TELENOR INVESTS $80MN

NORWEGIAN TELECOM GAINS IMMENSE SUPPORT FROM THE COUNTRY'S PEOPLE

KANWAL SALEEM
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Apr 12 - 18, 2010

Telenor Pakistan is a GSM cellular service provider, and is a subsidiary of Telenor, Norway. It has a subscriber base of 22.06 million as of March 2010.

Telenor acquired the license for providing GSM services in Pakistan in April 2004, and HAD launched its services commercially in Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Karachi in March 2005. The same month, Telenor started its services in Lahore, Faisalabad and Hyderabad.

Telenor has its corporate headquarter in Islamabad, with regional offices in Karachi and Lahore.

Telenor is providing eight prepaid packages and four postpaid packages.

Prepaid packages include Talkshalk A1, Talkshalk Har Second, Talkshalk Har Minute, Talkshawk 30 Second, Talkshawk 63, Djuice, Djuice Jaagtay Raho, and Djuice Din Raat.

Postpaid packages include Persona EASY, Persona SIMPLE, Persona FREE, Persona Karoobar (Aimed at business persons), and mobile banking.

In 2008, Telenor bought Tameer Microfinance Bank for its upcoming project related to mobile banking. The Telenor named it 'easypaisa' and successfully launched the product in 2009.

Easypaisa provides the following facilities: Utility Bill Payment (UBP), Money Transfer (within Pakistan only), and Mobile Wallet.

A spokesman of the company told Page that Telenor Pakistan is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Telenor. Telenor was awarded a GSM licence in Pakistan in April 2004 and launched commercial mobile services in March 2005.

As at 30th September 2009, Telenor Pakistan had 21.7 million mobile subscribers, its mobile penetration 58 per cent, according to official estimates.

According to him, Telenor Pakistan currently holds a nationwide GSM 900 MHz/1800 MHz licence (excluding Azad Jammu and Kashmir) and the northern areas. This licence was awarded in April 2004 for US $291 million. In June 2006, Telenor Pakistan was awarded a GSM 900 MHz /1800 MHz licence to build and operate a mobile network in AJK and the Northern Areas for US$10 million. Both licences are valid for a 15-year period. Telenor Pakistan met its rollout obligations under both licences during January 2007 and March 2007, respectively.

In addition to the two GSM licences, Telenor Pakistan holds a Long Distance and International licence through which it is providing nationwide and international call services. The licence expires in 2024.

Since its inception, the spokesman said, Telenor Pakistan has rolled out its GSM network at a steady pace and has become one of the fastest growing mobile networks in Pakistan based on its coverage and capacity. The network currently being rolled out is GPRS and EDGE enabled. As at 30th September 2009, Telenor Pakistan's EDGE coverage is the most extensive in Pakistan.

It may be noted that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had issued M-Banking regulations which envisage a bank-led model for mobile banking in Pakistan. In response, Telenor Pakistan worked to acquire a bank and was successful in acquiring a 51 per cent share in Tameer Bank.

While Telenor Pakistan has started working on the provision of mobile financial services via a bank-led model, it has also stressed the need for transition towards implementing a telecom-led model in the coming years.

The spokesman said that Telenor Pakistan introduced a new scheme by making normal retailer shops as their 'Merchants' who, in the first phase, will act as the spot where a person can make a transaction. Added up by Telenor franchises across the country, the total number of 'easypaisa' outlets went into thousands giving country's people an ease of making money related transactions better than bank for the same purpose. The 'easypaisa' service is easy, quick & reliable as it the very first of its own kind.

The spokesman said that Telenor Pakistan has been awarded the 'Most Preferred Employer' of Pakistan by a public poll in 2009. It was another landmark for the company as it has gained immense support from the country's people due to its strong marketing strategy and flexible Codes of Conduct for its employees.

He said the Telenor Pakistan also launched solar-powered base stations to increase network coverage. Solar-powered base stations are energy-efficient and eco-friendly.

The Telenor has further invested US$80 million into its offshoot company working in Pakistan. The investment is one of the largest contribution made by any telecommunications company in Pakistan in the current fiscal year.

The investment from the Group is going to be utilized for various ongoing and upcoming projects like network expansion, improved customer services, and more aggressive roll-out of financial services, the spokesman added.

According to the spokesman, this continuous stream of investment from Telenor reinforces the company's long-term commitment to Pakistan and shows confidence in future growth in the telecom sector. The investment will contribute to the development of our infrastructure and expansion of our services.

He further said that Telenor Pakistan is the second largest mobile operator in Pakistan with a subscriber base of 22.6 million and market share of 23.7 per cent in the telecom sector. The company has an extensive distribution network with over 250 franchises and 175,000 retailers.