Telenor rates predictability as key to rural connectivity


Head, Telenor Asia

INTERVIEW: Jorgen Rostrup, head of Telenor Asia (pictured), highlighted the need for operators to have a clear vision of a country’s investment climate as they plan future rural initiatives to push ubiquitous coverage.

He told Mobile World Live business predictability is the number one challenge in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly as companies plan investments spanning 15- to 20-year periods.

“Then our thinking starts: what is the next move we should make, how should we invest more? For businesses to do this, we simply need more predictability than what we have today.”

Digital advancement is another challenge: “We need to get everybody on board, and I believe the Covid-19 [coronavirus] situation is making this even more important now because more people, more businesses and governments have seen that digitalisation is part of the new normal.”

A launch by Telenor in Myanmar in 2014 highlights some key lessons, Rostrup said, the first of which is making the technology available, while also offering affordable handsets. “In Myanmar all the players, the government and other participants managed to do that.”

Myanmar’s smartphone penetration is 75 per cent, compared with Telenor’s other markets in the region, Bangladesh (42 per cent) and Pakistan (51 per cent).

He said Telenor also put a lot of effort into digital skills education: “We have been running close to 100,000 students through our digital school in Myanmar. This is what we now are doing in other countries to strengthen rural development and upgrading skillsets.”