Veon’s joint CEOs Kaan Terzioglu and Sergi Herrero insisted the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic represents an opportunity to create a new normal for the company and it was determined not to waste the crisis, as they oversaw a balanced Q1.
Speaking to Mobile World Live, Terzioglu (pictured, right) and Herrero (pictured, left), who took the helm in March 2020, said Veon was better placed than rivals to tap into the opportunities created by the health crisis, given its digital services focus .
To that end, they had decided to be transparent about the new trends experienced from the late March into April caused by various lockdowns.
Former Turkcell CEO Terzioglu said the telecoms market was being “rewritten” by the crisis, with more focus on rural connectivity over cities, increased voice consumption and a hit to lucrative roaming revenues.
Terzioglu added Veon decided it would not provide guidance for the rest of 2020, instead focusing on the short-term impacts of the crisis, and how to mitigate the effects and capitalise on the opportunities.
“It’s no surprise. We don’t know when lockdowns will stop permanently or if we will have another cycle”, said Terzioglu. “We thought it would not be prudent to provide a guidance for the year in these conditions…we know the worst and we can provide a better picture for the market in the next few months”.
Herrero added the company was looking to its various digital plays, including its media and TV operations in Ukraine and Russia and increased adoption of mobile money in Pakistan, as examples of being able to use “Covid-19 in our favour”.
Total revenue for Q1 reached $2.1 billion, down 1.3 per cent year-on-year due to currency effects: without this the figure was up 0.3 per cent.
The company also saw an uplift of 16.6 per cent in mobile data revenue to $662 million. Veon said this was fuelled by its 4G investment programme and deployment of digital services in emerging markets, where many are in the early stages of smartphone adoption.
Profit dropped to $120 million from $530 million in Q1 2019, though the latter figure was boosted significantly by a multi-million dollar settlement with Ericsson relating to the termination of a contract.
Its mobile customer base was flat at 211 million at the end-Q1, with declines in Uzbekistan, Algeria and Russia offset by increases in Pakistan and Bangladesh.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back