Top News
Check latest news Read →

Secrets of success: the story of the fastest growing network, ZONG

Secrets of success: the story of the fastest growing network, ZONG

Recently appointed as Director Marketign at ZONG – China Mobile Pakistan, Usman Ishaq joined China Mobile in 2008 as Regional Director, Sales and Distribution. Young, smart and innovative Usman performed extraordinary well in sales and was promoted to the position of Director Sales and Distribution with added responsibilities. Working closely with marketing department as Director S&D, Usman developed, established and directed channel, distribution strategies and programs.

Usman is a graduate of PAK AIMS, Lahore and holds diversified industry experience. He has worked for companies like Mobilink, ICI Pakistan and Warid Telecom, previous to his appointment at ZONG. His areas of proficiency include sales, distribution, customer management, business development and project management.

Blue Chip had the opportunity to meet Usman Ishaq, new Director Marketing – Zong, to explore his plans and objectives for further growth of ZONG as well as the story of his successful journey that lead him to the current position.

How was your experience of witnessing the emergence of ZONG as a forerunner in the telecom industry and transforming into the market leader? Share the factors that helped you in reviving ZONG?

Usman Ishaq: “In April 2008, when the company was tackling with a challenging situation due to the tough competition from giant competitors, I was hired as Regional Director. The first action I took was the restructuring of sales force. I initiated new areas in the region. Another realization was the need for expansion of franchise channels, so I worked on developing 63 Franchisees and 27000 retail outlets. Further development was the launch of Trade Marketing Department in the region along with the introduction of innovative Trade Promos to increase the activations and revenue. And so, all these efforts resulted in the increase in revenue which was a great achievement of my career. I believe that team work is essential for achieving any goal and I would like to give the credit of this success to the marketing team as it was their immense support that we were successful in changing people’s perception about China Mobile and convincing them to accept it as the largest mobile company in the world.”

The recent achievement of Zong was the the subscriber’s level of 14 million subscribers. So what’s the next target?

UI: “I think it is a very interesting question as what’s next is the exploration of the company’s aims and objectives and the trends that it tends to follow. Zong’s focus now is to maximize its subscriber’s growth and be the market leader in the near future. We are here for longer and our commitment is not a short-term operation but, we have bigger plans for better services that none other can promise to provide. Our long-term vision is to become the Number 1 mobile phone company in Pakistan! Our offers are clearly different than those of other companies. They are unmatchable as they need a lot of investment and China is investing heavily in Pakistan.”

What is your opinion about the future growth of the communication industry?

UI: “We are witnessing a rapid change in industry each day. Mobile phone is much more than just a telephonic device. According to a report revealed in the western world, in some countries of Europe, 40% of revenue comes from voice and 60% from data. From what I see, there’s a lot of potential of growth in mobile internet and mobile data usage. With the continuous advancement in the digital world, I foresee people living their lives digitally more than they are living it at present. Android phones are the latest advancement and we are yet to explore a lot more that is ahead of us. So I think this is now an opportunity for us to transit from fixed internet to mobile internet because mobile internet changes your experience completely. And I foresee a quick acceptance of this trend in the market. The commerce, information and communication platforms – all will make consumers more dependent on mobiles, thus resulting in great opportunities for us.”

Social networking is the most popular trend of today. Should we expect Zong to go in the same direction?

UI:  “Social networking is a buzzword today. It is quite obvious that every mobile operator in Pakistan, or anywhere in the world, is now jumping on the same bandwagon of setting up profiles at social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Pakistan alone has around 5.8 million Facebook users and once the awareness increases among masses, it will visibly change the whole game and the usage of such networking sites.”

Zong has only recently achieved 14 million subscribers level. What do you think, as the marketing head, is the reason behind this success? Is it quality of the voice, quality of services or is it the price factor or sheer size of the parent company that has helped Zong attain its unique position?

UI: “Well, a single feature or a brand can never be enough for the company’s success. You need to cater various audiences to achieve the maximum share in the market. I have experienced that consumers demand for a blend of services or products. And so, they should be provided with what they are expecting. A brand is a promise of certain qualities which a customer desire for and expect from the brand to be fulfilled, therefore, it is essential to keep a check on whether the promise is being met or not. This process of acceptance from the customers’ end always takes time. So, if you look at ZONG as a case study, you’ll see that we have been very aggressive player in the market. We assertively entered the market and made our own space. Our faith was that we can stand up and deliver what we promise and can achieve our targets easily even if the giants are already there in the market to compete us. One of the major factors of our success was our way of communication. We prefer to communicate directly with our customers. And the third factor is our parent company. Small it may appear, but the brave decision of investing $1.66billion in Pakistan; specifically at a time when the law and order situation was worst, taken by the company was commendable. To facilitate our ambitions, China Mobile stood to its commitment and invested as much as it could. Another factor is our data differentiator, which is the best among the industry. We have the largest percentage of data customers. Because the data products were good, the young people who wanted to use internet swamped towards Zong. Our offers were quite captivating and we not only introduced exciting packages in voice, but also in data, which resulted in great flexibility for the customers.”

Locally, regionally and internationally, what is the comparison of the services of Zong with other companies, technology wise?

UI: “ZONG is at the same level as that of international standards. It is a known fact that everything in the world is being manufactured by China. The technology used by all the telecom companies of Pakistan is comprised of majority of Chinese components. So, we are at the same level if we compare ourselves to our competitions in Pakistan. Even at the global level, we are at the same level because they are using similar networks which are being used by us.”

Is there more good news to come for Pakistanis regarding the cut in rates?

 UI: “In the telecom industry, the focus of everyone is not on price always. With the increase in competition each day, companies focus on providing such offers which are better in compatibility to what others are offering. But when market matures and saturates it creates segmentation and then, the company gives different advantages to different segments according to their demands. So generally speaking, the advantages will vary from segment to segment and everyone will get the desired package at desired rates. In that case, there will always be good news while we’ll be finding out new segments and will be giving the freedom of choice to our customers.”

Leave A Reply