Interview with the General Director Mr. Mustafa R. Akdogan
Is left apart now the Odyssey of that privatization that was talked so much for it, while for over two years ALBtelecom operates as a private company, part of the Calik group. Albanian experiences in the privatization of strategic sectors have not always been enthusiastic, but besides that a lot has moved in ALBtelecom. The continued expansion of fixe telephony subscribers is associated with that many Albanians had and have it as a weak point, increase of internet access and competitive prices. At least that is what it seems. But what is happening to this company that certainly remains in a monopoly position for its own nature? Could the rates been faster and which are the closer the projects ? A conversation with the General Director Mustafa Resit Akdogan throw more light in this sector, whose importance is multiplied , exactly for the weight that internet takes more and more in our lives, society and economy of a country.
Mr. General director, the privatization of ALBtelecom from "Calik Group was finalized two years ago, after a long period of political and public debates. Can we say now, two years later, that the Albanian consumer is not disappointed by this strategic privatization?
In fact, as you already underlined the privatization of ALBtelecom is realized after such long and difficult period. But immediately after the privatization, thanks to determined strategies, set objectives and designed projects, ALBtelecom has started an active process, fast and dynamic. As a consequence of this perspective and well-defined strategies at the beginner , I think that our individual customers and institutional ones , for each day that passes take pleasure and remain satisfied with the opportunities and services provided by ALBtelecom
Due to the company's monopoly position in fix telephony and Internet lines, was expected that after the privatization to be noticed a significant new expansion of service in these two offers. This in fact has happened: But was it in right velocity? Can you give us some comparative figures?
In fact, before the privatization of ALBtelecom, the offered prices for fix telephony service and for internet service, compared with the interior market in Albania, that of other Balkan countries and other prices of world market, have been really very high. ALBtelecom, as a result of an aggressive marketing strategy and competitive prices in the Internet services market, in a very short time has managed to increase the number of Internet users and has managed to take a leader position in internet service market. Regarding to the tariffs of fix telephony services are applied tariff reduction until 35 percent for calls to international networks, calls to mobile operator and other alternative operators. In particular, the tariffs for calls within the city and between cities are almost the same level. For the first time for our clients we applied unlimited package, which enables them to speak without limit and without taking into account the time of the talking. At this point, I must say that during 2010 in the fix telephony service, we will continue with our offers and the application of tariffs, which will satisfy all our clients and will create to them the opportunity to talk without thinking about costs.
One of the conditions of privatization was the respect of business plans submitted by privatizes, which will be supervised from the Albanian government. Can you tell us what this plan contained and how it is respected?
I have to notice that even before the period of privatization, also during the period of privatization or even after the period of privatization as a group we have collaborated in a suitable and understandable climate with all levels and state institutions. After the privatization of ALBtelecom, we have managed to fulfil and execute in time all the projects, the planning and our responsibilities, which are related with the investments, customer service and telecommunications in general. This is a clear indication of the fulfil of our strategies and of our investigated plans. At this point, in a regularly and continuously way we share information and data, necessary in coordinate way with all state institutions. I believe that this climate of cooperation and coordination between us and institutions in a near future will give good results in the telecommunications sector where we operate. Because as a result of this efficient cooperation, all the groups / levels will continue to receive a quality service without interruption and very economical.
A major and a not fulfil challenge of ALBtelecom was the quality of service support to customers, the speed of receiving this service and that kind of "clientele" that is noticed generally to government companies. How have you passed these problems?
We, as ALBtelecom have adapted as our main principle two important values. Our main principle is the respect and the customer satisfaction of Albanian clients. And secondly, we put a great attention to the valuation of our staff of employees. After taking the duty, we have launched an important project, which involves all our employees. The Project in question is called as "Change and transformation of ALBtelecom. Besides all dimensions and other goals, the project in question has as its own goal the complete transformation of the company's identity and the change of the behaviour that is related to clients. The project has also as goal to improve the service and to increase the efficiency of the structures, which have continuous communication with our customers and that affect in the further improvement of services provided by us as ALBtelecom.
What has happened with employees of the company? Where there any dismiss or any additional personnel; is he trained to meet the challenges of technology? What about the salaries? And finally, what are the opportune of an employee to make a career in ALBtelecom?
As I mentioned in the above question, one of two principles and our main values as investors is the valuation of our employees. In this context, for our current staff we have taken all the necessary and concrete steps to improve the working conditions, their personal rights, salaries and social security situation. But during the year 2009, we were obligated to interrupt the relation with some of our staff. And at this point, has been essential for us the creation of an ALBtelecom, that would be more dynamic, more efficient and more good management. Also we have had as a priority the creation of the opportunities for young people in Albania. From this point of view I can say that after privatization we have taken to our team about 150 new staff under 30 years old. Even during the year 2010 this will be our motto ,in recruiting new staff.
To tell the truth for some time, was said that the company was privatized to be resell again, that was disproved in an exclusive interview for the Klan magazine ,by Mr. Ahmet Calik . Why do you think these gossips came out and what is your answer today?
Inside your question is also a part of the response of the issue that you bring to the attention. Concerning to this issue, the attitude of the President of "Calik Group “ Mr. Ahmet Calik and my statements in some media have been clear and there is no doubt that we have no such plans in the short term, midterm or long term future. We have come here to be permanent, to stay and according to this we are extremely pleased that we are here. Same as you, we follow with surprise and wonder the malicious gossips about this topic.
A question about the quality and the aesthetic of the infrastructure, because they are visible to the eyes of the citizens thousands of cable lines that are stretch across our cities and quarters: Can you settle them? Competence of whom they are; does it need the collaboration with local government?
Concerning this issue about the current situation, I can say that we had the full support of relevant institutions and also plans and projects, which are implemented. I believe and am convinced that until the second half of 2010 will have some important changes. With the Investments that are performing in a good part of our network, especially to provide modern services of telecommunications and I want to accentuate this part, this view that you describe in your question, shall automatically be eliminated and will find permanent solutions. In the future our customers will receive a better service, based on a very contemporary and modern infrastructure.
Can you tell us some details about your collaboration with rural fix telephony operators, how does it work?
We, as ALBtelecom have collaboration and relations with operators, which operate and provide various services in rural areas. These relations are in a very good stage. We, as operator, with a significant impact on the telecommunications market, have taken every necessary step to liberalization, the open to competition and the liberation of this sector. And in the future will continue to stand by this commitment. We are aware that competition is the main factor and component that holds satisfactory levels of the telecommunications sector and lead it towards further growth and the improvement of the quality. But also it is very important to have equal rights and conditions.
Which are the projects and the offers that you are preparing lately?
During this period, on top of all projects is the growth of internet services wideband (broadband) for our customers and the offer of the additional value services. In particular way, we are working with all the possible capacity and our ability to conclude and move Albania in the right position that belongs to her in this Internet era. Also I must add that what has to do with internet service, the goal and perspectives determined by the Albanian Government and Prime Minister Mr. Sali Berisha, of course increases more our responsibility. Beyond this, we are working on many projects like e-government, e-business, satellite services, multimedia phone, music-video works in web, triple applications. These projects will be completed in the first and second part of the year 2010 and our customers will be able to receive these services.
Few words for the curiosity of the readers: Who is Mustafa Resit Akdogan?
I was born on the year 1974 in Ankara / Turkey. After completing the studies at Istanbul Technical University, I attended Master studies and also I have completed doctoral studies. I started professional career at Turk Telekom. Starting from the position of engineer at Turk Telekom, I followed my professional career in different positions and tasks in national and international projects. Then I continued my career in an important position at the “Cable and Satellite Turk Televisions” company that is called Turksat. Before my engagement in ALBtelecom, I have worked as General Director at the Digital Broadcasting Company Radio / TV that is called "Anten ", created as collaboration between the Turkish government and national and local operators in Turkey. Mean while from June of 2008 I’m working at ALBtelecom. During my career I had as a main feature of my work the efficiency, the discipline and the insistence.
"KLAN" magazine 21/11/2009