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Interview with TechJuice – Sardar Mohammad Abubakr – Chief Digital & Strategy Officer, Telenor Pakistan



The digital ecosystem in Pakistan has seen immense modifications and developments over the previous decade. The crux of this growth lays with elevated connectivity and alternatives for that come with it. Sardar Mohammad Abubakr, as many would already know, is heading the Digital & Strategy area at Telenor Pakistan. We had the possibility to interview him relating to the tempo of digitization within the nation and alternatives going forth.

Q1: The world is altering quick with digitization taking it by storm. The place, in your professional view, does Pakistan stand?

SA: One factor is for positive that Pakistan just isn’t lagging behind with regards to digitization. In reality, in some instances, the nation has proven the world how know-how will be leveraged to raise life and remodel industries. With Pakistan being an rising market in Asia, there are scores of alternatives to discover and pursue. The digital transformation throughout life’s numerous spheres that Pakistan is witnessing right now is basically owing to the efforts of some forward-thinking ICT gamers equivalent to Telenor Pakistan. The nation’s nationwide agenda, prioritizing digital and monetary inclusion of the underserved plenty and pursuing a knowledge-based economic system, helps visionary firms like ours to realize objectives in a sooner and simpler method. With measures that promote training, round Science, Know-how, Engineering and Arithmetic (STEM), and encourage know-how incubators, Pakistan can attain its digitization and inclusion ambitions simply and struggle its socioeconomic challenges higher.

Q2: With a rise in uptake of mobile phones and knowledge, prospects’ wants and calls for are constantly evolving with regards to what they need and anticipate from their mobile service supplier. How has Telenor Pakistan stored up with the evolving buyer wants and the way is it anticipated to evolve sooner or later?

SA: With the digital ecosystem evolving, our prospects` wants are additionally altering – their knowledge utilization sample and expectations from a community are actually not the identical as they have been ten years in the past; neither are media and content material consumption patterns. In the present day, data and content material are just some faucets away on the cell display and the pattern from consuming conventional media platforms has decreased. The world of content material is ever-increasing, and Telenor Pakistan has developed a number of options that assist customers get direct entry to better of content material, native and world. They will hearken to their favourite regional music on Koyal, watch reside matches on Goonj TV app, stream blockbuster films on Netflix and Starzplay and at last additionally play Disney title video games – all straight on their mobile phones. These apps and partnerships are addressing the distinctive content material and leisure necessities of our prospects throughout the nation.

Of late, one in all Telenor Pakistan’s focus areas and progress levers within the digital merchandise area has been gaming. To develop the gaming ecosystem within the nation additional, Telenor’s startups accelerator program ‘Velocity’ lately partnered with Google to launch its first gaming cohort by which Telenor and Google are concentrating on Pakistan’s aspiring builders with an intention to revolutionize gaming as a profession and ultimately place Pakistan on the worldwide recreation builders map. Our very personal gaming app, Gamebox, gives a complete gaming expertise for customers, particularly the youth.

How Telenor Pakistan caters to customers’ leisure wants goes past these digital merchandise to collaborations & partnerships with leisure giants. Telenor Pakistan’s partnership with Netflix, for one, provides an unique 15% low cost on Netflix month-to-month subscription on funds made through Direct Service Billing (DCB) i.e. Telenor Pakistan subscribers’ cell steadiness. Equally, Telenor Pakistan’s latest partnership with STARZ PLAY by Cinepax is permitting its subscribers to take pleasure in free trial of the service on every day, weekly and month-to-month worth factors.

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Telenor Pakistan has all the time been on the forefront with regards to innovating with the digital providers, and thru DCB service, customers can now purchase content material the better means i.e. by merely connecting Google Play to Telenor quantity to buy content material with none problem. DCB additionally has the potential to nurture the native app developer economic system, incentivizing builders to construct for the native market. Telenor is proud to have performed a component in bridging monetary inclusion and pushing ahead our mission of digitizing the longer term.

Q3: What’s the state of digital ecosystem in Pakistan and the way has Telenor contributed to it?

SA: The digital ecosystem in Pakistan is growing and has immense alternatives for progress. We’re pleased with how Telenor Pakistan’s continued contributions have helped the digital ecosystem take root and develop robust. The important thing to a strong digital economic system in right now’s world is knowledge proliferation and innovation round services and products, which are enabled by the uptake of web. Along with rising our community outreach and ship greatest at school NGMS providers, Telenor Pakistan additionally has a portfolio of inexpensive 3G/4G handsets and web gadgets to allow entry to the countless advantages that mobile and digital providers carry.

To financially embrace tens of millions of unbanked Pakistanis, Telenor Pakistan launched the nation’s first cell banking service, Easypaisa, which confirmed a complete new option to handle the monetary service hole and allow underserved plenty by monetary inclusion. Telenor Pakistan has additionally digitally enabled key sectors of the nation like agriculture with which tens of millions of lives and households are related in Pakistan. Our social inclusion initiative in collaboration with UNICEF, known as Digital Start Registration, has proven the world how a telephone in a hand may give youngsters their proper to identification and entry to primary facilities of life.

Telenor Pakistan has additionally been the primary mover into the IoT (Web of Issues) stream in Pakistan with merchandise like ‘Companion Watch’ and automobile efficiency monitoring machine ‘Auxo’. We had the nation’s first and largest IoT expos to create consciousness about this stream and develop curiosity of entrepreneurs in direction of creating IoT based mostly options.

Telenor Pakistan has additionally stayed targeted on fostering innovation inside and out of doors the group believing that it’s the inventive use of obtainable know-how that may work true wonders. With an accelerator program like Velocity, we’re selling ‘technopreneurship’ throughout Pakistan in addition to inside our ranks. Moreover, now we have additionally been reaching out to highschool youngsters throughout Pakistan educating them on utilizing web productively and safely by ‘iChamp’ and College Outreach packages.

Telenor Pakistan’s digital merchandise, providers and partnerships are successfully addressing the altering digital providers wants of right now’s mobile subscribers. From life-style to leisure, our digital division is ensuring that from city facilities to distant suburbs, all customers are served and transferred the advantages of advancing know-how.

This fall: You talked about how Telenor Pakistan has made digital intervention within the agri sector. What are the challenges and alternatives that this sector holds?

SA: Agriculture constitutes the most important sector of Pakistan’s economic system with majority of the inhabitants being straight or not directly depending on this sector. Along with being the most important supply of international change earnings within the nation, the sector additionally contributes over 25 % of Gross Home Product (GDP) and accounts for almost half of Pakistan’s employed labor power. Regardless of its significance to progress, exports, earnings, and meals safety, the Agriculture sector has been affected by volatility in progress. As a consequence of lack of important investments and innovation in Agri-Tech and methods, productiveness stays low, with yield gaps rising.

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Preserving the aforementioned farmers’ challenges in thoughts and realizing that cell know-how provides immense potential to make an enormous distinction, Telenor Pakistan launched the nation’s first mAgri IVR service, Khushaal Zamindar, that vowed to enhance the native agri practices by offering the smallholder farmers with real-time climate forecasts complementing contextual and well timed agronomic advisory straight on their mobile phones. Constructing on the success of Khushaal Zamindaar, we additionally launched Khushaal Aangan – a devoted IVR service feminine farmers. Khushaal Sehat – a web based well being helpline for rural communities, and Khushaal Maweshi – a web based veterinary service for rural communities.

This fall: Within the quick paced telecom sector the place agility in innovation is required to develop the digital ecosystem, what’s being accomplished by Telenor Pakistan to empower and allow entrepreneurs with distinctive concepts?

SA: Velocity is among the key enablers of the digital ecosystem that Telenor Pakistan has established to uplift and increase the start-ups within the nation. It’s the first of its type Digital Startup Accelerator, specializing in serving to entrepreneurs scale their concepts and ventures by accessing Telenor Pakistan’s insights, experience and analytics.

This yr, we launched thematic cohorts in Velocity to help and scale targeted options in Agri and Gaming industries.

Thus far, now we have had two thematic cohorts for Velocity with the primary ever Agri-tech cohort supplied agri startups a chance to associate with Pakistan’s largest Agri digital audio platform and scale their enterprise by leveraging Telenor Pakistan’s know-how and innovation within the agri area. The Sport Launcher cohort, alternatively, partnered with Google for teaching passionate recreation builders of Pakistan to construct, scale, and monetize best-in-class gaming apps. Chosen Velocity contributors undergo a seven-month lengthy teaching program, the place they compete to remodel their inventive concepts into profitable and sustainable app companies. Within the close to future, Telenor Velocity shall be launching a Content material Cohort with an intention to disrupt innovation by give attention to probably the most promising space of Pakistan’s ecosystem.

Q5: What’s Telenor’s ambition for Pakistan and the way do the prospects appear with regards to growth within the digital ecosystem of the nation?

SA: At Telenor Pakistan, we stay enthusiastic about remodeling the society and elevating life. With every passing yr, this dedication grows stronger enabling us to create merchandise and options that matter and present the trade a brand new path to maneuver in. It pleases us that we share our objectives with the Pakistani authorities when it comes to digital, monetary, and social inclusion and with Pakistan’s new imaginative and prescient of a data economic system, we work as a cheerful associate striving to realize mutual objectives. Telenor Pakistan has had the privilege of being the primary mover of cell banking, IoT (Web of Issues), cell agriculture, digitization of start registrations, and plenty of different social empowerment initiatives and can proceed to innovate to uplift the society and create a greater Pakistan for generations to return.

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