Egypt's largest incumbent operator Telecom Egypt has been heavily investing in its network to deliver high internet speeds and improve customer satisfaction, said CEO Eng. Ahmed El Beheiry. In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review, Telecom Egypt CEO highlighted the efforts undertaken to enhance broadband services in Egypt and the operator's CSR initiatives aiming at developing the Egyptian society.
Revamping fixed broadband has been a quantum leap in broadband services in Egypt. How can you see its effects on Telecom Egypt and telecommunications services in Egypt?
The fixed broadband revamp introduced a new strategic offering to the fixed data market by increasing the minimum (from 1Mbps to 5Mbps) and maximum (from 16Mbps to 100Mbps) speeds of internet in Egypt. The revamp not only focuses on the service the customer is receiving, but also, for the first time, on the customer experience and satisfaction. Telecom Egypt has invested heavily in its network to deliver the revamped speeds, and in its IT systems to improve transparency and customer satisfaction by informing the customers, in advance, of their attainable speeds.
Since the launch of the new WE Internet packages, customer usage has dramatically increased. This is a sign of customer satisfaction and it is perfectly aligned with natural customer behaviour to increase usage to access online content when the quality of service is satisfactory.
WE is now leading the Egyptian market with this unmatched high speed offering, which allows its customers to enjoy and expand their usage of applications and services that require high speed internet.
The modernization of our infrastructure, which enabled the WE Internet launch, paves the way for opportunities in new revenue streams including:
- Digital transformation
- Data transfer and backups
- Quality monitoring
- Security monitoring
Telecom Egypt recently signed strategic partnership agreements for various global submarine cable services. Can you outline to us the primary benefits these collaborations will provide for Telecom Egypt and the region?
Telecom Egypt is proud to have recently entered into several strategic partnership agreements for global international services with large industry players. This allows our partners to enhance their reach and connectivity to meet their increasing demand for capacity. This partnership also presents their customers with a world-class service through Telecom Egypt's reliable and diverse terrestrial and submarine networks.
TE's strategic partnership with Airtel will enable its customers to access large capacities on a number of Telecom Egypt's cables, including: TE North, SEA-ME-WE 5, AAE-1 and the newly acquired MENA Cable. This will complement Airtel's global network portfolio with high quality and diversified new routes to Europe and the rest of the world. Such agreements also allow TE to realize returns on its assets as well as expand its terrestrial infrastructure across the country to maintain the supreme service level mandated by the international market.
Our partnerships help fuel intra-regional trade, boosting the economy domestically and regionally, and highlighting Telecom Egypt's position as the partner of choice for regional and global operators to improve their connectivity and reach to better serve their end customers.
Can you tell us more about Telecom Egypt's vivid role in developing Egyptian society and the company's corporate social responsibility priorities in recent years?
At Telecom Egypt, we believe that corporate social responsibility is one of our most important duties. It is an ongoing commitment to develop and improve educational, cultural, economic and social aspects of the life of Egyptian citizens.
In this respect, Telecom Egypt seizes every opportunity to fulfil its responsibility. These efforts are clearly shown in numerous community initiatives that touch various aspects of life, including health, education, empowerment of women and youth, social integration of people with special needs and community development. These initiatives mainly target vulnerable groups, remote and disadvantaged areas.
The most prominent of these initiatives are giving financial and technological support to large medical institutions that provide free services to the deprived, launching an electronic network to link more than 200 MOH blood banks all over Egypt, giving support to the Special Olympics champions inside and outside Egypt, the development of poor villages, providing training and education opportunities, and supporting small enterprises, etc.
On the other hand, Telecom Egypt maintains strong relationships with civil society. Through these relationships, we succeeded to develop a framework that enables us to better understand society's needs and fundamental problems, and therefore, make a real difference in the Egyptian society .
In light of all the aforementioned initiatives, Telecom Egypt highly prioritizes sustainable development. As ICT plays a vital role in achieving these goals, we commit ourselves to using our technological, financial and human resources to add value to Egyptian society. TE also commits to improving the quality of Egyptian lives and driving sustainable development through various communication solutions and services.
Despite the long journey, we still have an overwhelming feeling that there are more goals and ambitions that we seek to achieve in order to serve our society .
Telecom Egypt enjoyed a revenue increase of 16% in its recent Q2 results. Are these figures evidence of a successful investment strategy?
TE's revenue growth came as a result of targeted investment with the main driver being the strong growth in data services (+45% YoY) including mobile revenue.
The main goal of our investment strategy is to boost Telecom Egypt's revenue and profitability to increase the shareholder value in the long-term. Being the largest, incumbent operator in Egypt, our strategy will boost Egypt's economic growth by developing the country's telecom infrastructure to provide the best service quality to our customers. Our investment strategy focuses on three main pillars: the mobile launch, overhauling Egypt's internet infrastructure and expanding Egypt's international network.
- Taking a closer look at the mobile launch, our aim is to build on the successful launch by integrating this new segment with TE's existing businesses to boost operational growth and capitalize on our existing assets.
- Our second objective is to overhaul Egypt's internet infrastructure to provide the best service quality to our customers, and induce revenue and economic growth. As such, we have launched our rebranded "WE Internet" to increase the maximum and minimum speeds offered to our customers and enhance their customer experience. We are looking to reach 100% of homes with fiber to the curb by 2020 and work on content development as a product offering.
- Our third objective is to expand Egypt's international network to implement our vision of making Egypt a digital route. This will be done by expanding our international submarine and terrestrial cable presence. We have recently acquired MENA Cable to become the second fully owned submarine cable of Telecom Egypt in addition to TE North. In the future, we are looking to invest in new routes and landing stations, and develop digital applications to turn Egypt into a regional datacenter and cloud computing hub.
What are your primary objectives and goals for the remainder of 2018?
In 2018, we intend to continue to reposition our brand by focusing on the young and data-savvy Egyptian population. We will continue to enhance our customer service to improve customer experience and deliver products that are the best value for money. We intend to complete our product offering to the market. We have recently launched our first total telecom offering including landline, fixed broadband and mobile, and we intend to launch our dedicated enterprise offerings before the end of the year. Financial inclusion is also at the top of our agenda. ePayment, mobile money and e-wallets are very important and fast-growing services worldwide.
The diversification of ICT services is also a key priority for Telecom Egypt in the coming years. Fully integrated business solutions and other adjacent services like cloud computing, datacenters, big data and IoT services, will be the primary engines of growth in the future. We are currently enhancing all our business solution systems and operating solutions systems with state-of-the-art technologies to meet the demands of such market.