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Kent McNeley

AZERBAIJAN - Telecoms & IT

Embrace the Call

CEO, Azerfon (Nar Mobile Trademark)

Bio

Kent McNeley is the CEO of Azerfon (Nar Mobile Trademark) and has been serving on its Board of Directors and acting as an advisor to the CRA group of companies since 2012. Prior to joining Azerfon, he worked as CEO of Riera Ventures, a worldwide telecommunications and internet consulting firm. He gained experience in Russia and the CIS as Group Chief Marketing Officer of VimpelCom, one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies by subscribers. He previously served as Vice-President and Global Chief Marketing Officer for Eastman Kodak and Vice-President for Client Services and Marketing for Citibank in Puerto Rico and Singapore. He began his career working for Procter & Gamble in the US.

How is Nar Mobile poised to benefit competitively from mobile number portability (MNP), which has just taken effect? Our advantage lies in the exceptional value that we offer to consumers. […]

How is Nar Mobile poised to benefit competitively from mobile number portability (MNP), which has just taken effect?

Our advantage lies in the exceptional value that we offer to consumers. We have continued our efforts to improve and upgrade our network, which in the capital and surrounding areas is extremely strong, and we continue to work on improving it in the adjacent regions as well. Coupled with this solid network, we also have a highly attractive portfolio of tariff plans, which lets consumers find a plan that matches their usage, thus delivering exceptional value. I think that people who have had their numbers for a long time and would like to keep them will be interested in taking a good look at us.

How are your efforts at improving connectivity in rural areas progressing?

In the regions, we have expanded the number of base stations in the network, and are also employing some of the latest technologies in the world to provide better coverage. During 2014, and in particular in 2Q2014, I think that consumers will see the effects of the efforts we have made over the past six to nine months. These new technologies will allow us better control of our radio signal in the base stations, thereby giving us a broader reach. It will also allow us to take advantage of additional base stations.

What progress has Nar Mobile been able to make in terms of increasing its customer base?

I can illustrate this with three facts. The first is that our subscriber base grew by more than 10%, and I am fairly certain that we are the only operator that posted this kind of growth in 2013. Our revenue was also up by roughly 25%, which outpaced the growth of our two competitors combined. Meanwhile, our data traffic, which will increasingly be a key driver of telecoms revenue in the future, saw an increase of 130% in a single year. All three are outstanding indicators of the kind of growth that we have seen and of the number of customers that are already moving to Nar Mobile. That is why we are particularly optimistic as we continue to focus on the fundamentals. We have a great network, and offer real value and customer service. On the customer service side, we have seen a dramatic jump in our customer satisfaction ratings over the past year. This is an area that we are emphasizing and want to improve further.

What initiatives best articulate Nar Mobile’s drive for innovation?

Innovation is not always about the newest product; it is also about providing a set of services and tariffs uniquely. We have simplified our portfolio, meaning that we have six tariffs for voice, within which we can meet any basic needs that consumers might have. If you want a simple price, for everything, then Unique is the tariff for you, because it only costs four kopeck for any domestic call. If you want to talk to many people on the Nar network, we offer an unlimited tariff, which for a few kopecks a day delivers outstanding value. We find that consumers absolutely flock to this tariff, as it is one of the most stable we offer. Beyond tariffs, we announced a truly important initiative at Bakutel, namely Nar Home. With this, we will be enabling a number of services in the home including television, video libraries, home monitoring, and a home network, allowing people in the same home to talk to each other through the set-top box.

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