Telenor: Visions from the visionary | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 01, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 06:10 PM, April 05, 2016

Telenor: Visions from the visionary

Telenor is easily one of the most far-sighted businesses in the world today. Where others dwindle and decrease in prominence, Telenor has gone from strength to strength. But what does it take to not only be a market leader but to keep a firm grip on such a covetable position? The Telenor Youth Forum held in Oslo, Norway, offered a chance to pick the brains of the visionaries behind Telenor and understand a little of what concepts are worked on at the Telenor Headquarters on a daily basis.

In a short question and answer session following a keynote speech delivered by Sigve Brekke, the group's CEO summarised a few of the telecom giant's future plans, for Bangladesh along with the rest of the countries they operate in. Sigve began his speech, by underlining the reasons behind the tremendous growth experience by Telenor across its numerous markets. He pointed out how one of the leading factors behind the growth was the demand for communication in countries like Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, with the first two countries amassing 53.1 million and 39.8 million users, respectively.

Spread across 13 markets worldwide, Mr. Sigve explained the telecom's reliance on the Asian markets, which generates nearly 51% of the total revenue. “When we went to Bangladesh in 1996, people said we must be out of our minds. They said that no one in Bangladesh could afford a cell phone,” he recalled. The growth soon showed how wrong detractors were and Telenor's ambitious project was indeed a great success. Perhaps Bangladesh's response could be credited with the group's further expansion in Asia.

Speaking after his speech at the Telenor Headquarters in Fornebu, Norway, Mr. Sigve explained Telenor's strategies going forward, especially in terms of dealing with the digitalisation of the global markets. “Telenor today is making decisions for the mass market, which explains our localized approach. The main customer growth is coming from Asia and there is no growth being observed in the European market,” he further said. “We are treating each market differently, providing localised services. Therefore, we are planning keeping digitalization in mind, in terms of distribution and provision of services.”

When queried on how they can counter the growth of alternate means of communication, such as Whatsapp and Skype, Mr. Sigve said that in such cases they would usually take two approaches. “We can take a position on these services or have our own services and apps for communication. The second method is to continually improve our services and our network.” “The internet traffic volume doubles every year and I think this doubling will continue. Consumption of data by using video services such as Youtube and Netflix has further augmented the demand for data and thus the need for reliable providers,” he continued. On the matter of possible free internet for all, he said it would not be as beneficial for consumers as one might think.

On the matter of digitalization of Bangladesh, Mr. Sigve pointed out that Telenor had a great role to play. “If you want to digitalize Bangladesh, you have to do so through the mobile network. You cannot put fibre optics cables everywhere. Thus, we can come to an agreement with the government to deliver the required network for fully achieving a digital Bangladesh,” he said. He also pointed out that with the possible auctions for licenses coming up, if made profitable, this could benefit all stakeholders greatly. With such plans and visions, with Telenor on-board, not only can we hope for a prospering digital Bangladesh, but we can also hope for a better world in the near future.

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