Dtac’s new CEO Alexandra Reich (pictured) has guided the operator through two major hurdles over the past few months, and is committed to turning around five years of falling market share and revenue.
Reich, appointed in June 2018, took over during a critical transition period as the operator shifted to a spectrum licensing regime from a concessionary set up involving state-owned CAT Telecom. In the process, dtac has faced lawsuits, a loss of customer confidence and internal uncertainty.
Last week the Telenor-owned operator reached a settlement with CAT Telecom concerning a number of long-running legal claims, with the operator agreeing to pay THB9.51 billion ($297.5 million). It also acquired spectrum in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands in the second half of 2018, giving it a much need boost in spectrum holdings after its 27-year concession with the state-owned company expired in September.
In addition, it operates 60MHz in the 2300MHz band in partnership with TOT.
Dtac, Thailand’s third-largest mobile operator behind market leader AIS and True Move, is now embarking on a turnaround plan which involves deep changes across the company.
Spectrum is a part of its short-term direction, Reich said, but the biggest challenge is to improve the network experience.
“We found that network experience has been deteriorating. It’s not only the increasing number of complaints, but also the number of loyal customers porting out that has increased. We’re now very focused on improving the network experience by setting up a dedicated team, focusing on network quality and fixing all the problems our customers report,” she said in a statement.
Its mobile connections dropped from 28.2 million in Q1 2014 to 21.1 million in Q4 2018, with its market share falling from a peak of nearly 31 per cent to 23 per cent over that period, GSMA Intelligence data showed.
She acknowledged dtac has fallen prey to inconsistent execution, which is a threat to its turnaround plan, and needs to shape the brand’s customer relationship or purpose to correct uncertainties and uneven implementation.
“To become very consistent, we should define what dtac really stands for today and in the future. It’s the core essence of everything, not just a marketing claim,” Reich explained.
The first phase of developing its brand purpose has been finalised and will be announced on 21 January. After that, dtac will hold workshops aimed making the brand purpose more visible and credible, both internally and externally.Subscribe to our daily newsletter