 million mobile users. After the recent ground breaking merger with Warid Telecom, Mobilink has further strengthened its position as the number one player in the market. The combined Mobilink and Warid entity that is branded as Jazz-Warid is now the leading telecommunications service provider of 2G, 3G and LTE services in Pakistan.
With progression in telecom services, Mobilink has also entered the device market with its Jazz X series which is giving a tough competition to other smartphone brands. Recently, our Phoneworld team (PW) got a chance to have a candid conversation with Muhammad Ali Khan (MA) who is the Director Data and Devices at Mobilink. He is a Product and brand specialist with history of building and managing cross-functional teams and played an active role in the success of Jazz X brand.
In first quarter of coming year Mobilink would be in much better position to provide 4G service in major cities of Pakistan
PW: After the finalization of Jazz-Warid merger, people are anxiously anticipating new 4G services. When will Mobilink commercially launch its 4G network?
MA: Mobilink-Warid merger is the biggest event in telecom history of Pakistan. The expectations of our customers have become even higher. Therefore, we want to bring state-of-the art quality of service for our customers. Initially, we started the service for our employees, in second phase we have provided the facility to our premium customers still being in the testing phase. In first quarter of coming year we would be in much better position to provide 4G service in major cities of Pakistan.
PW: SIM replacement becomes quite a difficult task for an operator since most customers show reluctant behavior and consider it a tedious job. How is Mobilink handling that?
MA: At this stage, we have requested our customers to walk in to our service centers where free SIM replacement is done. So far, we have gotten a very good responses from our customers since most of our subscribers are active data users. In addition to 4G SIM replacements, we have also started 3G SIM distribution for Warid customers who have also shown willingness for our 3G services.
PW: Mobilink launched its own 3G smartphone brand when it rolled out its 3G services. Now than Mobilink has entered 4G market, will it follow the similar strategy and launched 4G smartphones series as well?
MA: Although we are new in handset business but from the end of 2015, we started to aggressively pursue this domain. Our Jazz X partnership with QMobile is getting superb response from market and we were building upon that. One of our main objectives is to promote smartphone penetration. Moving forward, obviously 4G smartphones will be the next step for us in handset market as well.
We are planning to launch around 10 to 12 4G handsets in the first quarter of 2017
Our two 4G smartphones are already lined-up and will be launched in February next year. We are planning to further expand our 4G device portfolio and we are also planning to bring lot of SKUs (stock keeping unit) in 2017. We are planning to launch around 10 to 12 4G handsets in the first quarter of 2017 that will surely shake up the market with amazing features and great quality products at affordable prices.
PW: 4G smartphones are comparatively more expensive, how do you plan to tackle that issue & maintain your affordable pricing target?
MA: We entered the smartphone business by introducing entry level smartphones in order to reach bigger market. Right now, our price range is less than ten thousand Rupees. We plan to use similar strategy for our 4G devices as well so that maximum customers can make use of it.
PW: Jazz X is a youth-centric brand but when we talk about youngsters, they want more power and better features. Keeping in view changing customers’ demand will Mobilink introduce any flagship device or still focus on entry-level smartphone market?
MA: Catering the needs of all market segments is definitely our priority. I think exploring new market segments with different and innovative products is a gradual process and we don’t want to rush it. Ideally speaking we don’t want Jazz X limited to just one segment rather we want to explore more segments but at the same time we want to do it with a solid strategy.
Our device market expansion is based upon our brand mileage, image and acceptance in market, once that’s up to the market we will definitely look in to other segments as well. Let me assure you that it won’t take long since the response we have gotten so far in the market is quite impressive. We want to grab even bigger market with our premium devices; for 2017, our target price would be $100 to $150.
PW: Zong is the first 4G player in the market, whereas, Telenor has the biggest mobile broadband market share. How Mobilink plans to compete in such strong and competitive 4G market?
MA: 4G is comparatively a new technology in Pakistan and none of the players have gotten a strong foothold in the market so far.
Whoever brings innovative and high quality service at better price package will capture the 4Gm market and I strongly believe that Mobilink has everything it takes to become the ultimate champion
Therefore, it’s a level playing field for everybody. Besides, whoever brings innovative and high quality service at better price package will capture the
4G market and I strongly believe that Mobilink has everything it takes to become the ultimate champion.
PW: Any message for our readers?
MA: Our mission is to bring innovation not only in our telecom services but also in our device portfolio. So keep a look-out for better and smarter technology by Mobilink.