The Business Year

Hamid Farang

IRAN - Telecoms & IT

Third Time’s a Charm

CEO, RighTel

Bio

Hamid Farang graduated in 2000 with a degree in Electronic Engineering from Sharif University. He then became Member of the Board at Yavaran Kosar Financial and Engineering Group from 2002-2007. Over 2008-2010, he was Chairman of the Board at Pardazesh Electronic Rashed Samaneh, a subsidiary of Pasargad Bank. In addition to holding the position of CEO of RighTel, he is Vice-Chairman of Saman Mobin Alborz, a payment service provider.

What are some highlights from RighTel’s experience in 2011? What endogenous and exogenous factors within the ICT industry played a role in this picture? The RighTel brand was introduced in […]

What are some highlights from RighTel’s experience in 2011? What endogenous and exogenous factors within the ICT industry played a role in this picture?

The RighTel brand was introduced in late 2011 and first launched services in Tehran and Karaj in 1Q2012. Being the third entrant in an apparently saturated mobile market is enough to make it difficult to start, let alone grow. We started our business under such conditions and are an influential player now.

You have plans to cover 60% of the population with the 2G network and 40% with the 3G network by 2014. What is the current coverage and what strategies are you putting in place in order to achieve this goal?

We are following our commitments, which arose from the license awarded by the regulator. In 2011 we launched our services in Tehran and Karaj, two major cities that are home to 20% of the population. Recently, we expanded our network to almost 25 cities out of 31, including all major and populated cities. We also hope to be able to roll our network out across the whole country by the end of 2012, which will exceed the commitments of the license. Eventually, we will be offering services to 100% of the country. Our focus now is on demographic coverage. That is why we are covering the highly populated cities in the first phase. After this demographic expansion, we will start a geographic extension as well.

3G technology made its first appearance in Iran in 2011. How has it changed the dynamics of your industry?

This new technology has provided customers with new services and quality levels. The information services have been text based so far. However, considering the new platform now available by RighTel, all other types of enhanced multimedia content could be made available for customers. We can point out the streaming services, which are very attractive to the market. Users will be able to experience live streaming of TV, video, and audio. In addition, we are now the first and only operator to provide mobile broadband based on HSPA+ technology in Iran. Soon, the tastes of the market will change, and all operators have to either provide high-quality services or lose subscribers. This will definitely lead to customer satisfaction. Data and VAS are currently giving direction to the market. The advent of smartphones and sophisticated handsets and tablets has amplified the demand for data and internet services. Apart from this, the market has already started demanding more advanced and value-added services. Therefore, our complete basket of basic and value-added services, resulting from high bandwidth, will change our current market share.

In which direction are you planning to take your capital expenditures in 2013?

Most of the capital expenditure will be directed toward network expansion and optimization. We have a very aggressive plan for rollout this year, with more than 50 local subcontractors all over Iran. Spending is currently focused on 70 cities in order for the roll out to be nationwide.

How do you maintain high-quality standards in order to create a competitive edge in the market?

The technology we are implementing provides subscribers with better quality services than those of the competition. This will empower us to offer a wide range of advanced services. We have serious plans for a local VAS ecosystem in order to deliver the relevant and localized services based on customer models and target segments. RighTel will be the pioneer in many of these services, such as mobile TV and 3G internet.

How would you assess your position in the market and how do you differentiate RighTel from your competitors?

Our brand is what counts. All of our efforts converge to satisfy our elite subscribers and customers, who have particular expectations. We do not intend to attract as many customers as possible. We have targeted a certain group of customers, and their acceptance and satisfaction is our objective.

What are your expectations from 2013?

By 2013, we will have nearly nationwide coverage, which will lead to a new phase of competition. We will continue expanding our coverage and offering our services, and the other operators will improve their products and services to make up for the technology difference. Ultimately, we are focused on being the best broadband service provider in Iran, while looking forward to opportunities in the region.

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