Wow, it has been one year already. How was the journey?
Mingalabar! Thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed by Myanmar Insider.
My name is Muhammad Ziaullah Siddiqui, or Zia, for short. I am serving as the CEO of ATOM, and am responsible, together with the Management team, for leading ATOM towards its mission of advancing connectivity in Myanmar and connecting its people to the digital world, while creating value for all stakeholders. Firstly, thank you to our customers for their trust and support! We aim to establish ATOM as a prominent Myanmar brand that sets the standard for exceptional products and services. We are also motivated to create a meaningful and positive impact on the lives of the people in Myanmar, and we will continue striving to do so in the future.
Within One year, we introduced a new brand identity to the market, completed the successful transition of managed services to a new infrastructure vendor, including the migration of roaming services to new suppliers, and established our own physical point of presence in Singapore. Notably, these achievements were accomplished without any disruptions to our network. Our biggest challenge was managing this transition within a short timeframe, as opposed to the ideal timeline of one year.
The transition is so smooth that customers hardly notice the change. What challenges did you encounter at backend?
We introduced a new brand identity to the market, completed the successful transition of managed services to a new infrastructure vendor, including the migration of roaming services to new suppliers, and established our own physical point of presence in Singapore. Notably, these achievements were accomplished without any disruptions to our network. Our biggest challenge was managing this transition within a short timeframe, as opposed to the ideal timeline of one year.
The past year has been marked by several significant milestones as well which include:
Brand Resonance: We embarked on a journey to create and introduce a new brand that would resonate deeply with our customers. This rebranding effort aimed to engage and connect with our audience on a personal level, fostering stronger customer relationships.
Diversifying Revenue Streams: We successfully tapped into customer interests and preferences by leveraging the gaming industry. We have created new revenue streams by introducing gaming-related services and offerings that captivate our customers’ attention and enhance their overall experience.
The milestones we achieved in the past year can be attributed to the unity and coherence within our workforce, all sharing a common vision. I would live to convey my appreciation to each of our employees who are propelling the company towards its ambitious goals and driving its success.
You have also garnered some awards. What have you got?
It is with great honor to share that ATOM was recognized with both the ‘Telecom Company of the Year – Myanmar’ and the ‘Mobile Operator of the Year – Myanmar’ awards at the prestigious Asian Telecom Awards 2023. These esteemed accolades serve as a testament to our industry-leading performance, unwavering dedication, and customer-centric approach.
In addition, I am humbled to share that I am a recipient of the APAC Insider 2023 CEO of the Year award. I was awarded the “Most Impactful Telecommunications CEO 2023 in Myanmar” for contributions to ATOM’s progress and achievements. I believe that my success as CEO is only as good as our amazing leadership team and every employee I get to work with daily.
We noticed you providing free calls and messages during the Cyclone Mocha. What else did you do?
We recognized the importance of staying connected during and after natural disasters and we are committed to supporting the affected communities during this difficult time.
During the onset of Cyclone Mocha, we announced our support for customers in Rakhine State by providing free 50 minutes of voice calls and 50 SMS, valid from 13 to 15 May 2023, for calls and SMS made between ATOM customers. After the cyclone hit Myanmar on 14 May, we extended further support to customers in Rakhine State by providing free 1GB data, as well as free 100 minutes of ATOM-to-ATOM voice calls and 100 SMS, valid till 19 May 2023. During the recovery time, ATOM provided free 5GB data unlimited ATOM-to-ATOM voice calls, and SMS, valid until 31st May 2023.
In addition, our network team is actively assessing and repairing damaged telecom towers and other communication infrastructure in impacted areas across the country following Cyclone Mocha to enable customers to access the network. We are glad that within 24 hours of the cyclone, we managed to restore 87% of the network sites in Rakhine State to enable our customers to stay connected with their loved ones.
Over the past year, we have endeavoured to enrich the lives of people in the country. We initiated ‘Season of Gratitude’, a series of 200 donation activities in more than 80 cities nationwide which positively impacted more than 200,000 people. We also commenced our schools development programme to improve the infrastructure and facilities in monastic and orphan schools. In addition, we have donated ICT laboratories to four schools to support youths with access to technology as part of their education. In partnership with Trust Oo Co., Ltd., ATOM also provides free and unlimited 24/7 health-related teleconsultation services to all customers.
Are the shareholders satisfied with the company’s performance in Year 1?
We are pleased with our overall business performance. We have not only met but exceeded some of our targets, particularly in the area of data pack sales. This achievement has been instrumental in driving our confidence in the company’s revenue growth potential.
However, we are actively focusing on expanding our subscriber base, as we believe that increasing our customer numbers will solidify our position as a leading telecoms company in the industry.
Even though we are in the early stages of our journey, we are gaining momentum in several key areas. Our focus spans enhancing customer experiences, empowering small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), caring for various communities through initiatives such as our schools development programme, and prioritizing the professional development of our employees who are driving the telecommunications industry forward. We are motivated by our desire to create a meaningful and positive impact on the lives of the people in Myanmar.
What are your plans for Year 2?
Moving forward, our investment focus will remain aligned with our vision to propel Myanmar with advanced connectivity. By doing so, we aim to empower individuals, businesses, and communities throughout the country, enabling them to experience a life beyond better.
In the spirit of our Beyond Better brand promise, we have ambitious plans to enhance our customers’ experience and make a positive impact on various fronts – improving connectivity, offering more value, creating a better future for Myanmar and its people and driving better growth for all stakeholders.
One of our key focus areas will be the continued advancement of our digitization journey. We also have plans to offer support to Myanmar’s business ecosystem. Meanwhile, our corporate governance and sustainability efforts will be aligned with international standards and best practices. We plan to share the ATOM Human Rights Assessment Report in the near future, including the goals we will work towards to uphold human rights in all aspects of our business.
We will also continue to invest in making ATOM one of Myanmar’s best places to work and to attract the best talents, as well as support the learning and development of our employees so they can enjoy growth. As we progress with these plans, we will continue to keep our customers and stakeholders informed about the latest developments.
ATOM’s strategic positioning in the market revolves around our commitment to go Beyond Better in every aspect of our operations. Our long-term plans reflect this vision.
Beyond Better Connectivity: We prioritize network growth, modernization, and expansion to ensure our customers have access to reliable and seamless connectivity. This involves continuous investment in upgrading our infrastructure, expanding coverage areas, and adopting advanced technologies to deliver the best possible network experience.
Beyond Better Value: We strive to provide innovative products and experiences that exceed customer expectations. Our focus is on accelerating digitalization and leveraging emerging technologies to introduce new services and solutions that enhance our customers’ lives.
Beyond Better Future: We recognize the importance of giving back to the community and contributing to society. Our commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a fundamental part of our long-term plans.
How about new products and services?
Here are some key points about ATOM’s services:
- We serve more than 18 million subscribers.
- ATOM services are available in approximately 95% of the country.
- 4G services are available in 90% of the 312 townships that we cover nationwide.
- We utilise the best 4.5G advanced technology in Myanmar.
- We operate about 9,000 telecommunication towers across the country.
ATOM has been committed to continuously innovating and bringing exciting new services to our customers in the past year. One of our notable introductions was the all-in-one ATOM Store app, which serves as a one-stop destination for our customers to access exclusive offers and global-standard benefits. We are thrilled to share that the ATOM Store app has garnered tremendous popularity, with over 7 million downloads within a span of just nine months.
As part of our efforts to provide engaging entertainment experiences, we launched an immersive 3D game called Toh Toh Sidecar which was played over 100 million times and significantly contributed to the growing downloads of the ATOM Store app. Building upon this, we recently unveiled the launch of an exciting new series of games called Toh Toh Topia, featuring the beloved Toh Toh character.
We take great pride in having introduced Let’s Play Arena, which is Myanmar’s first-ever full-experience gaming platform. Let’s Play Arena goes beyond traditional gaming platforms by offering a diverse selection of over 100 casual games, engaging tournaments, and options for in-game item purchases.
In partnership with CB Bank, the CB ATOM Credit Card was launched to enhance usage of digital banking and provide a superior digital experience for eligible ATOM Platinum Star customers. We also recently collaborated with MyJobs Myanmar to launch Find.Job, a job portal which allows job seekers to explore a wide range of job listings, both locally and abroad, right within the ATOM Store app.
Overall, these new services and features reflect our dedication to delivering exceptional value, entertainment, and convenience to our customers.
In terms of CSR and staff development, how would you proceed?
CSR / Impactful Community Activities:
We believe in giving back to the community and uplifting lives. Through our impactful community activities, we have positively impacted the lives of over 200,000 people in Myanmar in the past year. These initiatives have focused on our corporate responsibility pillars of Digitalisation of Education and Health, Need-Based Activities and Emergency Response.
Staff Development / Workforce Empowerment:
Effective workforce management has been a key priority for us at ATOM. We have implemented strategies to retain top talents and foster a new workplace culture that encourages growth, collaboration, and innovation. Our commitment to our employees’ well-being and professional development has resulted in a fun, flexible, productive, and effective working environment.
How would the telecom market move in the coming year?
There are several notable developments that we anticipate shaping the telecommunications landscape in the coming year.
5G Expansion: This is subject to the regulator’s decision. However, we are assessing the introduction of 5G services in the near future and would love to be the first company in Myanmar to do so.
Digital Transformation: The digital transformation journey will persist, with telecom companies investing in advanced technologies and solutions to enable seamless digital experiences for their customers. This includes accelerating the adoption of cloud services, artificial intelligence (AI), and automation to enhance network efficiency, improve customer service, and enable personalized offerings.
Collaboration and Partnerships: The telecoms industry will witness an increased emphasis on collaboration and partnerships. Telecom companies will forge strategic alliances with technology providers, content creators, and other industry stakeholders to deliver innovative solutions, expand service offerings, and tap into new revenue streams.
While these are broad trends and areas of development, the telecoms industry is dynamic and constantly evolving. At ATOM, we remain committed to leveraging our expertise, staying at the forefront of these advancements and contributing positively to the telecoms industry as a whole.
The growing importance of digital solutions in our customers’ lives is the key. We are determined to offer relevant and innovative services through the ATOM Store app.
To express our gratitude to our loyal customers and foster stronger relationships, we will introduce an enhanced loyalty program accessible in the ATOM Store App which is designed to reward and engage our valued subscribers. This program will offer exclusive benefits, incentives, and personalized experiences.
Building upon the success of our gaming platform, we will expand our offerings to provide even more engaging and immersive gaming experiences to our customers. We believe that gaming represents a dynamic avenue for entertainment and connection, and we are committed to offering gaming options that resonate with our diverse customer
Can you share with us some of the successful products you have launched within One year of ATOM?
One of our notable introductions was the all-in-one ATOM Store app, which serves as a one-stop destination for our customers to access exclusive offers and global-standard benefits. We are thrilled to share that the ATOM Store app has garnered tremendous popularity, with over 10 million downloads.
Toh Toh:As part of our efforts to provide engaging entertainment experiences, we launched an immersive 3D game called Toh Toh Sidecar which was played over 100 million times and significantly contributed to the growing downloads of the ATOM Store app. Building upon this, we recently unveiled the launch of an exciting new series of games called Toh Toh Topia, featuring the beloved Toh Toh character.
Let’s Play ARENA :We take great pride in having introduced Let’s Play Arena, which is Myanmar’s first-ever full-experience gaming platform. Let’s Play Arena goes beyond traditional gaming platforms by offering a diverse selection of over 100 casual games, engaging tournaments, and options for in-game item purchases.
CB Partnership: In partnership with CB Bank, the CB ATOM Credit Card was launched to enhance usage of digital banking and provide a superior digital experience for eligible ATOM Platinum Star customers.
Find.Job Portal: We also recently collaborated with MyJobs Myanmar to launch Find.Job, a job portal which allows job seekers to explore a wide range of job listings, both locally and abroad, right within the ATOM Store app.
Toh Toh Topia: Toh Toh Topia is a new series of 3D games based on adventures with the Toh Toh cat character, a series of three games playable within the ATOM Store App the excitement of playing Toh Toh Topia is the fantastic daily instant prizes and a combined value of MMK 353 million (MMK 353,000,000) worth bi-weekly prizes and grand prizes up for grabs.
ATOM recently turned One Year. How was the celebration and what plan you have?
- ATOM Marks First Anniversary with Customer Appreciation and Community Contributions
- As we celebrate our first anniversary, we wish to recognize the invaluable support of our customers over the past year. On behalf of the ATOM team, I would like to say a big “thank you” to our customers, partners and the people of Myanmar for being part of our journey.
- In recognition of the support received from customers, ATOM celebrates its first anniversary by offering exclusive offers via the ATOM Store App
- Beyond Better Offers for Business Customers: ATOM is celebrating with its major business customers by delivering thank you cards and cakes. In addition, ATOM provides surprise data gifts (mobile data or ATOM Power Internet data) to its business customers.
- Beyond Better Engagement with Partners: ATOM will be hosting celebratory activities in ATOM’s physical stores and will presenting anniversary gifts to channel partners.
- Season of Gratitude 2.0: In response to the recent devastation caused by Cyclone Mocha, ATOM is launching the Humanitarian Care & Rehabilitation Programme, supporting by funding of MMK 205,562,500. Through this initiative, ATOM will actively support the recovery efforts in affected areas, providing assistance to those in need and contributing to rebuilding communities.
- Looking ahead, we will strive to continue delivering the best quality products and services, shaping the future of telecommunications in Myanmar and making a lasting impact on the lives of our customers and communities.”