The pace of technological development post 1970s and its impact on evolution of our society has been incredible. From the first cellphone in 1973, that weighed a staggering 1.1 kg to the first commercial cell phone ten years later, in 1983, which cost $4,000 to a series of Motorollas and Nokias in the 90s followed by Blackberry in 99’ and the first Apple smartphone in 2008. Telenor Spearheading Digitalization in Pakistan.
With the development of cellular ecosystem, people’s needs have evolved and matured. Now we can’t even imagine stepping out of our home without our cellphones or going a day without connecting with our friends and family thousands of miles away.
Telenor Spearheading Digitalization in Pakistan
With these developments, technology has become a part of our lifestyle and there are some specific segments that are truly benefiting from this technological revolution in Pakistan.
Being an emerging market, Pakistan has immense potential to grow with tele-density reaching at an almost saturation point already. There are few forward looking organizations that are foreseeing and tapping into the upcoming markets in the digital arena.
Digital lifestyle partner
What more do we imagine and expect out of our cellphones? They’re already an integral part of our lives. In fact, a lot of people prefer smartphones over laptops for various activities because they’re more compact and easy to carry. We can already see cellphones replacing computers whether we want to plan a travel or watch something over the internet. Pocket TV (Goong) is such an app that allows you to catch up with your favorite shows on TV whenever and wherever you go.
Apps are taking over the digital arena by fulfilling various customer needs. Today, there are thousands of apps on app stores, each aiming to target a unique need. Digitalizing the regular cellular services, apps like ‘My Telenor App’ gives complete empowerment to the customer to be in charge of their call and data plans.
Some apps are integral in our daily lives; for example Facebook, Whatsapp Twitter etc. In Pakistan, Wowbox is the third largest app which aims to become the customer’s lifestyle partner. Currently it is available for Telenor customers only and provides an all-in-one experience for updates, games and social media updates.
Cellular services: Check! What’s next?
So, you’ve provided cellular services and high tech phones to the customers. What next? Providing this basic infrastructure to masses is only the beginning of scaled digitalization. In Pakistan, agriculture is the highest GDP generating segment and to help farmers by giving them localized advisory services, Telenor Pakistan launched an IVR service called ‘Khushaal Zamindaar’ which is currently being used by over 4 million customers across Punjab with 20% of them being females!
Another dilemma in Pakistan is the unregistered births due to unavailability of means and lack of awareness, especially in the rural areas. In this day and age, if there’s one thing that most of us have in common is owning a mobile phone. And right there is a tool which will be a solution to many problems. The ‘Digital Birth Registration’ aka DBR piloted by Telenor Pakistan in collaboration with UNICEF across the rural areas of Sindh and Punjab. The initiative not only increased birth registration rates by over 200 percent in targeted areas, but also helped innumerable children reclaim their right to identity besides enabling the government to keep track of the population dynamics.
Providing banking services to masses is another agenda that the cellular operators are pursuing relentlessly. Telenor is the first operator to pioneer branchless banking for the 85 percent unbanked and underbanked population of the country with Easypaisa. The product is now used by over 16 million people on monthly basis with daily Easypaisa transactions reaching up to 1.53 billion. Easypaisa’s online payment solution ‘Easypay’ has accelerated the country’s e-commerce sector by eliminating barriers in its progress. Pakistani shoppers are usually hesitant to online purchases owing to lack of credibility and online security. Easypay’s Escrow service gives online buyers the level of trust and reliability by withholding payments to the vendors till the buyer receives the ordered merchandise and expresses his/her satisfaction. To make all these transactions easier, Easypaisa’s mobile app enables users from recharging their mobile accounts, making cash transactions, to paying bills, the app continues to empower the Pakistani people and promote financial inclusion on a mass scale.
Can we be a part of this digital revolution?
A short and direct answer to this is: Yes! With the pace of change in the telco industry with ginormous customer needs, it is imperative to continuously innovate and come up with solutions that empower the people. Let’s say I have an idea and I’ve done most of the groundwork, established the basic dynamics of my business model but don’t have the scale or insights to reach my target market. It is then that corporates like Telenor Pakistan with initiatives like Velocity step in to accelerate my start up by giving me access and insights into my target audience out of their subscriber base of millions. Not only that, Velocity also gives the opportunity to reach out to international investment funds through Digital Winners Asia (DWA). Quite recently a Velocity graduate startup, Micropower Labs, won at DWA to scale their initiative to Telenor’s international markets.
A comparison of our lifestyle over the past 50 years is a testament to the rapid pace of technology. We’ve entered the digital era with a lot of developments happening right before our eyes and many more yet to come. It is these times when we should keep a lookout and associate with front runner lifestyle partners aiming to Empower Pakistan.