Telenor Asia: Our Year in Review – 2022
Message from Head of Telenor Asia, Jørgen C. Arentz Rostrup:
2022 marked a significant turning point for Telenor in Asia. After 25 years in the region, change is happening fast and business environments are less predictable, but our first-mover spirit which brought us to Asia remains intact.
This year has been a milestone year for many reasons. We improved performance and safety standards across our operations. We established Telenor Asia as a stronger, more autonomous entity to manage our Asian operations from a regional headquarters in Singapore. We completed the mega-merger of CelcomDigi in Malaysia in December 2022; and we are well underway with the True-dtac merger in Thailand. But the whole Telenor family, including our colleagues in Oslo, was particularly saddened that we had to divest our operations in Myanmar, due to the military coup that happened in 2021.
Creating Value in Asia
Our ambition for Telenor Asia is clear: creating value for all our stakeholders. As the societies we support navigate dynamic and volatile times, digital connectivity will be even more critical to our lives going forwards. According to Telenor Asia’s Digital Lives Decoded 2022 study, nearly 3 in 4 people expect their mobile use to increase in the coming years.
A stronger, more autonomous Telenor Asia is thus ideally positioned to lead our operating companies towards maximum impact and value. To achieve this, we are taking some bold steps and changing how we operate in the region. Telenor Asia’s new model enables our companies to make decisions faster and closer to the customer, governed by strong boards that set clear expectations and hold our companies accountable for their performance, efficiency and responsible business practices.
Leading in Our Markets
Telenor Asia aims to build leading operators in all our markets. In Malaysia, our partnership with Axiata resulted in the creation of CelcomDigi, the country’s largest locally listed technology company and a stronger digital partner for customers, now and in the future. The integration plan has been put into execution by the new management starting December 2022; and the company remains committed to the previously announced synergy target of US$1.8 billion by 2025.
In Thailand, our work with CP Group on the merger between True and dtac continues; and we aim to complete the proposed transaction in quarter one, 2023 (1). Our ambition is to be a front-runner in Thailand’s digital transformation, building a telecom-tech company which provides a full range of digital and connectivity services for 60 million customers.
Going Forth Despite Strong Headwinds
Work continues to strengthen our operations in Bangladesh and Pakistan. In Bangladesh, Grameenphone is already the number one operator with nearly 80 million customers. In 2022, the company added 2,200 new 4G sites and connected over a third of its towers to fiber to meet the growing data demands of their customers. Today, Grameenphone offers the country’s best network experience and has invested in expanding this to reach more than 97% of the population. The team’s focus on driving efficient operations and digitally transforming from within saw Grameenphone grow its revenue by 5.5% YOY in 2022 despite adverse regulatory headwinds.
In 2022, Pakistan was hit by the worst flood in recent memory, impacting millions of people across the country. Telenor Pakistan continued to provide critical mobile services throughout this natural disaster and stepped up to support in relief operations as well. I am proud of the team’s fighter spirit and how they continuously create value for all their stakeholders as a very lean and efficient operation.
Tomorrow in Asia
The big picture for Asia going forward is one of opportunity and growing data consumption, but also intense competition, political uncertainty, and economic challenges in the form of rising energy prices, high inflation, and currency volatility.
In 2022, Telenor Asia proved that we could keep ahead of these changes thanks to the Telenor Group’s global scale, our ability to capture market leading positions, and our relentless pursuit of profitable growth opportunities. Most of all, we owe our capacity to perform under pressure to a culture that keeps our people driven to succeed while never compromising on safety or ethics.
We head into 2023 energised to carry on this momentum and for further positive developments in all our markets and within Telenor Asia.
Head of Telenor Asia
Jorgen C. Arentz Rostrup
(1) The amalgamation of dtac and True was completed on Mar 1, 2023.