Meet WowBox, a Telenor start-up

Telenor has several start-ups within our own organization, among them is WowBox. They launched in Bangladesh roughly one year ago. Since then, they have also launched in Pakistan, and currently boast around 2.5 million monthly users.

Written: Nov 2016

June Trondsen, a UX Designer in the WowBox team in Norway, explains what their product is, and what it is like being a start-up in a big company like Telenor.

What is WowBox, and what do you offer customers?

WowBox is an app, or more like a portal, where we gather lots of local content for Telenor customers in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Customers can explore and engage with digital services and content. The content includes news, entertainment articles, weather updates, joke of the day and different deals. All of this content is zero-rated, meaning that Telenor customer will not be charged for the data consumption when using WowBox.

So what makes WowBox unique?

It’s a platform that lowers the barriers for users to access the internet. Additionally WowBox is aiming to enrich the lifestyle to our users, by giving them access to various information and the opportunity to engage and educate themselves through the app. We give the customers locally adapted and engaging content. In addition, customers also have an easy and convenient way of purchasing additional data packages, instead of memorizing SMS codes and other inconvenient ways to buy top-ups. As an added bonus, they receive tokens, like bonus points, when they buy data packages in the app, which can be used to redeem gifts such as exclusive token data packages.

What are the greatest assets of being a Telenor-owned start-up?

I think that has to be all the people in the organization, with a wide array of knowledge areas, like our Research department, technical experts, marketing professionals, and of course the local staff in Bangladesh and Pakistan. This pool of skilled professionals is invaluable for a start-up. Another, quite obvious, advantage is the financial strength and capital Telenor provides, which is essential for any start-up.

… but there must be drawbacks, too?

Like in most organizations, there are always some challenges, and having employees in three different markets across several time zones adds a different dimension of challenges. More generally, as start-up, we want to run fast, and this can be challenging in a big corporation like Telenor, with some presence of red tape and bureaucracy. Ideas and new ventures have to be aligned with the company’s overall strategy, a process that can take some time.