Brunei boasts one of the most advanced telecommunication industries in South East Asia and as acting chief executive officer See Wei Kie explains, B-Mobile is a company at the heart of an evolving sector.
No doubt boosted by its own wealth, the South East Asian nation of Brunei was one of the first countries within the region to make a concerted effort to deliver up-to-date telecommunications services to its inhabitants, achieving 100 percent digitalisation in 1995. Today the country ranks highly in terms of both telecom service penetration and infrastructure facilities.
Driven by the encouragement of the government, the citizens of Brunei have come to be recognised as great consumers of telecoms services. In 2001, the country’s mobile penetration figure stood at what was an already healthy 32 percent. In the years since this has continued to grow strongly and by the beginning of 2012 had reached 120 percent.
Incorporated in April 2005 and commercially launched in September of that year, B-Mobile became the first provider to offer 3G mobile services in Brunei Darussalam. A joint venture between Telekom Brunei Berhad (TelBru) and QAF Comserve, the company was established as a challenger brand and through its access to resources, expertise, technology and infrastructure it has evolved into a known brand when it comes to telecommunications innovations and discoveries.
“We were the first company of our kind,” explains acting chief executive officer See Wei Kie, “to introduce and offer a comprehensive portfolio of services that included bundled video calls, minutes and SMS.” The bundling of 3G handsets with a mobile line was unprecedented in Brunei at the time, making B-Mobile the first company to introduce handset and wireless broadband in attractive, affordable packages.
In 2008, B-Mobile made further telecommunications history with the launch of Brunei’s first 3.5G service, thus highlighting the premium technology that is mobile broadband. Better known in Brunei as ZOOM! Broadband, the company’s 3.5G service was introduced alongside packages that included free laptops and modems that were provided to those families and individuals who previously could not afford access to mobile broadband. The success of this programme led to the roll out of other plans including Zoom Lite and Zoom Unlimited.
“Over the course of our existence,” Wei Kie continues, “we have strived to introduce innovative, value-added services that complement our customers’ lifestyles. In doing so we have also succeeded in helping the telecommunication industry in Brunei develop, as per the government’s own aspirations.”
Alongside its extensive portfolio of products and services, B-Mobile has also introduced a range of post-paid and pre-paid plans in order to suit the varying needs of its mobile subscribers. “The work we have done over the last few years,” Wei Kie says, “has set an industry benchmark when it comes to finding creative means to serve Brunei’s telecommunication demands.”
B-Mobile puts its success over the years down to one core achievement and that is its ability to satisfy its customers. “B-Mobile’s primary purpose,” Wei Kie enthuses, “is to provide its customers with innovative services, a range of options and better overall value. This has been the case since its first day in existence and it remains so to this day.”
The biggest challenge to this now is how B-Mobile is able to tap into the shifting interests of its customers and how it can continually evolve as a business in what is an ever-changing industry. “As we always have been,” Wei Kie says, “we are committed to maintaining the level of progressiveness that has long been a staple of this business. In moving forward, our aspirations revolve around improving the quality of our service and continuing to provide the types of innovative packages and products that separate us from our competitors.”
Market research has shown that a sizeable majority of B-Mobile’s customers are teenagers and young adults on pre-paid services, users the company would class as being from the ‘younger generation’. “We aim to provide great value when it comes to our pre-paid packages,” Wei Kie states, “and often award bonus credits and similar rewards to our most active pre-paid users as a way of expressing our thanks.”
With B-Mobile targeting young people and professionals as its two main audience demographics, the company recognises that in a world of rapidly evolving technologies, a plethora of opportunities lay ahead for a service provider such as itself. By maintaining a forward-thinking approach to its operations, B-Mobile aims to retain and attract customers in equal measure by offering products that capitalise on the themes of innovation, choice and delivering new experiences.
As a way of growing the business further, B-Mobile has made great strides in recent times to provide its customers with the means to make economical international calls. This strategy first arose when the company identified that the growing number of foreign workers in Brunei was itself creating a demand for corporate entities to communicate increasingly with their international counterparts.
“The vast majority of budget calls,” Wei Kie says, “are currently made through a toll free number and often require access to pay phones or landlines. What we at B-Mobile do is offer cheap international calls through a voice over internet protocol address. This method provides users with the convenience of being able to dial their intended international number from their mobile phone from anywhere, at any time.”
On Sunday 4th November 2012, B-Mobile officially opened its new headquarters in the city of Beribi. This event marks something of a new beginning for the company, with the move being heralded as both a symbolic and strategic undertaking at a time when the focus of B-Mobile now turns to creating a dynamic brand identity, while at the same time gaining more visibility in terms of customer and corporate outreach.
Written by Will Daynes, research by David Brogan