ISLAMABAD: Admitting that the number of 190 million subscribers does not reflect the true picture of mobile phone users, Telenor Pakistan has decided not to be part of the race and would focus on quality instead of enhancing the numbers only.

Talking to Dawn on Saturday, Telenor Pakistan Chief Executive Officer Irfan Wahab Khan said that the local telecom market has become mature enough that there was no need to portray the numbers in marketing campaigns.

Currently, Telenor has the second largest subscriber base with 24.57pc of total SIMs issued in the country, while Zong 4G was trailing closely with 24.36pc. However, Jazz was far ahead of them as 37.36pc of all SIMs issued in Pakistan. The consumer base of Ufone was merely 12.83pc among all the four mainstream telcos, and to further its base the company is set to launch a new SIM brand ‘Onic’.

The country’s fifth telco is the state-owned Special Communications Organisation (SCO) with less than 1pc of the total subscriber base, operates only in Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

For wooing new subscribers, the four telcos have been issuing free SIMs in public places and advertising lucrative offers to consumers who have not been using their SIMs for some time. Meanwhile, the Telenor chief said that obtaining a high customer base was not beneficial for the business anymore.

“It’s a fake key performance indicator”, Mr Wahab said, adding that enhancing the customer base only to beat the competitors is a waste of energy and adds to the cost of doing business without any benefit.

He said that there was a need to strategise marketing tactics and companies needed loyal customers who are willing to spend, not those who are merely waiting for free offers.

“We will focus more on valuable customers, and we should be able to provide them with better quality service,” Mr Khan said. The average revenue per user (ARPU) in Pakistan was low and there is a need for value addition in the whole system without increasing rates too much, he added.

Currently, the pre-paid customers in the country surpass the post-paid customers and the focus of all four telecom operators is likely to attract post-paid customers in their networks to enhance the loyalty of users.

Onic launch

Meanwhile, Pakistan Telecommunication Authori­­ty (PTA) and Ufone have issued separate statements that ‘Onic’ was a digital brand owned and registered by Pak Telecom Mobile Ltd (Ufone).

Whereas the PTA has said that there were misconceptions among the public mainly on social media that Onic was a new telecom operator launching mobile services in Pakistan.

Ufone has said that ‘Onic’ aims to cater to a new segment of tech-savvy users who require greater access, convenience and control over their digital and telecommunication needs.

“Onic promises an improved digital experience and aligns with the vision of Digital Pakistan,” the statement added.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2023

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