INTERVIEW: RASHID NASEER KHAN PRESIDENT & CEO MOBILINK

MOBILINK HAS INVESTED OVER $2.5 BILLION DOLLARS IN PAKISTAN

AMANULLAH BASHAR
Oct 12 - 18, 2009

Rashid Naseer Khan, President & CEO Mobilink, Pakistan's largest cellular company, while commenting on the present state of the telecom market in Pakistan and future outlook said that the telecom sector in Pakistan has experienced unprecedented growth over the last few years. Today, cell phones are well within the reach of the common man and an integral part of everyday life.

Mobile penetration stands at more than 58% as the industry is about to touch the 100 million subscribers mark. The average user is also more mature he wants more from his cell phone. This is where the value-added services fit in as an alternate revenue stream. At the same time, voice will continue to be the core business for all telecom operators.

Rashid Khan has a wide exposure to telecom markets locally and abroad. He served as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Banglalink, the fastest growing cellular operator in Bangladesh.

Mr. Khan also served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of Mobilink and was a senior member of the management team who played a key role in the robust growth of Mobilink's subscriber base. With a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering, Mr. Khan has more than 15 years of experience in telecommunications, IT, and other technologies in both the developed as well as emerging markets. Mr. Khan has also been associated with various international companies including Intel's subsidiary, Chips & Technologies and has been awarded patents in the United States of America for his inventions.

When asked where does Mobilink stand today in terms of its market share? Rashid said with a sense of achievement that Mobilink continues to be the industry's leader in terms of market share, a position which the company has sustained for more than a decade. Mobilink's goal is to provide total customer satisfaction for all the communication needs of customers. 'We are fulfilling this vision by offering our customers the best possible service and products at competitive prices. With Pakistan's largest voice and data network, premier pre-paid and post-paid brands, and a team of dedicated staff providing service around the clock, we intend to continue serving our customers par excellence.'

Discussing about future plans for expansion and investment he said, "The telecommunications sector in Pakistan has benefited considerably from Orascom's contribution and the pioneering role played by Mobilink. The company's investment of more than US$2.5 billion is the highest amount of Foreign Direct Investment generated by any cellular operator in Pakistan to date. Through aggressive investment and expansion, Mobilink's coverage footprint now covers more than 10,000 locations with over 6,500 kms of fiber optic. Given its long standing association with the country, Orascom remains committed to Pakistan and meets the growing needs of its subscriber base, which is the largest in the country."

On the strategy front, going forward, there is a need to focus on alternate revenue streams. In order to cater to this, Mobilink already has the most diverse bouquet of such services ranging from personalized ring back tones to SMS alerts and updates to cutting edge, unique services such as Mobilink Genie and Mobile Money Order that fall in our mobile commerce portfolio. As market leader, Mobilink has in fact pioneered mobile commerce in Pakistan and 'we are hopeful that other operators will follow our lead in this arena'.

When his attention was invited towards working environment in Pakistan as it is believed that there is a cutthroat competition going on between cellular companies and the beneficiaries are obviously the customers, and how do they measure the taxes on telecom sector and its impact on the users.

He took the question in a positive manner and remarked that competition was always good as it not only kept one on their toes but fostered a sustainable approach to doing business.

Mobilink is privileged to be in the company of some good competitors which actually validate further our status as the market leader. As regards impact of taxation, a more relaxed tax regime means greater ease for mobile phone operators to continue contributing to the economic wellbeing of the country. At the same time, users will also benefit from greater access to communication facilities. Pakistan Telecommunications Authority and Ministry of IT and Telecom have demonstrated financial acumen, vision, and progressive foresight as they continue to play a very significant role in providing a level playing field for all players in the industry. Mobilink works closely with PTA on all matters of mutual interest including taxation. 'We are very grateful for their supports especially withdrawal of the tax on SMS earlier this year.'

When asked to comment on the present scenario in the telecom sector especially in view of the arrival of a number of telecom players in Pakistan and does he think the market has arrived at a saturation point or there exists room for more players?

Rashid said, "I do think that competition is very stiff already and the Pakistani consumer has ample choices. Having another operator would only be counterproductive to the industry."

Highlighting the achievements of the Mobilink in Pakistan the Mobilink Chief said, "Mobilink's success story in Pakistan has been phenomenal. It was the first company in Pakistan to introduce GSM technology which enabled it to achieve remarkable growth in the earlier stages. A key growth milestone was the journey from one million to two million in the space of six months. This pace continued with great momentum as we doubled and tripled. Today, Mobilink has 30 million subscribers. Having our own nationwide fibre optic network that I mentioned earlier is another one of our greatest assets. Launching Mobilink Genie is a milestone even for Pakistan in terms of revolutionizing mobile commerce."

On another note, even in tragedy, Mobilink has remained ahead from being the first to connect Muzaffarabad after the devastating earthquake to the recent historic support to Internally Displaced Persons relief by setting up of Mobilink Camp with Rs 81 million funds. These are but some of the milestones Mobilink has accumulated as it maintains its status quo as the industry leader and Pakistan's favorite cellular network.

Mobilink, it may be noted, is a subsidiary of the Orascom Telecom Group, and is Pakistan's leading cellular and Blackberry service provider. Mobilink maintains market leadership through cutting-edge, integrated technology and the country's largest voice and data network with over 7,900 cell sites covering more than 10,000 locations. Housing Pakistan's largest distribution and call centre networks and an unparalleled 6,500 kilometers fiber optic backbone, Mobilink has invested over US $2.5 billion and provides uninterrupted countrywide connectivity, unmatched customer services, and international roaming in over 130 countries. As a responsible corporate citizen, in addition to ensuring employees well-being, Mobilink aims to support education and health initiatives, protect the environment, and promote sustainable business practices. It also offers a range of products and services dedicated to enhance access to information. The company is also the official telecom service provider for the Pakistan Cricket Board.

ORACLE BENEFIT COMPANIES ACROSS PAKISTAN AND ASEAN

PAGE REPORT

Oracle Applications continue to be implemented or selected by companies of Pakistan and ASEAN as of the most recent fiscal year that ended June 2009.

Companies in Pakistan , Singapore , Malaysia , Indonesia , Thailand , The Philippines Vietnam and Sri Lanka are turning to Oracle to support their specialized operations with the Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle's JD Edwards Enterprise One, Oracle CRM, Oracle CRM On Demand, Oracle Transportation Management, Oracle's Demantra and Oracle's Agile Product Lifecycle Management.

"We are pleased to see companies leveraging our best-in-class offerings in order to play a leading role today and tomorrow in the industries they represent," said Ash Khalek Group Vice President, ASEAN Applications. "Increasingly, features in applications like Oracle CRM On Demand, Oracle Transportation Management and Oracle's Demantra are being recognized to give an edge to businesses of any size. Oracle's complete, open and integrated solutions are poised to help Pakistan companies prepare for growth, embrace new opportunities and sharpen their competitive edge."

The Hub Power Company Limited (HUBCO) selected the Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 to improve its overall business performance and enhance operational efficiencies. "As part of our endeavor to enhance the availability of electric power to the national grid, we were looking for cost-effective solutions that could address the growing market demand," said Javed Mahmood, CEO, HUBCO. "We chose the Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 over the competition because it offered us the most complete software solutions at the right price. We believe this will help us efficiently manage our financials and resources in future."

Berger Paints Pakistan has selected the Oracle E-Business Suite to improve and standardize its business operations. "Oracle E-Business Suite will empower us with critical and real time knowledge about our assets, financials and all the core aspects of the manufacturing process", said Sarfaraz Arif, Senior Manager MIS, Berger Paints. "Critically, the Oracle applications we have implemented will provide us a 360-degree view of Berger Paints' financial and operational information to company decision makers that will enhance its operational infrastructure to increase the efficiency of the organization and support further expansion.

Oracle has proven to be a vendor of choice for its breadth and depth of applications. Companies of different sizes in various industries trust Oracle to meet their specialized business needs in ASEAN including Lahore University of Management Sciences, Berger Paints, Hub Power Company Limited, Jaffer Brothers Pvt Ltd.

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