Changing pace: Gearing up for a digital shift

The digital revolution started with the Internet and continued with the smartphone. The data power we carry around in our pockets used to only fit in a mid-sized warehouse. Smartphones have deeply impacted our way of life. With new capabilities and new technology, we will continue our change journey.

There is no way back. Nobody is untouched. It is almost incredible that just ten years ago, our phones were primarily used for talking. Glance over your shoulder on the bus, and you realize that time has passed: the device most of us keep in our hands for large parts of our day is much more than a phone. For many youth, it’s hardly a device for actual talking.

Telenor has been an enabler of the digital revolution. We have brought this massive change to the market through fast and reliable mobile networks, and solutions tailored to customers’ needs. We’re proud of that. Simultaneously, we’re under no illusion that what brought us here will singlehandedly continue to carry us forward. When the phone has become smart, we need to become even smarter.

Digital services can be “the new oil”

While fossil-fueled and conventional economies are floundering, the digital industries are experiencing renewed growth. In Norway, large companies like Telenor, Schibsted, Opera and DNB have an important role and a key responsibility. But new innovations are flourishing from start-ups and entrepreneurial ventures. In Norway, companies like Kahoot, Zeneta and Dirtybit are shaping conversations around digital opportunities in their fields. In Asia we see a host of exciting innovations adapted to mass-market needs and increasingly tech-savvy users, spanning from a digitally leapfrogging Myanmar to already hyper-connected Singapore. And while the US remains an important hotbed for digital innovation, the field is broadening. When some of the world’s – and Norway’s – best talents are moving out from mining and petroleum, they should look to the digital sector. That’s where we are shaping the future, today. Not for the ICT industry, but for all industries. Nobody is untouched.

Fueled by knowledge, expertise and innovation

Telenor aims to be a digital frontrunner, taking a clear lead in developing and adapting new technology. This is how we’ve expanded into new markets so far, and that’s how we will continue. Today, Telenor represents 1/5 of Norwegian service exports. We believe in not only increasing our share of the pie; we want to make that pie much bigger. Telenor today has more than 30,000 employees and 200 million customers. Our most important task moving forward is to deploy our knowledge, expertise and innovation to develop digital services people want and need, and that businesses and society really need. That’s when digital services can hope to become a new engine for growth and prosperity.

Empowering the many, not just the few

Some are concerned that the digitization of societies will adversely affect employment and welfare. In Telenor, we think differently. By helping bring Internet for All, and by developing relevant and essential digital services, we can help improve and empower societies. We can contribute significantly to greener and more sustainable communities, using connected devices and advanced control systems to reduce energy consumption at home, at work and in the public space. We can help extend access to financial services, digital healthcare and education to people in countries like Myanmar, India and Bangladesh. We can utilize big data and analytics to support research and development, as we do in Pakistan where Telenor together with local authorities and Harvard University is mapping and potentially limiting the spread of diseases like dengue fever.

Customers’ favorite partner in digital life

A large share of our lives is now connected. Telenor wants to continue playing a key role in our customers’ digital life, beyond providing fast mobile coverage and great subscription packages. Our ambition is that our mobile customers of the future will also be our most important users of digital services. We see the outline of this with our own services like, Capture and WowBox, and it’s why we are increasing our competence within digital marketing and analytics through the acquisition of Tapad. This is just the beginning.

We’re deeply ingrained in the markets we operate; we are part of and partners to the communities we serve. Norway is our most important test lab for new global services, but we also test services and solutions in markets such as Bangladesh or Montenegro before deploying broadly.

Telenor has been part of every major technology shift since the telegraph. We’re changing pace now to take a leadership role in the digital shift in the societies we serve. To enable, accelerate and empower.