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Interview with K.C. Narendran, circle business head, Uttar Pradesh (East), Telenor India

July 03, 2017

Interview with K.C. Narendran, circle bu...

The Uttar Pradesh (East) circle is one of the best performing circles for Telenor India. The operator also ranks amongst the top four operators in the circle. The company has witnessed strong data uptake in the circle and is currently strengthening its 4G footprint in the area to meet the growing demand. In an interview with tele.net, K.C. Narendran, Telenor India’s circle business head for Uttar Pradesh (East), talks about the company’s performance in the circle, the key initiatives taken and the challenges faced...

How has Telenor performed in the Uttar Pradesh (East) circle? What is the circle’s contribution to its overall operations?

Uttar Pradesh (East) is Telenor India’s largest circle and accounts for the highest revenue share (23.5 per cent) in the company’s overall revenues. This is largely owing to our huge customer base (11.78 million) in the circle, making us the third largest operator as per the Cellular Operators Association of India March 2017 report. With a revenue market share of 9.75 per cent in the quarter ended December 2016, we stand in the fourth position in the circle. We have witnessed higher growth than the industry average in the circle.

How are Telenor’s strategies for the Uttar Pradesh (East) circle different from those for the rest of the country?

Telenor is committed to offering affordable and relevant telecom services to the masses, and we have been consistent in launching innovative and value-for-money products. Our customer-centric approach and “Sabse Sasta-Sabke Liye” value proposition is based on our three-pillar strategy of being the best in basic services, the best in mass market distribution and highly cost efficient in our operations. We believe in innovating across all spheres of our business, be it product, technology or retail. Our innovative offerings like Tatkal credit, free life insurance scheme “Suraksha”, and feature phone handset bundling have received a great response from customers. We have a robust retail network and have recently launched a retail app that offers a multi lingual, self-help menu and an automated interactive voice response system to help retailers solve customer queries effectively.

What are some of the recent initiatives taken by Telenor in the circle?

Telenor’s 4G services are now available in eight cities in Uttar Pradesh (East): Varanasi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Azamgarh, Rae Bareli, Unnao, Mughalsarai and Mau. Last year, our entire network underwent a huge transformation. We modernised our existing sites to provide superior network quality services to our customers. In most of these cities, Telenor has been the first operator to offer high speed 4G services. Also, our 4G products are the most affordable in the industry.

Another significant development is the Aadhaar-based e-know your customer (e-KYC) activation process. As per the Department of Telecommunications’ guidelines, e-KYC is one of the norms that the industry has to abide by, and this has become a telecom industry best practice, making the entire process paperless and seamless. Today, 95 per cent of activations in the circle are e-KYC-enabled.

We have also introduced a handset bundled offer to extend the benefits of unlimited calling to feature phone buyers so that they can stay connected, and enjoy good quality voice and SMS services. Telenor has partnered with leading brands like Samsung, Intex, Lava, Infocus and JiVi to help them expand their feature phone market share in India.

How has been the uptake of Telenor’s data services in the circle?

Telenor is offering 4G services in eight cities in the circle. We are not only working to strengthen our 4G footprint across the circle but also moving closer to achieving the ambition of “internet for all”, with a commitment to become the most preferred partner in the digital life of our customers. Around 29 per cent of our customers are using data services and this number is growing steadily. Our modernised network has helped us provide high speed quality services as well as value-for-money offers, thereby making us the preferred choice of the masses.

What are the challenges that Telenor faces in the circle?

The Uttar Pradesh (East) circle has a mix of urban cities such as Lucknow, Varanasi and Kanpur, and smaller towns such as Rae Bareli, Unnao and Barabanki. Our product strategy is aligned with the customer needs in the circle. However, with such a diverse user base and different behaviour patterns, it is important to stay relevant, yet affordable all the time.

What is your outlook for the telecom industry for 2017?

India continues to be a voice-centric market with nearly 65 per cent of handsets being feature phones. However, data consumption is growing rapidly and internet-based services will witness an exponential rise in the coming days. Data monetisation will become crucial, with a focus on revenues from digital advertising.


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