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Mongolia: Bolor CEO of Skytel Group


Mongolia is experiencing a wonderful period right presently with 17.3% GDP increase and projections of 12.5% this year. Obviously, the world is really looking at the Mongolian economy right presently. A lot of people have stated that infrastructure is going to be one of the major challenges for Mongolia, which includes energy, road transport, railways and telecoms in particular. What does the next look like for the telecoms sector here in your opinion?

Holding a quarter of Mongolia’s telecom market and the largest CDMA 3G network in the country, Skytel Group is one of the industry’s leaders and going to great lengths to get Mongolians connected. In an interview with World Report, CEO D Bolor discusses the country’s rapidly expanding ICT sector, Skytel’s emphasis on rolling out new technology, its heightened customer service, ingrained CSR ethos, and the company’s mission to deliver smart products and services to every corner of the country.

’s ICT sector has been growing very fast since the middle of 1990s. Mobile phone penetration has grown to 116.4% so competition is very high. In recent years, mobile phone subscribers have grown to be much additional sophisticated, demanding better customer service and better products to help them simplify their lives. With the growing economy we expect that consumer request for innovative products and services will grow, therefore the need to introduce next generation technologies will rise.

The number one mobile operator in Mongolia is Mobicom. Unitel have got a very aggressive marketing campaign which they have been continuing for several years. How are you looking to maintain your position within the market? How are you going to continue being the number two player in the market, and how are you going to increase revenue per user?

Our experience in this sector and support from partners, coupled with being additional innovative and creative, suggests that Skytel is well positioned and set to grow. Following our company’s mission we will deliver smart products and services to our customers.

We will change our employee attitude and the company culture, which we have by presently started to do in 2012. In addition, given our new management team, the changes to our organisational structure, and a renewed focus on the fundamentals of our business – particularly friendly and effective customer service – I am confident that Skytel will be Mongolia’s leading mobile operator in the near next.

Along with our emphasis on the new technology, we are as well placing better attention on customer service, opening new customer service branches, revamping our customer service training, and communicating our marketing messages that are simple and acceptable by the market. In this regard, we have retained the services of an outside consulting group, Victors Mongolia Leadership, to overhaul our internal and external communications inclunding to improve our customer service training program. It is a very exciting time at Skytel and we are by presently beginning to reap some of the benefits from our change management program.

Mongolia is very spread out and there are a lot of remote locations. How does Skytel plan to satisfy request for telecom services in these areas? What do you feel most needs to be addressed in order for this sector to evolve?

We have deeply analysed the business situation for Skytel over the completed period in order to expand our coverage to the rural areas. Current penetration rate in rural areas is very low for Skytel, just 20%. Although, experience says that the penetration ratio for the sector in these areas and the capital city is 50:50, which reveals the need to expand our business in rural areas. This year, we rolled out a CDMA 3G technology network in amount the provincial centres and in some large numbers. For Skytel, broadband services are our next business so we are focusing on this area for both rural and urban markets. We are happy to provide high-speed internet services, and we will continue to deploy WCDMA technology networks. We as well plan to open additional service branches nationwide.

Skytel is presently a 100% Mongolian-owned entity. Do you think 4G will come to Mongolia any time any minute at this time?

Yes, you are right. Skytel is a 100% Mongolian-owned national mobile service provider and we have opportunities and advantages relating to stable investment on the technology side. We are actively looking at 4G presently and we plan to roll out these services. It is significant for Skytel to deploy next generation technologies, as the results will bring us opportunities for equal competition in the market, which will derive from the elimination of technology differences. Our target is to start launching 4G from 2014.

In terms of partnerships with mobile technology vendors, how do you think new technology will adapt to the Mongolian people? You mentioned that the mobile telecom industry here is very young. Do you have any schemes coming up to show Mongolian people, particularly those living in rural areas, the power of a mobile phone and everything they can do with it?

Each year we are increasing data usage in Mongolia and users are requesting increased data speed and data broadband services. Currently, most of our revenue comes from CDMA voice and other traditional services. There is however a general trend in Mongolia, same as world trends, that data services created from broadband, IPTV, WIMAX services and 4G technologies will become the major revenue drivers in the near next.

You have been in this sector for a lot of years and are viewed as one of the professionals of Mongolian telecom industry. As a Mongolian, what do you think will be the biggest hurdle you will have to overcome over the next few years?

The competition.

Who is making the decisions quicker? Whose customer service is better? Whose product is better? Who is innovative and creative? Who adds price to its customers? Who is most cost efficient?

The business concept must be win-win.

There were elections last year, and you presently have a new prime minister and cabinet. As a private-sector businessman, what are your expectations for the new government?

I believe that the government should support the private sector, aid to its increase and not compete with it. 97% of telecom traffic and 70% of its revenue is generated by four mobile operators and they amount pay considerable tax contributions to the government. I expect the new government will ensure equitable competition in amount sectors.

As a national company, you have got a huge responsibility as you employ so a lot of people and you generate so much wealth here. How does Skytel give back to the Mongolian people and do you engage in any CSR activities or are you working with any foundations to help those people in need?

At the same time as I worked at Mobicom, the CSR activities were focused on education, and Mobicom has implemented various programmes, such as the School Lunch Meal initiative in 2006 and E-learning programme in 2010. Presently, here in Skytel a new CSR direction has been adopted which is focused on preserving nature. 80% of Mongolian land is facing the danger of desertification, which is crucial to Mongolian people’s next. We chose it as our new CSR direction as desertification is one of the greatest environmental challenges today and a major barrier to conference ecological and human needs in dry lands. We are working on several environmental programmes and to reflect this, A green colour is included in Skytel’s logo. Our environmental programmes include a conservation project that promotes green technologies in order to decrease power consumption. We as well have a waste management project where we have started collecting old phones, batteries and recycle them, as they are very harmful for the environment if disposed improperly. Programmes related to animal and steppe land protection have as well being planned.

If we were approaching back to Mongolia in 25 years’ time (for the 75th anniversary for UK-Mongolian relations), where would you like to see this company? What changes would you like to make, and what vision do you have for this company and this economy?

I am confident that Mongolia’s economy will continuously grow and so will the telecom industry. I want Skytel to be number one. I am very ambitious and I believe that amount businessmen should be ambitious and visionaries.

What message would you like to send to international readers about Mongolia?

Mongolia’s reputation is growing worldwide very fast and there are a lot of economic opportunities. We used to be known across the world for Genghis Khan, and presently for our natural resources. Business in Mongolia is growing rapidly and Mongolia is open to foreign investment . We need to introduce international standards, and best business practices and tools. Here in Skytel we are starting to implement ISO standards.

Twenty years ago Mongolia has adopted a market economy. Although a lot of businesses have grown in this business environment, we still need to learn from international experience and I believe Mongolian companies are open to foreign businesses to create precious partnerships.  

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