Mobilink, Pakistan: Everyone is unique
Introducing innovative, differentiated and flexible services through the world’s biggest ever charging swap project.
In Pakistan’s competitive telecom market, 98 percent of users are on pre-paid packages. Subscribers often have multiple SIMs and frequently hop from network to network, meaning that for operators, the biggest challenge is encouraging the kind of loyalty that produces significant ARPU.
With this in mind, market leader Mobilink set out on a BSS modernization project to differentiate the types of packages it could provide to its users, introducing Ericsson’s Charging System 5.
Dynamic and flexible
Bilal Sheikh, CCO, Mobilink puts forward the driving forces behind the project: "Over the years we’ve realized that one size really does not fit all, and that to really meet the customer requirements, we have to segment our offers very carefully, in a very well thought through manner. We had grown over the years and really what we needed was a platform as nimble and as dynamic and as flexible as our customer requirements were."
Zero network disruption
The task was an industry milestone, being the biggest charging swap project the industry has ever seen. Despite this, Mobilink had the highest possible expectations, both in terms of turnaround time and network disruption.
Mohsen Tavakol, President & CEO, Ericsson Pakistan sets out the challenge: "It had to be delivered flawlessly because it would affect millions and millions of subscribers. We were not supposed to have a single second of disturbance in the network."
A thorough search of the marketplace led Mobilink to Ericsson, despite the operator’s existing relationships with other vendors. Ramy Reyad, CTO, Mobilink explains why: "We found that Ericsson has the best solution. It gives us what we need in terms of fast time to market, flexible product portfolios and best customer experience. The product has given us cross-bundling, between data and voice, SMS and voice, SMS and data, in an easy and brilliant way: easy to deploy, easy to implement, and easy to design."
Preparations were robust and the project was swift. The actual swap was conducted overnight, on the first attempt, without the need for any reversal. There was zero disruption on the network and no reported user issues. This exceeded expectations, says Ramy Reyad: "End-to-end the project was completed in less than one year. Given the scale of the project and the amount of integration that we had to do, I see this as a very successful and very smooth project."
Don’t reinvent the wheel
Both Mobilink and Ericsson reflect that the key lesson learned was the effectiveness of getting out of customer-supplier mode and working as partners. Ericsson brought in experts from around the world, working with its local team to ensure smoothest possible interaction with the customer side.
Bilal Sheikh reflects on the success: "It was clear to us that Ericsson had done this very well in other markets. We didn’t really have to reinvent the wheel in anything. We were able to gel together as a team, and so together we were able to carry out this transition that is otherwise very challenging in a very smooth way, so we are very satisfied with the outcome."
User interview: Neghai
"I am living in Islamabad, doing a Masters of Business Administration, and I have been a subscriber of Mobilink for the last five years. I’m also a radio DJ, and I use Mobilink’s internet services to search different topics and find different songs.
Mobilink is offering different SMS offers, different GPRS bundles, and different voice services as well. So it’s a very simple and user-friendly network, for sure. And with Mobilink I can get these things sooner than my friends who are on other networks."
Mobilink is Pakistan’s largest cellular operator, serving more subscribers in more locations than any other service provider in the country. Since introducing GSM to Pakistan in 1994, the company has upheld a reputation for innovation in what has become a highly competitive market.
Mobilink is a subsidiary of VimpelCom, a multinational operator with networks across the world. In combination, VimpelCom’s operations make it the sixth largest operator of mobile networks globally.