When China Mobile Acquired Paktel, it created a stir in not only the local market but also the global arena as this was considered the Chinese operator first outing overseas it made other operators fear the awakening of the Chinese dragon in the telecom space as well. The significance of the move based on the success of Huawei and ZTE, the two Chinese vendors that routed Giants like Nokia, Ericsson, and Motorola etc., who had ruled the world for decades. The move by China Telecom sure was a matter of concern with for Global Telcos who had their presence in Pakistan such as Telenor, Etisalat, Vimplecom but they could rightly sense the same fate globally as was done by the two Chinese manufacturing giants.
Zong has sheer Commitment Towards Quality of Service and Innovation: Niaz A Malik
Since, its entry in the market, most of the fears vanished as the impact has evaporated somehow with CM PAK (Zong) still trying to catch up with the competitive Pakistan operators business. We spoke to Niaz A Malik on the various aspects of Zong and their plans, who has been with the company for quite some time and is now the Deputy CEO of Zong Pakistan. Niaz Malik earlier was the Chief Strategy Officer and the driving force to carve out the growth plan for China Mobile Pakistan. The company acquired substantial market share in the Pakistani market in the year 2013, got success after success, and became number 3 player.
Mr. Malik also remained the Chief Corporate Sales officer, Chief Information Officer, Chief of Enterprise and Governance. He also headed its multi dimension Platform and Partnership (P&P) initiatives along with being head of its PR and its Mobile Financial unit (MFS) in the recent years.
4G is the next big thing and I am very excited as it is going to transform Pakistan in to something that the industry has never seen before
In this exclusive interview with PhoneWorld team (PW), Niaz A Malik (NM) shares his insight on the telecom market settings of the country and future prospects in the industry.
PW: What do you find the most challenging aspect of your role as an industry leader?
NM: The most exciting and challenging aspect of this job is to figure out what’s next big move that will happen in Pakistan. Zong always has taken great endeavors in providing the best technology platforms. For that, we have invested close to 1 billion dollars in the 4G. We believe that 4G is the next big thing and I am very excited about that as it is going to transform Pakistan in to something that the industry has never seen before. It will provide a solid infrastructure and communication vehicle. In this revolution, Zong is going to be in the forefront and that excites me every day. Yet at the same time, there are lot of responsibilities as being a leader in the telecom industry and the Zongers, our peoples who work for zong, go through constant endeavors to ensure to provide the best technology to our people.
Market growth has been quite phenomenal; i think that companies have come up with robust innovative methods, which has given hope to masses of Pakistan
PW: How do you differentiate from other operators, what do you believe is the main strength of Zong?
NM: Zong have always been associated with most innovative technology platform. If you look at the past few years, over 50 % of new users that came on board choose Zong as the preferred platform. We consistently are growing in this intensified market. We are the largest 4G network, people believe in us, and that is what differentiates us in the market place.
We are the only company that provides the state of the art network through which the Pakistanis connect to their loved ones and to all those people who are living abroad. Digitalization is the core of everything; we have made huge investment of over 600 million dollars more than anyone else has on this alone.
PW: How is Pakistani telecom market different from other markets in your opinion?
NM: Pakistani market is very different. A lot of innovation has taken place in the industry over the last few years. We have very innovative market in terms of price plans that you enjoy in Pakistan, you will not find such plans anywhere else in the world.
4G is the most cutting edge technology through this platform we are providing new and innovative services such as m-health, m-education and M2M that will completely change the market scenario
The growth of the market has itself been quite phenomenal; i think that companies have came up with robust innovative methods, which has given hope to masses of Pakistan. This is the reason why, telecom industry is one of the most developing industry of the country that has provided a great amount of dividends to other sector of the economy in this country.
PW: What innovative solutions are you working on, what cutting edge offering can we expect from Zong in the coming years?
NM: 4G is the most robust and cutting edge technology that no other competitor is offering. This is the platform through which we are providing new and innovative services such as m-health, m-education, and machine-to-machine learning that will completely change the market scenario. In an industry, where there is stiff competition, only Zong has the platform that will facilitate the changes in the economy.
PW: What are the key trends in your opinion that will have greater impact on the IT and Telecom market over the next few years? What is the main challenge to succeed in this fast paced innovation market?
NM: Investment is the most important factor in expansion and development of any business. In telecom sector, along with network expansion we need to focus on speed, content and innovation. We have already started working on that being the leading telecom operator that is revolutionizing the industry. We have so far made investment of over 600 million dollars on this and our portfolio includes some unique products and services with regard to long distance, corporate sales, IMFs. In order to foster this technology, a great innovation is required, not only on the part of telecom operators but also on the part of Government. It is very important for Government to understand and make policies that will help facilitate the pace of growth. Government should work with telecom operators on important topics like rationalizing taxation regime, Spectrum clearance and Quality of Service. It should also support operators to enhance the availability, affodability and quality of mobile broadband because it has a direct impact on GDP of the country.
PW: What is your take on recently approved Telecom Policy? Do you think it will help or throttle growth of telecom sector of Pakistan?
NM: The current telecom policy obviously is a good initiative on the part of government; they have taken input from different stakeholders.
Our network aspiration for this year includes putting up additional 3000 3G/4G sites in the country
From policy point of view, better document came out this time as compared to the last one. How government will implement it and how effective it will be at grass root level is something we all are looking forward-to. It is a bit too early to judge that right now so we will have to be wait for the outcomes.
In the post 3G/4G era, the most important factor for the success of the company will be providing consumers excellent Quality of Service, therefore companies are strategically positioning themselves for this specific aspect
However, we believe that as leading force in telecom business and digital revolution, we have sheer commitment in terms of network expansion and advancement of technology therefore; government will find us on its side. We will obviously be the part of all those great initiatives that can differentiate our country in the League of Nations.
PW: In your opinion, what is the main trend currently affecting the telecom market now that industry is going through a transformation in post 3G/4G scene? NM: I think in the post 3G/4G era, the most important factor for the success of the company will be providing consumers excellent Quality of Service. Companies are strategically positioning themselves for this specific aspect. Lots of mergers and acquisitions are taking place in the industry, as various companies are trying to better position themselves in the market. In this regard, we have taken a leading edge by investing in 4G and making sure that we have fastest and the most robust network. At the end of the day, it is the delivery of network and user experience is what makes the ultimate difference.
PW: Another spectrum auction expected soon. Do you think that there is any appetite for further spectrum auction?
NM: This is something Government has to look at. We are more concerned about our efforts in terms of mobilizing our 4G network and providing greater experience to our customers.
PW: 10. What is the best advice you wish to pass on to our readers? NM: I am extremely thankful to all the people who rely on Zong every day and trust our service and we will try to come to their expectation. We will ensure that you continue to enjoy good speed, innovative content and excellent quality. For that, we are building an entire eco-system; we are bringing different forces together in order to ensure that Zongers and our valued customers have the best possible experience in the world.
We will ensure that our customers continue to enjoy good speed, innovative content and excellent quality. For that, we are building an entire eco-system; we are bringing different forces together in order to ensure that our valued customers have the best possible experience.