Interview with Progresif Cellular

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Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd announced the acquisition of B-Mobile effective 1st July 2014. We spoke to the Chairman, Hj Abu Bakar bin Hj Ibrahim, who is also the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance.

Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Darussalam Assets Sdn Bhd. Darussalam Assets. It is an investment holding company under Brunei’s Ministry of Finance, established to manage government investments in government-linked companies.

In other words, it was the Government’s initiative to acquire B-Mobile.

What is the objective behind this move?
Progresif Cellular acquired the business and operations of B-Mobile because it was important for Brunei to have a strong second mobile operator so that consumers have a choice of services at reasonable prices. This is in line with the government’s aspirations. When it became clear that B-Mobile was no longer able to play this role, it became imperative that we assessed the viability of acquiring its entire operation. After evaluating the business case, we felt that it made good economic sense to proceed with the acquisition.

Why is it important for Brunei to have a second Telco Network?
As with all similar business environments healthy competition almost always drives prices down and reduces complacency among incumbent players. In addition to this, the quality of products and services also improves.

We all go into business whether it is with the government or a private organisation to ultimately make a profit. How lucrative is the Telco market in Brunei?
Obviously, we see room for a competitive and profitable second mobile operator in Brunei, otherwise we would not have made this acquisition. There is always room for competition no matter how small the market is.

What are the strategies in place to get Progresif Cellular up to speed? What are your KPIs?
Our immediate priorities are as follows:

1. Getting our network up to speed.

2. Getting a market-oriented and customer-focused organisation in place, starting with sound leadership and management.

3. Launching and building our brand when the above factors are in place and deemed ready to support it.

“We are totally focused to be a successful player, so you can be sure that we will do what it takes to deliver on our promises. “

What does the acquisition mean for the employees and the existing customers?
For the employees, it means they have the opportunity to work in an organisation that places great importance on strong corporate governance, professional management and adherence to global practices. It follows that they will be given every opportunity to grow and excel with the company.

Your vision is to be the most innovative mobile service provider in Brunei – delivering a unique customer experience. What can we expect from Progresif Cellular in the next 12 months – in terms of innovation and customer service?
The vision is a long-term one – it is what we aspire to be in the future. Within the next 12 months, we will be focusing on stabilising the network, which involves:

Eliminating congestion in the network and enhancing our customers’ internet user experience; providing additional coverage, especially in residential & commercial areas and increasing capacity to accommodate traffic growth.

At the same time, we will be putting together a strategy on how to distinguish ourselves in the marketplace in terms of innovation and customer service.

Give us a good reason to choose your network over the competitor.
I don’t want to sound clichéd but we will be playing a bit of catching up, so we will definitely try harder. We are totally focused on being a successful player, so you can be sure that we will do what it takes to deliver on our promises. We have completed a technical audit and know what it takes to get our network to the level that our customers will be happy with.

This article was published in the Jul-Sept 2014 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!