Home Insider Interview Interview with CEO of ATOM (Formerly Telenor Myanmar)

Interview with CEO of ATOM (Formerly Telenor Myanmar)

What significant changes have occurred since the change of shareholders?

Mingalar par and good morning thank you very much for this opportunity of talking to me. Change of shareholding for our organisation has ushered in an era of several changes, the biggest change that I can say was moving from the existing brand to the ATOM brand so rebranding activity was the biggest activity that was there. And with the launch of this brand ATOM, a Myanmar local brand, owned and actually developed by the team in Myanmar, we have moved and we have come up with a commitment to the society and to our subscribers. The brand we have made for ourselves. So, the significant change that I can say that we have done the rebranding, and second change is that we now have a clear commitment and design. We have come out with ten commitments towards the society; all these commitments are given by our effort to deliver beyond better.

In general, we as well as the consumer notice that the prices of data packages in SIM cards have generally gone up. What is the reason behind that?

Yeah, but I don’t think this is the case. If you look at the pricing for the last one or two years, I don’t think there has been any change upwards in terms of the pricing. What our focus has been as a telecom operator as a people focused telecom operator and especially with rebranding to ATOM to provide the best telecommunication services at the most affordable cost. So, I think you must have noticed and I would like your subscribers to also go for the current launch of the on-net package that we have launched. Similarly, the data packages that we have, have a lot of options, where the data is comparatively much cheaper if they subscribe to a bundle or a pack out rather than if they are not in the pack. So, my advice to your subscribers and everybody would be to go for the packs, look for almost free items when you subscribe and then you are not supposed to pay anything for on net calls. So unlimited online call bundle, they should go for that. In terms of the products and services, what we are not targeting is to provide cheap. We are targeting to provide the best value for money. So, our effort is to provide the best telecommunication services at the most economical rates and this has been our effort and we will continue towards that. So delivering doing better as well in that area as well that is our target.

Maybe you can elaborate a little bit though on the current shareholding structure for atom.

Yes, sure. Atom Myanmar Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Investcom Pte Ltd. Investcom Pte Ltd, Singapore owns 100% of the shares of this company. Investcom in turn is owned by two groups SPP group hold the majority share of Investcom and M1 group of Lebanon is the other shareholder of Investcom. Anything else that you hear and anything else in terms of beneficial ownership or anything else, have not been is substantiated and mostly rumors. Transparently, this is what the structure is and this is how it is.

What are your immediate plans other than the rebranding exercise itself?

Yeah, I think all our activities are driven by the rebranding. None of the activity is outside the scope of branding because what I see says that the brand has come out as a new brand which I feel proud to say is a local Myanmar brand. Our objective as a team is to make sure that globally, with a period of time, with the quality of service and products that we associate and the characteristics that we associate with the brand people should recognise this brand as a Myanmar brand and should be a reference and a benchmark for the quality of service there.

All the activities that we are doing now, are being driven by the promise that we have made the key promise of the brand that we have, which is ‘beyond better’. For example, if it is customer care, our effort is to deliver more than better than what we were what we were delivering you must have seen that some of the calls to the call centre were previously charged. Now there is not charge. In terms of the availability, the operating hours have been expanded and we are targeting that people should be able to connect digitally 24/7 365 days of the week, but we will we are continuously expanding on the call centre access. Similarly in terms of the products and services, there is huge number of products and services in the pipeline.

Another area if you talk about the CSR, we are focusing on making sure that we continue to contribute to the society in the most positive way. All these activities and everything that we do, we are trying to do ‘beyond better’ what we were doing earlier. We are trying to make a significant positive impact to the lives of the people in Myanmar and making our brand as a reference and developing it as a reference to be an international brand which can be identified globally with the name of Myanmar people should know that this ATOM is a brand characteristic like any other global brand. We should have a brand which was originated and developed and nurtured in Myanmar.

How has your market share changed over the past one year?

This past one year, six months has been the rebranding period. In telecom industry, you calculate the market share two ways; market share based on the number of subscribers and the market share based on the value share in the market i.e., how much percentage of the revenue of the telecom industry. In terms of the revenue share, we are clearly a market leader, but in terms of the subscriber number, we are a clear challenger and our objective is to be the number one in terms of that market share as well. Our focus during this period has been on the transition. But with transition now almost completed, we are now focusing on the market share. Our objective and the target is to be the market leader and we want to do anything in the way that we can serve better to the people of Myanmar. The more we can serve the people of Myanmar, the more we will have the market share. In terms of the other plans, we are exploring the opportunities with 5G. We would love to be the first one in Myanmar to introduce 5G in the country.

Since you have taken your position in ATOM as a CEO, what initiatives that you take it so far within a company?

What I see as my role in the company, my role is towards three areas: my role towards the team is to be a leader, my role is towards the subscribers is to be their educator and to make sure that they are provided the best quality of service and my role towards the stakeholders which include the shareholders, regulator and other stakeholders, is to make sure that in terms of their expectations, we meet their expectations.

Taking care of these activities can be made easier by focusing on one thing: the people. So, my activities as a CEO have been directed towards being most beneficial to the people. In terms of the team, I try to encourage them, I try to engage them the most, I try to develop the local talent as much as possible. We try to find our best blend of the people so that the team can benefit from the learning and experiences of the experts who are working with us as part of the team.

Towards the subscribers, our focus is to provide as I said earlier, to provide beyond better in terms of the best telecommunication services at the most economical costs. While trying to do this, I try to take care of the interests of the stakeholders and be compliant with local and international law.

How would your CSR programs be different from previous years?

This year, we have allocated a sum of about three Billion Kyats for the purpose of CSR. What we have tried to do and in terms of how it will be different from previous activities that we were doing, this time, our focus is more on doing things which are sustainable, which are not one time donations. Surely at times you require one time donation, for natural disasters such as flooding during the rainy season, for example.

The focus of our activities, CSR activities this year are mainly to do things which are sustainable, and which can be benefit for the people of people or the community for a long period of time. Out of this three Billion, one Billion Kyat is allocated for advancement of education. So far we have done two activities, where we have supported to two monastery schools, in terms of building and  supporting them in infrastructure, providing them with computer labs, helping them in digitalisation. Similarly, the other project that will be coming would involve digitalisation for the healthcare where we can help people in, in healthcare. So, sustainability is the key differentiator for all activities, sustainability and digitalisation will be the key differentiator for this year.

Myanmar obviously, is facing a different landscape compared to the previous years in terms of operating landscape. How would your strategy be changed to accommodate that?

As a person or as a leader or as a father of this ATOM Myanmar family, my blood group is be positive. This is my approach in life. I see the challenges as opportunities. Things might look challenging but the best test for a sailor is when the sea is rough. You do not test a sailor when the sea is quiet. When things are different and challenging, opportunities are huge. And with this approach, we are trying to actually serve best during this period with all this within this landscape.

Please tell us some statistics, useful statistics of ATOM in terms of like user base and data usage and number of towers and the coverage percentage for the whole country?

In fact, we cover about 95% of the country. In terms of towers we have about 9,000 towers, across the country. We cover 312 townships and the best thing is that most of the coverage, in about 90%  of the areas, we have 4G available. So, in terms of the technology, we have the best technology, we call it 4.5G advanced technology. And we have 18 million subscribers.

What about the corporate users? Are you are coming up with any innovative plans for them?

Corporate users, this is one area which we intend to actually focus on. And we see a huge scope and opportunity there. Digitalisation is one area where what we are what we are focusing on. Like a fintech is one area which is developing globally and providing the ecosystem to the local SMEs. Providing them digitalisation and support is one area that we will be focusing on going forward. You will see products such as IOT, ICT, fleet management, vehicle tracking, MTM semi private APN, Cloud PABX etc. In terms of the target that we have set internally for our business team is that in terms of products and services, we are targeting to provide to facilitate job creation and to facilitate the local businesses and SMEs through digitalisation. This is the key and the guiding principle for us. All the products, services and everything that we are plan and activities for the businesses are being directed towards that.