ERICSSON — TAKING TELECOM FORWARD

The future of telecom in Pakistan destined to leap ahead

From KHALID BUTT, Lahore
May 30 - June 05, 2005

Pakistan recently saw a major development in telecom expansion with the entry of two new major players i.e. Telenor and Al-Warid to boost the industry to a new height.

The latest development in this highly competitive field is Ericsson-Warid Telecom agreement with full commercial GSM/GPRS under Managed Services Contract.

Quite fittingly, Ericsson unfurled their flag with a high level presence at the formal launch and agreement signing ceremony held in Islamabad early in May. On hand at the high profile ceremony were Hans Vestberg, Executive Vice President and General Manager (Business Unit Global Services) of Ericsson, Zibber Mohiuddin, President and CEO of Ericsson Pakistan Pvt Ltd, Ms Alina Ibrahim, Vice President and Head of Communications Ericsson South East Asia, Krishna Kumar Guda, Vice President Business Control and OD Ericsson, South East Asia, all representing the company at this auspicious occasion in Pakistan, which by all indications is going to be a watershed mark.

Earlier, the high powered Ericsson team led by Hans Vestberg also addressed a packed press conference to share their business plans in Pakistan and later joined the glittering agreement ceremony hosted by Warid.

In a communiqué released at the press conference, Ericsson discussed its launch of commercial GSM/GPRS service covering 28 major cities with a total population of around 32 million. Ericsson is the sole supplier for Warid Telecom's network, which is being implemented under a Managed Services contract for Phase I of the network build.

Under the contract signed in September last year, Ericsson is committed in providing a complete turnkey GSM/GPRS solution comprising the supply of core and radio network equipment, as well as a comprehensive range of telecom services covering complete network design, rollout and managed services encompassing full network operations and maintenance. Ericsson will also continue to manage the network beyond the commercial launch.

"This has been a partnership in a true sense of the word — Warid Telecom and Ericsson have worked tirelessly together and collaborated on all our efforts to ensure that we launch a network which is of the highest quality," said Hamid Farooq, CEO, Warid Telecom. He added that Warid Telecom was also pleased to be able to offer postpaid and prepaid services, short messaging service (SMS) and multimedia messaging service (MMS) to its customers from day one, adding that this was only the beginning of many innovative offerings that Warid Telecom has in the pipeline.

"We want to be the operator that Pakistanis will choose to get best-connected in Pakistan. We want our customers to get the best technology, the most reliable network and widespread coverage, as well as high quality and exciting innovating services backed by unprecedented high levels of customer service. We would not be able to do this without a strong partner like Ericsson," he added.

Hans Vestberg, Ericsson's Executive Vice President, Business Unit Global Services and a member of Ericsson's Group Management Team, echoed Farooq's sentiments about the winning partnership between Ericsson and Warid Telecom.

"Ericsson has an unrivalled track record of working in close partnership with operators, sharing our expertise to support their networks and services. By working together in partnership, we are able to leverage on each other's strengths, and gains in operational efficiency, time to market and quality of service are achieved," he added.

Zibber Mohiuddin, President of Ericsson Pakistan, said that Ericsson strongly supported Warid Telecom's vision to bring high quality mobile communications services to all Pakistanis. "Ericsson believes in an all-communicating world where telecommunication is affordable for all. Ericsson has leadership in technology and network solutions, backed by new innovative business and relationship models that are committed to turn the communication-for-all challenges into opportunities. Our aim is to make it possible for operators like Warid Telecom to rapidly reach more and more users in a profitable way. Our focus is on low Total Cost of Ownership for operators — making affordable communications to everybody a real possibility," he added.

Ericsson is the world's leading GSM supplier, with approximately 40 percent market share and instrumental in the creation, development, standardization, deployment and growth of GSM, the world's most widely deployed mobile standard.

Ericsson has the telecom industry's most comprehensive managed services offerings, ranging from designing, building, operating and managing day-to-day operations of a customer's network, to hosting service applications and enablers, as well as providing network coverage and capacity on demand. As the undisputed leader in managed services, Ericsson has officially announced 45 managed services contracts with operators worldwide since 2002. In all current managed services contracts, excluding hosting, Ericsson is managing networks that together serve over 38 million subscribers worldwide.

Ericsson is shaping the future of mobile and broadband Internet communications through its continuous technology leadership. Providing innovative solutions in more than 140 countries, Ericsson is helping to create the most powerful communication companies in the world.

ERICSSON PAKISTAN

Ericsson Pakistan has been supporting the telecommunications industry of Pakistan for more than 40 years, and has strong local knowledge and a well-established network of local contractors. Its long-term commitment to the country is underscored by a strong base of more than 350 highly skilled employees.

WARID TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Warid Telecom is owned by the Abu Dhabi Group which is led by His Highness Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan. Apart from having a substantial shareholding in Bank Alfalah and United Bank Limited, the Abu Dhabi Group also has other international investments in the telecommunications, finance, hospitality, property, oil exploration & supplies and automobile industries.

Meanwhile, talking to Pakistan & Gulf Economist, Hans Vestberg said in an exclusive interview that Ericsson saw Pakistan as a fast expanding and high potential market. Talking about his operations, he said about Ericsson Managed Services is a collective term for a series of services with one common denominator, where Ericsson manages and maintains the network operations, which include the hardware and software traditionally handled by operators themselves. Ericsson is offering operators end-to-end solutions that contain more than pure infrastructure.

* Ericsson supports more than 450 networks globally, using local and global expertise.

* Ericsson guarantees quality of end user service and network utilization by executing network planning, building, optimization, operation, maintenance and support.

* Ericsson's managed-services offerings contain three options: Operations, Capacity and Hosting.

MANAGED OPERATIONS

* Ericsson takes full responsibility of all network and service operation activities on behalf of the operator.

* Ericsson provides the planning, design and deployment of the operator's strategies in terms of service capabilities as well as the management of the day-to-day operations of the operator's network, according to set performance goals (This allows the operator to focus on their core business, such as business strategies, product management and customer management)

* The agreement may also include Ericsson taking over personnel from the operator.

* The cost of network operations will be lowered significantly and enable higher revenues leading to an improved bottom-line.

Other benefits include: Decreased OPEX; Decreased CAPEX; Improved risk profile and Increased revenues

MANAGED CAPACITY

A combination of Managed Services and Infrastructure to reduce operators' total cost of ownership for networks.

•Ericsson delivers and manages network capacity when and where operators need it. As a result, operators secure efficient growth and network evolution and are free to focus on their customers and business development. The solution is a part of Ericsson's industry leading Managed Services offering.

•Ericsson will also continuously deliver telecom infrastructure and services based on operators' capacity and coverage requirements — will eliminate over-and-under-capacity, and are able to buy and pay for expansion of coverage and capacity according to market demand.

•Benefits both operators in high-growth markets who need efficient build-out of network coverage and capacity and operators in developed markets facing technology migrations or consolidation.

•It also reduces other network specific parts of an operators' total cost of ownership.

•Operators' operational expenditures, such as costs for day-to-day operations and maintenance, site-rental and transmission are reduced.

•The Managed Capacity solution is set up in alignment with the operator's business plan.

•Operator remains in full control over coverage and capacity expansions, to be aligned with market demand, as well as the quality of service to satisfy the consumers.

Other benefits include:

FLEXIBILITY: Flexibility in time, capital and resources. Capacity & coverage when and where needed

RISK SHARING: Risk and reward sharing, a business model where Ericsson and operators share the risks

PERFORMANCE: Optimum performance in capital/cost, operations quality and provides operators with a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) advantage

HOSTING

* This is a fast and cost-efficient way for operators to bring end-user services to the market. The offering includes applications and enablers (MMS, streaming media, prepaid and push-to-talk) as well as content (music and entertainment) provided by Ericsson partners.

* Ericsson takes the responsibility for integration and round-the-clock operation and maintenance of the hosted solutions.

Ericsson and the customer work as partners to reduce costs and bring new services to market as quickly as possible. The operator can spend less on capital and operations and focus on building the brand and gain competitive advantages. The offering is based on a risk-sharing model, which enhances a stable and safe business growth.

Other benefits include:

SPEED: Fast time to market of both enablers and content.

SIMPLICITY: Ericsson manages the complexity, which allows operators to focus on core business.

COST EFFICIENCY: Risk and reward sharing business models. Ericsson offers low entry barriers and limited upfront CAPEX and OPEX.

The future of telecom in Pakistan is positive and destined to leap ahead in the years to come. The presence of such industry leaders as Ericsson is a reassuring sign that users can expect the very best global standards in their own country.