Interviews

Taimur Rahman, Chief Corporate & Regulatory Affairs Officer Banglalink

Taimur Rahman gained his MBA from Institute of Business Administration, Dhaka University in 2001, and his B.Sc. in electronics engineering from Assumption University, Thailand in 1995. Before joining Banglalink, Taimur held the role of Regulatory Affairs Director at Grameenphone and before that he held senior positions in Strategy, Account Management and Technical roles in companies such as Ericsson, Motorola and Alcatel. While working in these multinational organizations, he has obtained various technical and leadership related training. In Motorola, Taimur had also been posted for some time in Swindon, UK for a particular project related to 3G sales support.On 16 February 2014, Taimur became a part of the Banglalink team.
The telephone companies have brought a significant change in the way society operates now. With the rise of the Telco we are now taking a better step towards digitalization and enjoying the benefits of their far-reaching impact on social and economic changes.
To discuss further about the prospects of this industry, ICE Business Times talked to Taimur Rahman, Head of GRA, Banglalink who gave us some valuable aspects of the industry that we should look forward to.

“A simple internet connection on a smartphone does not just connect people over a great distance; it also empowers a farmer with crucial knowledge on how to save his crops.”

The telecommunication sector has totally changed our communication paradigm and helped the economy progress as well. How do you evaluate the economic impact of this industry?
The industry makes significant contributions to government’s finances, accounting for roughly 6.6% of the country’s total tax revenues. Besides these prime contributions, according to “Economic Impact: Bangladesh Mobile Industry – GSMA” published in 2017, the industry can contribute up to $17bn and create direct or indirect job opportunity for more than 820,000 people by2020 if enabling policies are adopted for the operators. Also a study by GSMA and World Bank suggests that 1% increase in penetration in mobile could lead to increase in GDP growth rate of 0.28% and 1% increase in internet penetration can increase GDP growth rate by 0.077%.

What are the positive changes that you’ve seen in our country through the growth of the Telecom industry?
Voice and eventually internet connectivity has redefined the lives of many. It has from the very beginning changed the way we connect, learn, and share and in overall the everyday livelihood of people. Banglalink has over time reached the bottom of the pyramid population with mobile connectivity by making it affordable for all, something that was not achieved by the leading innovators in the industry. The dream of Digital Bangladesh is deeply embedded into the telecom industry as mobile internet serves 93.6% of all internet users as reported by BTRC in June 2017. There is an immense social impact of that. A simple internet connection on a smartphone does not just connect people over a great distance; it also empowers a farmer with crucial knowledge on how to save his crops. It has a profound effect on education, healthcare agriculture, information services and financial inclusion.

What are your thoughts on the manpower in this sector?
From grooming the next generation of tech-savvy, ethical and socially responsible corporates to developing technical skills of on-site engineers, the telecom industry is immensely contributing to the development and the empowerment of country’s thriving workforce. As I mentioned earlier according to the GSMA report, the industry can create direct or indirect job opportunities for 820,000 people by2020 if a supportive environment is created for the industry.

What is the next step for Banglalink?
Banglalink believes the future is digital and it is always catering its customers to provide superior services as they step in the digital world. Technology has transformed our lifestyle and ultimately has made everything much easier and faster. As our mobile markets are shifting from voice to data, we believe many lifestyle services also have to move on to a digital dimension as well. Banglalink aims to enable its customers to get the best out of the digital future and to create a true digital ecosystem in providing products that suit the demands of customers.

“The industry can create direct or indirect job opportunities for 820,000 people by 2020 if a supportive environment is created for the industry.”

How are you helping other industries in Bangladesh through the work you’re doing in your industry?
Telecom has wide-ranging impacts with spill over effects on other industries. From infrastructure to content creation for direct consumption, telecom lies in a grand ecosystem. We have been pursuing the digital frontier head-on with people-centric ideas that also promote micro-entrepreneurship, self-empowerment, and creativity. Eventually, our contribution is having a greater impact on the overall economy, particularly on GDP.

What is your plan?
Society is getting more and more digitalized every day, and people are gradually adapting to this form of life. There is an organic shift towards a more enabling digital life where healthcare, education and financial inclusion will be brought into the palm of everyone’s hands. This organic demand’s needs will bring customers to the doors of 4G. Banglalink has always been on the forefront, regarding the introduction of latest technologies and serving the needs of our customers. We believe that offering digital services is the path to the future and 4G technology is the key to enable us to offer these services. Thus we are preparing ourselves for the digital age where we can provide customers the best of ground-breaking services. We are not binding ourselves to digital services only, but we are expanding our footprints to more inclusive digital areas. We have recently launched e-shop for the convenience of our customers and also launched the country’s first ever digital reality show “The Next Tuber.” These are the few samples of what is to come next. We are committed to offering the best in 4G to ensure digital inclusion and a meaningful digital life for all. We look forward to launching 4G as we continue to transform our networks to make it affordable for our customers and help reduce the digital divide.

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