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In an interview with Telecom Review, Khaled Habbal, COO, IPT Powertech, talked about the company's latest developments, activities in Myanmar and future plans.

Please brief us about IPT Powertech's latest offerings, projects and developments in Nigeria and the main challenges faced this year?
This year was an exceptional year across all our geographies, including Africa, Middle East and Asia. IPT Powertech Group is engaged in Nigeria with IHS, the largest tower company in Africa, on the major project of Guaranteed Savings across the African continent, supplying energy-efficient power solutions including management and long-term maintenance, and OPEX optimization exercise under a long-term contract. We are proud to be the one of the largest suppliers of power-efficient solutions and one of the main contractors ensuring the Guaranteed Savings Model.

The Guaranteed Savings Model is the combination of the design, manufacturing, supply and deployment of energy-efficient solutions along with the field maintenance service and continuous OPEX and CAPEX optimization. The Guaranteed Savings Model is a risk-free approach ensuring the operators and tower companies' full economization/savings by reducing the Capital Expenditures (CAPEX) and Operational Expenditures (OPEX) leading to optimal Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) while maximizing the lifetime of the equipment. We guarantee the performance and savings of our own solutions while respecting the contractual KPIs and SLAs.

However, the existing transmission infrastructure in Nigeria and its operation is the weakest link in the power value chain. Transmission is responsible for many instances of stranded generation, thus the improvement of its operational performance and efficiency remains fundamental to the attainment of stable and reliable power to all Nigerians. Sometimes only 20% of the sites are grid connected, and often the grid is unreliable. The impact of high energy OPEX is considerable, thus the challenge of providing energy-efficient power solutions with the lowest TCO possible, while ensuring the optimal mean time to respond (MTTR) in order to maximize uptime. Other challenges in such environments are high temperature and dust, which in turn entails deploying specific solutions, conducting maintenance in a different manner and using different tools.

The fact that our group is the only solutions provider in the region offering and merging hybrid and renewable energy solutions with telecom infrastructure and field managed services and maintenance, and a pioneer in combining our product R&D to our assembly facilities, made IPT Powertech Group well positioned to become a leader in the implementation of the Guaranteed Savings Model in Nigeria.

Could you give us an update on your activities in Myanmar and your future plans for the upcoming year?
In early 2015, we have established our business in Myanmar, just before signing our first contract with Ooredoo. With more than 300 professionals joining our team, and more than eight regional offices nationwide, our offices are considered as strategic and operational hub for the South East Asian market.

Myanmar has interesting potential for the future, and our growth there is stimulated by the need of this region for energy-efficient products and infrastructure services coupled with managed services and Guaranteed Savings model/T-ESCO, adapted to the local market's requirements. The overall performance of the network has progressed tremendously reaching more than 99.5% over the past period, by providing tailor-made, reliable energy efficient/hybrid and renewable energy solutions for more than 3000 sites for Ooredoo Myanmar coupled with rollout services, operation and maintenance, fueling services, power management and power sharing, all while reducing carbon emission and being environmentally conscious.

Since more than 75% of sites are off grid, generators are used, creating noise and air pollution which are disturbing to local communities. Since we are conscious about this environmental challenge, we are investing in our solutions and maintenance cycles to ensure optimal reduction in generator runtime making sites more efficient in terms of cost, pollution and noise reduction. We are working closely with operators and tower companies to provide power co-location wherever possible to reduce CO2 emissions; instead of two to three generators per tower, power co-location enables the allocation of the optimal number of generators on each site given the power needs of each operator. This concept of power co-location focuses on sharing the same power solutions and infrastructure between the operators, guaranteeing a reduced CAPEX and OPEX, while ensuring optimal TCO.

To which extent does IPT Powertech Group believe in community engagement and corporate social responsibility?
Our group believes that effective community engagement not only provides us with an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the community, but improves decision-making by ensuring that the decisions caters community needs and aspirations. Myanmar is a true example highlighting the effectiveness of community engagement on our growth and success.

IPT Powertech Group is very keen not only on recruiting the top notch of the people, but a lot of the best local talent. More than 85% of our Myanmar team members are locals, and we are planning to increase this up to 99% over the next two years. We are recruiting locals and transferring knowledge whereby we ensure they are empowered with knowledge and experience to be leaders of the local organization in the future.

On the other part, CSR is part of our core values which is embodied in our ethical principles for the protection of the environment and the respect of the people and communities by implementing activities contributing to social and economic development, health and education, sustainable energy and pollution, and by contributing to local communities including material and financial investments

Do you have any expansion plans on the radar?
IPT PowerTech's team is always seeking new challenges where we can recreate new power solutions and add advanced features to its wide portfolio, and redefine new added services to guarantee optimal performance at lower cost possible in addition to adding value to our customers.

As for the geographic footprint, we are always looking forward to expand geographically into new territories as long as that growth is aligned with our strategic direction of the business and makes us able to expand and build our unique strength of combining the power expertise in telecom, service expertise in telecom and managed service expertise to deliver significant cost savings for our customers across the world.

With offices in more than 11 countries, we serve top clients in the region, and our appetite for expansion and growth is driven by the hard work of more than 2500 experts, the reason behind the strength, success and differentiation of the group. We believe that through their dedication that our portfolio encompasses thousands of implemented projects, delivered to more than 60 operators in more than 50 countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Niger, Sierra Leone Algeria, Morocco, Iraq, Jordan, Afghanistan, Myanmar and many more. Our in-house manufacturing and assembly facilities in Lebanon and Romania allows us to provide complete end-to-end services from design, manufacturing and supply to final integration.

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