Telco Market Changing to Match Customer Needs and Habits


Mohamed ElSayad, chief commercial officer at Telenor Hungary, talks to the Budapest Business Journal about how the Hungarian market is changing.

Mohamed ElSayad, chiefcommercial officer at Telenor Hungary.

BBJ: How would you describe the telecommunications market in Hungary?

M.E.: As customers’ usage habits have been changing, the telco market is transforming as well, not only in Hungary but throughout the world. The Hungarian market has already been heavily penetrated, the competition is getting sharper, and prices have been decreasing; that is good for customers. 2018 was the year when multiple operators merged or got a new owner – just like Telenor Hungary itself. There are important market segments besides the consumer segment where we would like to significantly grow our market share, for example in the B2B and IoT [Internet of Things] areas.

BBJ: What trends do you expect in Hungary in the coming years?

M.E.: A few years ago we would have downloaded music on our smartphones at home and listened to it offline, but now mobile data is so affordable that we can stream it easily, anywhere. The next milestone, which many of our customers have already reached, will be video streaming. We offer a 100 GB monthly data allowance at a very reasonable price that enables users to easily watch their favorite TV show or movie while on the go. In the longer term, artificial intelligence solutions have big potential, will help us to understand better our customers’ needs and enable us to serve our customers even better. The 5G technologies also have the potential to change the market: this technology will offer not only higher download speeds but much lower latency time, paving the way for new solutions like autonomous vehicles and millions of smart devices equipped with multiple sensors. Because 5G will be able to provide a data connection to low-powered sensors and devices that can operate for years from a single battery, sensors will be applied much more widely than today. We already provide our services for a lot of M2M [machine-to-machine] solutions, but I expect that, thanks to 5G, half or more of our ’subscribers’ will be machines by 2028, though we have to see the business potential of this technology more clearly.

BBJ: How are the phone habits of Hungarians changing?

M.E.: We have already been experiencing that the demand for mobile data has been dynamically growing. Most of our customers now use mobile data; even grandparents are now using smartphones to be able to chat and share photos with their acquaintances. The devices have become more and more complex partners in our everyday life, and not only for entertainment but in work, as m-health tools, etc. Through these functions, people generate more and more data for sharing. That’s why we develop our network continuously; our goal is to provide the best customer experience on Hipernet [Telenor’s superfast network].

BBJ: As is well known, Telenor changed hands this year. Do you anticipate either any consolidation of the market or the entry of any new players?

M.E.: According to OpenSignal’s independent analysis, Hungarian mobile networks are among the best in the world. We see a huge potential in the exponential growth in mobile data usage, which will require each operator to enhance and upgrade their networks continuously to be able to maintain Hungary’s current very high service quality.

From our perspective, the main goal is basically to offer our customers the best experience with Hipernet as a network, to offer the best quality of experience when it comes to retail or digital. This is why we are more concerned about the overall experience rather than looking into consolidation of other players and other new entrants. Our purpose is to grow the market and any competition is always welcome.

Editor’s note: The other two major players in the Hungarian mobile telecoms market, T-Mobile and Vodafone, were also asked to contribute to this article but had not got back to us by our deadline.

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