Digital services key to telco survival: Telenor Digital head: Page 2 of 2

Need for stamina, patience

Digital services key to telco survival: Telenor Digital head: Page 2 of 2

But the key to being successful in its digital strategy is to have stamina and be patient. Not exactly the easiest thing for a telco company which is used to monetising on a daily basis, notes Spilling wryly.
There are other legacy challenges too, he says, recalling how leading venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, speaking at the same Digital Winners conference in Oslo a year ago, was of the opinion that the problem with telcos is that they are thinking too big too early, and are too big to fail.
Yet Spilling believes that Telenor, with its ‘think big, act small/ local’ approach has a winning hand and edge, even against the mainly Silicon Valley-based Internet companies that tend to dominate in the mobile services space.
He believes that they will not be able to adapt their products or service offerings to the individual Asian markets.
“They will not adapt to, nor pay attention to local markets mainly because of their large home market,” he argues.
On the other hand, this approach is already part of Telenor’s DNA in its Asian strategy in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Thailand and Malaysia, with operations in Myanmar just started.
Besides that, it is also able to cross-pollinate ideas and products across its European and Asian operating countries.
For instance, it is currently running a cloud-based storage app Min Sky focused on storing and sharing pictures and video taken from mobile phones.
This is the first mobile app that Telenor Digital is launching, with an eye to replicating it with the right ecosystem built around it for each subsequent country it is launched in.
This approach will take time but Spilling believes this is how Telenor will learn, including from its failures, on how to do it efficiently eventually.
He notes that not many operators are taking this approach. “We dare to try,” he says.
No doubt that this ethos is encouraged by his belief that operators who don’t get the services side of the business right will have no business eventually.
Karamjit Singh was in Oslo to cover the Digital Winners Conference at the kind invitation of Telenor and DiGi. All editorials are independent.
Previous Instalment: Telenor adapting to a data-centric world

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