Our first venture into the ‘mobile internet’ was djuice, where I played a part. It was really too early – there were no smartphones, the data network was not there – but it probably did significantly contribute to the valuation of Telenor as we went public, and we learned a lot.
Another innovation was easyLoad. At Telenor Pakistan we were able to change the way people bought ‘minutes’ through easyLoad. Retailers could use mobile phones to transfer credit to customers. It meant they could sell very small ‘packets’, which is key in lower income countries where many customers never have a lot of cash at any one time. Telenor Pakistan was our second-to last greenfield GSM rollout in Telenor, and the fastest rollout to date. We saw the effect of easyLoad, and that learning was also valuable for other markets and for the digitalisation of distribution that is really key now.
With Aeromobile, Telenor was first in the world to launch GSM onboard commercial passenger aircraft. The Aeromobile project came out of Telenor Research. We developed hardware and software that went into Emirates aircraft, and partnered Telenor Maritime for operating the mobile switch and interconnect.
These examples of innovation are about making communication and access to the internet possible for more people and in more places. This goes to the core of our mission. Telenor lived its core value of ‘always explore’, allowing and encouraging us to develop and try new things.