Telenor Asia (A) : mobile data service
Gilbert, A. Lee
Allampalli, D. G.
Date of Issue2003
College of Business (Nanyang Business School)
Asian Business Case Centre
In late June 2002, B.K. Jole, strategy and business director, Telenor Asia Pte Ltd, was reviewing the firm's positioning in Asia. Entering the Asian market in 1998, Telenor Mobile, the mobile arm of Telenor ASA, Norway, followed a niche investment strategy to acquire controlling stakes in mobile operators in Bangladesh, Thailand and Malaysia. The firm focused on building market shares in each country and maintaining free cash flows for each joint venture. Telenor evaluated each investment opportunity on a stand-alone basis. With varying degrees of deregulation, income distribution, market size and wireless penetration, there was little commonality among markets in Asia. Although Malaysia and Singapore markets were in some ways quite different, their voice and data traffic offered common ground to harness operational synergies and expand, but there were several reasons for concern. Regional markets had undergone dramatic changes in the wake of a long wave of policy reforms and competition had become fierce. New technologies threatened to shorten the economic life of existing infrastructure and consumer preferences appeared to be changing so rapidly that market segmentation was nearly impossible. Concerned about the medium-term outlook for Asia, Jole wondered whether the practice of evaluating Asian markets and opportunities on stand-alone basis would be sustainable. He was reviewing several options that would enhance the market share for DiGi, the joint venture in Malaysia, and thinking through potential market entry choices for Singapore. In the mature Singapore market, Jole could lease capacity and operate as a mobile virtual network operator, establish a joint venture, enter a strategic alliance or simply ignore it. In Malaysia, how could Telenor increase its market share? Would the emerging trend toward mobile data services play a role? And, were these opportunities somehow interlinked? Period covered 2002
© 2003 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.