Telenor CEO Vows to Take the ‘innovation’ Ladder Higher
When it comes to aims and ambitions, there is always room to go higher.
Following the spectrum auction that landed 3G and 4G services in the country, a whole new avenue is now available to cellular mobile operators (CMOs) and has set the stage for further growth and expansion. Same is the case with Telenor Pakistan. Newly-appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Michael Foley is looking to build on the company’s “innovation”.
CEO Telenor said:
Since its inception, the story of Telenor Pakistan has been of innovation, I resolve to take this innovation story forward especially in this new exciting times of 3G that Pakistan has been introduced to. It is quite exciting to assume the role at a significant moment in Telenor Pakistan’s history as the country moves into a future where everyone will be able to access the internet, affordably and easily.
Relatively a new player in the market, the Norwegian telecom giant’s local subsidiary has been growing its market share constantly. Boasting 26% or 36.5 million of the country’s cellular subscribers on its network, the company is closely following market leader Mobilink that enjoys 28% share. However, Telenor Pakistan claims that it dominates the market when it comes to consumers who use internet over their mobile phones.
My predecessor [Lars Christian Luel] built a strong market position for Telenor Pakistan to capture further market growth. The company continues to grow its market share and is set to further develop its leading consumer internet position following the rollout of its 3G services and it is an honour to drive this transition.
There are 30 million internet users in the country and half of them access it via mobile phones. Internet has a 15% population penetration, the country has low internet penetration but technology pundits predict that the use of broadband will increase on the back of recently-introduced third-generation mobile internet services, Foley thinks.
The arrival of 3G services represents the beginning of a new age of connectivity in Pakistan, Telenor’s new chief said. Today, barely one in every 10 Pakistani has access to the internet. While millions of Telenor Pakistan customers are using internet services over 2G today, it is expected that this number will soar with 3G uptake.
Telenor Pakistan, according to industry sources, was the most-prepared operator in terms of network swap at the time of 3G auction. On June 1, the company commercially launched the service in big cities, while starting the second phase recently.
While Foley is exciting about market opportunities and Telenor’s market position, he also notes that there are certain challenges that will test his leadership skills as he steers the company towards growth.
The CEO says the tax burden on cellular consumers is very high, especially keeping in view the average income of a Pakistani citizen. Of the 139 million telecom subscribers, 80% are below the threshold of taxable income.
“We would request the government to consider rationalizing various taxes imposed on the industry, both at the federal and provincial level.”