Letter from the CEO

Modernising Telenor to drive societies forward

The first Telenor CEO was Carsten Tank Nielsen. He believed strongly in the telegraph as a means to enable and strengthen businesses and connect the young Norwegian nation with the rest of the world. It was his way of empowering the Norwegian society.

It is now 165 years later, and we are still in the business of empowering societies through connectivity. Today we are in the midst of what is probably our largest modernisation effort to date. We are mapping, planning and preparing ourselves and the societies we serve for yet another technology shift to continue moving us forward. In Norway, for example, we are decommissioning the legacy copper lines and upgrading our entire fixed network with fibre and wireless solutions. At the same time, we are constantly seeking to improve and enhance our operations and renew our way of work, in order to better serve our customers throughout all of our markets. Seamless, personal and more engaging customer journeys is one part of that, while we are exploring how to deploy robots, automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to deliver the best possible network experience to our customers.

Our strategic direction guides us towards reaching our ambitions. It consists of three main components:

  • Deliver growth through focused customer offerings that fuel the persistent need for connectivity and related services.
  • Continue to innovate on our core business and be a leader in modernisation, from how we run our networks to the way we engage with customers across touchpoints.
  • Reinforce our strong foundation of responsible business through the way we operate and manage business environment risk, in how we treat our customers’ data, and in our role as a global citizen working towards our climate ambitions.

This direction will guide us through 2020-21. Crucial to our strategy is our decision to uniting our Asian markets into a single, strong unit and thus build a stronger presence in the region. This will make us well equipped to fully realise the potential across the region and seize opportunities for growth. On the technology side, we have already seen commercial launches of 5G in our footprint, and in the coming year we will continue to explore how 5G can make an even bigger impact in society. There are so many new opportunities with 5G, AI, automation and more. Acting on them requires us to work in new ways, move faster and engage more deeply with partners and peers than ever before. This is why Telenor is investing time and resources in upskilling our entire workforce.

The 2020s will also usher in new risks for us to tackle. We will continue to face manipulation and contamination of data intended to disrupt and mislead, which places higher expectations on everyone. For connectivity providers in general and Telenor in particular, it means that building and maintaining trust, from consumers, businesses and societies, is more important than ever. As we have seen lately, cross-border diseases such as COVID-19 disrupts daily lives, business and society as a whole. Keeping our people safe remains a top priority. So does striving for business continuity, as Telenor plays a key role in securing critical infrastructure when a crisis like this occurs. In the light of the COVID-19 situation, keeping people connected to what matters most is more relevant than ever.

In 2020 and beyond, we will continue to focus on making a positive impact for customers and societies. In order to play this important societal role, we are dependent on our ability to monetise our services in a fair, predictable and sustainable way. We are reshaping the model that took us this far by seeking new and smarter ways of delivering value to our customers, while applying technology and managing our resources as efficiently as possible. In 2020, we will continue to modernise our infrastructure, enhance the way we work, and institutionalise our utilisation of data to deliver new, relevant services and better customer journeys. We fully support the UNs 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Together with our partners, customers and stakeholders we are raising standards in our operations and supply chain. We are providing access to services and opportunities that help deliver on the UNS Sustainable Development Goals across our markets.

While the strategy is the map for our business, I like to think of our purpose as our ultimate destination. Connecting customers to what matters most. Empowering societies. That is what it is all for. We are a company built on the idea of always exploring, seeking new opportunities and developing smarter ways to bring people, businesses and societies together. And we believe that secure, reliable and efficient connectivity is a fundamental need and the lifeblood of modern societies. This requires continuous improvement on our core services; it requires simpler systems and processes; and it requires us to be even more efficient in how we operate. This is not new to us in Telenor. We have been creating together every day since 1855. And we will continue what Carsten started all those years ago, working to empower societies for the next 165 years and beyond.

– Sigve Brekke

Download Full 2019 Annual Report here