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|Subject : Jazz Takes Facebook, Whatsapp, Amazon and AliBaba as Competitors: VimpelCom Co-Founder
Jazz is no longer in competition with local Pakistani operators; instead, it is set to take on with Google, Facebook, Whatsapp, Amazon and other tech giants, said Augie K Fabela, the co-founder and Chairman of VimpelCom. VimpelCom is boldly transitioning away from a traditional telco to an internet tech company, Mr. Fabela said while speaking with media in Islamabad today. He is on a two day visit to Pakistan, primarily to be part of inauguration of National Incubation Center in Islamabad tomorrow. Mr. Fabela is an entrepreneur himself and co-founded VimpelCom — a $45 billion company today — when he was just 24. While outlining the digital strategy of Jazz, Mr. Fabela said the Pakistani arm of VimpelCom will be able to lead a trillion dollar industry by virtue of the fact that it is going to turn the model away from conventional telecom company — that used to provide connectivity only — to become a company that will offer irresistible services to its consumers. “Re-positioning and re-birth of Jazz is to bring back the entrepreneurial spirit, pioneering zeal and innovation culture that is true to what our future is going to be like!”, said Mr. Fabela. VimpelCom Chairman said that Jazz — which is single best performing company in VimpelCom group — will ultimately be able of offer all sorts of services that its consumers will need in a digital world. He said that the trust that Jazz has earned over the years is actually enabling the company to offer consumers with much more richer experience than just the connectivity.
When asked about how these new services — through which Jazz wants to compete with Facebook, Whatsapp etc. — will look like, Mr. Fabela said that his group will offer products and services that will be more tailored, with better understanding of each of the local markets where VimpelCom operates. He explained that Whatsapp cannot know the Pakistani people and their behaviors better than Jazz. “We will have a platform that will have a local taste with global reach, it could have a lot of similarities but will come with a whole lot more offerings,” he added. While detailing further, the co-founder of VimpelCom said that his group will offer array of services, including basic communication, entertainment, health, education, financial services and more revolutionary things that will be tailored to what the people need rather than “one size fits all” stuff. “We don’t think one size fits all is the future and this is how we are going to gain the trust and affinity of the consumers”, he added. When asked about how Jazz will monetize such services when there are free alternatives available, Mr. Fabela said that Jazz plans to deliver such value for the consumers that they will ultimately move away from free services.
“We have a vision on how to get there, and if we don’t get to that then we won’t be able to monetize such services, which will be pretty much end of it”, said Mr. Fabela. He agreed that its a huge challenge because companies that Jazz is competing with are giants “and yes they are offering services for free for now but we think we will have a proposition and value that consumers are going to stick with our services as compared to any free alternatives”, he added. When asked about how Jazz is going to deal with low consumer readiness, i.e. what if they have the smartphone, 3G or 4G connectivity but don’t know how to productively use it, Mr. Fabela said that his group will keep investing on user awareness. He said that consumer readiness is not a local challenge but in fact his group is dealing with it in other markets as well. “We can actually take the digital divide and turn it into strong digital dividend for the people of Pakistan”, said Mr. Fabela. Mr. Fabela recognized that Jazz has advanced tremendously in digital transformation. “We actually have taken people from Jazz up into the group headquarters to help us lead the transformation”, he added.