Home Insider Expat Insider Telenor Wants to See an Independent Regulator for Telco Sector in Myanmar

Telenor Wants to See an Independent Regulator for Telco Sector in Myanmar

Interview with Jørgen C. Arentz Rostrup
Executive Vice President, Head of Telenor Asia

Please introduce yourself to our readers and a brief story on how you ended up at your current position.  

I’m excited to have recently taken on the role of Head of Asia for Telenor Group and moved to Singapore from Oslo. We decided earlier in the year to strengthen our regional headquarters in Singapore, and set up an Asia Hub in our office there. This move aims to bring a diverse mix of our experts closer to the region, and to better share important learnings and development across our markets.

Before taking on this role, I spent four years as CFO for Telenor Group. This isn’t my first time working internationally. I first lived in Singapore in the 90s, traveling throughout Asia at this time. It is still a vibrant region. I love how diverse it is and I’m excited to be closer to the business here.

How is Telenor leading across the Nordics and Asia with over 170 million customers and annual sales of around $12 billion as of 2019? 

We want to connect our customers to what matters most, and empower societies through connectivity. To deliver on this promise we are modernising our business for the benefit of our customers. In addition, responsible business runs through the core of what we do, both in the way we operate and in how we manage our business.

Working in a mix of Nordic and Asian markets we have been able to bring experience from advanced markets in the Nordics to Asia, and now increasingly also export ideas and experience from Asia to the Nordics. For example, our business in Myanmar has given us great learnings, especially on running a modern and efficient telco.

The development of forward-looking policies in line with international best practice is crucial.

How is Telenor making its way in Myanmar? Has the Myanmar market started delivering return-on-investment after six years of operation? In digits please. 

We recently celebrated our six-year anniversary in Myanmar, during this time our business has consistently performed well and met our expectations. Against a challenging backdrop we continue to see growth in Myanmar.

What is the level of the impact of Covid-19 on telecoms in emerging markets when compared to developed economies? 

The COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of measures taken to stop the spread of the virus have brought unprecedented challenges for people and businesses around the world.

We have had two main priorities during this challenging time. First, for our employees to stay safe and second, to keep our customers connected. I’m proud that through these times of extraordinary demand, Telenor has maintained stable and reliable networks, providing our customers with critical services.

The main impact of COVID-19 on our telcos in the region has been upon pre-paid and roaming segments. The customer mix in every market is different. For Myanmar, where we have a majority prepaid customer base, this has meant quickly shifting to virtual interaction with our customers, making sure they are able to digitally top up their phone when access to physical points of sale have been restricted.

What’s Telenor’s long term vision for Myanmar? 

In a short period, Myanmar has become one of the fastest-growing digital nations in this region and there continues to be much potential in this rapidly digitalising market………