The Star, 17 November 2007
Three CSR awards and a 3G spectrum, all in one day. How does that feel?
That was great! However, in between the signing and the CSR (corporate social responsibility) Award, I had to go bag shopping with mum. In that area I had nothing to contribute in terms of ideas and design. But the rest of the day was very good.
DiGi employee Tracey Surin at the DiGi Communication office in Shah Alam
Getting 3G is not about exuberance, but it is natural for DiGi to have it. It is a logical evolution to our technological platform after having invested heavily in 2G.
So, there is really no reason to party but we do feel satisfied now that it has finally happened. But winning the three CSR awards is somewhat exciting, as I had no expectations.
It came as a surprise and I am very proud of the recognition of DiGi’s engagement with the community. It’s a genuine effort on our part and over the past three years, our employees have managed to create awareness of Malaysia’s cultural heritage among several local communities.
The other award is for best workplace practices and I really take my hat off to DiGi as an organisation. It is amazing to see how a traditional Malaysian company and all its people have over the past three years transformed themselves and I do think our practices stand out as modern and it is for that we got recognised. It feels very meaningful and inspiring.
As for the inaugural Prime Minister’s CSR Award, it is something we received with great pride, and my mom would have been proud to be there but she was still busy shopping.
On Thursday morning we had a meeting with all our people and they clearly appreciated the recognition.
(On Wednesday morning, DiGi signed an alliance with Time dotCom for the 3G spectrum and other working relationships. In the evening, DiGi won the Culture and Heritage, Best Workplace Practice and the Prime Minister’s CSR Award.)
Everything looks so good now, time to celebrate?
We do not want to create a DiGi hype. There will be both good and more challenging times ahead. We are just sticking to our strategy. We do not want to create complacency within the organisation. DiGi is too young an organisation, which is operating in a highly competitive market place, to be celebrating too much.
What can be expected of DiGi in the broadband segment?
Our marketing and innovation capabilities will drive us to deliver interesting 3G services and this will push competitors to do the same, which ultimately will be good for consumers. With 3G, we can go beyond our current space and also leverage on TDC’s last mile access to broaden our offerings. TDC can also use our services for mobility connectivity.
Telekom Malaysia Bhd will be undertaking the RM15.2bil project to implement high speed broadband in urban areas in Malaysia. What is your view on one company getting such a huge project?
It is good for Malaysia as it has a fixed broadband offering and a catalyst is needed to drive change. Fixed is in many ways superior to wireless technology in providing high speed broadband but fixed cannot be done economically for so many households and it cannot deliver mobility, so that is where opportunities for players like us exist.
Should there be incentives for other players to roll out broadband?
I think the fixed broadband market needs a catalyst for change and that method has been chosen. It will eventually benefit everyone, as demand for Internet will just explode over time.
Being able to leverage on Telenor’s expertise in rolling out 3G to many countries in Europe, and coupled with falling equipment prices, would the cost of deployment be half than projected for DiGi?
Fast rollout is what we are looking at as our core network is 3G-ready.
We just need to add 3G radios to the base stations. Yes, we can draw from Telenor’s experience. Where spending is concerned, prices of equipment have been considerably cheaper the last few years and this is good news. We can hope that our capital expenditure (capex) will be in the lower end of our guidance but that remains to be seen.
Speculation is rife that TDC will end up with 20% stake in DiGi; your comments?
My comment is to have no comments.
For the past two years there have been on-off merger talks between TDC and DiGi but nothing materialised. What triggered this round to lead to a deal that you said was win, win, win for both parties and the consumers?
It is hard to say when we started and what triggered it. What is important is that it ended well and we all feel happy about it.
Would Telenor continue to support DiGi the way it did before scaling down its stake to 49%?
The relationship between Telenor and DiGi will not change at all even though its (stake) ownership has changed.
Are you worried about your competitors?
It is not about being worried, as competition is part of business. We compete and motivate our employees, which is what business is about. It is more about being respectful and getting energy from the competitors.
The future of DiGi, as you see it?
We would like to see the DiGi brand being used more often. We want it to be a household name, not just a mobile brand. We do not know ourselves what that really means, but we are eager to explore ways to fulfil that vision.
DiGi is a very bottom line-driven company. When would the broadband and 3G business contribute towards profits?
We are trying to think in simple ways and terms.
We believe our market potential now has increased and that will translate into revenue first and profit later. It would probably take five years before we can break even in the overall 3G business.
How is DiGi going to fund its capex requirements?
We have more than sufficient funds from our ongoing cash flow in addition to very strong balance sheet position.