INTERVIEW: Telia CEO Allison Kirkby (pictured) expressed a desire to be the world’s first operator to go beyond current sustainability goals by employing digital technologies to deliver a positive impact on the environment rather than just halting the damage of the past.

Ahead of a keynote during MWC Barcelona 2022, the executive told Mobile World Live Telia had already embarked on a massive digital transformation programme before Covid-19 (coronavirus) accelerated the need for change, explaining the project was reaping benefits for the energy sector.

“I wouldn’t mind being the first climate-positive operator in the world actually,” Kirkby said, predicting the world is “about to go into the era of the convergence of digital and energy, and we’re doing some pretty cool stuff in that area”.

Telia’s digital transformation was prompted by a realisation it was not delivering value to customers or shareholders, Kirkby explained.

While technologies including 5G, fibre and cloud-based services “are enabling that, we need to create a movement to really drive transformation as a key muscle in the company” to speed the process.

In what Kirkby described as one of the “boldest” digital transformations in the industry, Telia is working to update its IT architecture, simplify its product offerings and processes, and ensure staff have the right skills to “embrace a digital future so that we can be that aggregator, orchestrator of choice for all of our customers, large and small”.

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