Internship Recruitment at Banglalink
In 1989, Sheba Telecom (Pvt.) Ltd. a joint venture of Bangladesh-Malaysia was granted license to operate in the rural areas of 199 upazilas. Upon obtaining GSM (Global System for Mobile) license in 1996 it expands its business to cellular mobile and radio telephone services. Suddenly in July, 2004 it was reported that Egypt based Orascom Telecom is set to purchase the TRI’s (Technology Resources Industry, Malaysian partner) shares in Sheba for US$25 million as Sheba had failed to keep the business potentials in Bangladesh due to disagreements between two partners. This purchase agreement was undercover as the joint venture agreement between ISL (Integrated Services Ltd., Bangladeshi partner) and TRI dictates that if any party sells its Sheba shares, the other party will enjoy the first right to buy that. Later on, Orascom could not finish the deal rather ISL pays the US$25 million and bought the 100% ownership of Sheba.
However, in September, 2004 Orascom Telecom Holdings bought 100% ownership of Sheba Telecom with 59,000 user base for US$60 million. Afterwards in February, 2005 it was rebranded and launched its services under the “Banglalink” brand with nationwide 15 years GSM license.
Since Banglalink’s launch in February 2005, its impact was felt immediately. Overnight mobile telephony became an affordable option for customers across a wide range of market segments.
Banglalink’s success was based on a simple mission:
“bringing mobile telephony to the masses”
This was the cornerstone of its strategy. With this mission on hand Banglalink changed the mobile phone status from luxury to a necessity and brought mobile telephone to the general people of Bangladesh thus making a place in their hearts. The mobile phone has become the symbol for the positive change in Bangladesh.
The mission that is quite correctly attributed to Banglalink, has become the corporate positioning of Banglalink and is translated in their slogan “making a difference” or “din bodol”. This slogan is not only applicable in the telecom industry, but also every other aspects through its products and services, to the lives of its customers. This corporate stance of “making a difference” has been reflected in everything Banglalink does.
The telecom industry is fully saturated with different mobile operators. To keep hold of the market position and match with changing wave strategically, Banglalink has changed its slogan to “start something new” in October 4, 2013. The slogan was backed by the launch of 3G (third generation) mobile network.
In April 2011, again there has been a change in the ownership of Banglalink. Previously it was fully owned by telecom venture Orascom Telecom Holding (now, known as Global Telecom Holding) but as of the date Vimpelcom Ltd. bought 51.92% shares of banglalink digital communications limited. Vimpelcom is one of the world’s largest integrated telecommunications services operators providing voice and data services through a range of traditional and broadband mobile and fixed technologies in Russia, Italy, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Uajikistan, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Algeria, Pakistan, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Central African Republic, Canada and Bangladesh. Vimpelcom is headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and listed as an ad on the New York stock exchange under the symbol “vip”.
Vision of Banglalink
‘To understand people’s needs best and develop appropriate communication services to improve people’s lives and make it simple’ – the strategic vision is developed with a purpose to saturate the whole telecom market. Make telephony available to mass people. Day by day Banglalink is expanding its business, establishing new networks, and connecting people thus building breezes towards successful vision.
Mission of Banglalink
Mission is a set of targets or tasks those are set by the organizational heads according to the market need and structure. Employees pursue those set of targets in order to sustain and compete in the market.
Latest set of responsibilities of Banglalink are:
- Achieve a leading position in the Bangladesh mobile market in terms of net additions and ARPM (Average Revenue Per Minute)
- Segmented approach in terms of products and services
- Delivering superior benefits in every purchase of the customers’ experience (before, during and after sale)
- Creating optimum shareholder value
Banglalink has built four core values from the very beginning of their journey. From then to the end it encourages its employees to cultivate and carry forward the values into their day to day activities.
Banglalink attained one million subscribers within ten months of its operation and three million subscribers in October 2006. In less than two years which is by December 2007, Banglalink overtook aktel (now named as Robi) to become the second largest operator in Bangladesh with more than 7.1 million customers. Banglalink currently has 27.07 million subscribers as of June 2013, representing a market share of 25.7%.
Banglalink’s growth over the preceding years have been fuelled with innovative products and services targeting different market segments, aggressive improvement of network quality and dedicated customer care, creating an extensive distribution network across the country, and establishing a strong brand that emotionally connected customers with Banglalink.
Market Share based on Subscribers
The telecom industry of Bangladesh is saturated over four key players. Grameen Phone, Banglink, Robi and Airtel. The rest two Citycell and Tele Talk both have minimum market shares. In terms of sustaining in the market along with the position hold companies need to follow both aggressive and defensive marketing mechanism. The chart below will give a brief idea about the market share of the companies present.
Products and Packages of Banglalink
Banglalink currently offers one plan for all packages. Connections are provided through GPRS and all connections are standardize (T&T incoming and outgoing with NWD and ISD).
(1) Banglalink Play: The package is especially designed for the young generation. To keep connected the package offers 16 fnf to all operators, the best rate 4.17 paisa/10 sec to a special banglalink number.
(2) Banglalink Desh: It is one of the oldest packages still offered by banglalink and is available in the market. The package was launched with a slogan “Ek Desh Ek Rate”. It has 3 fnf facility to any operator.
(3) Banglalink Desh Hello: The name confers that it was redesigned from the desh package according to the market demand. It gives the lowest tariff with 4.17 paisa/10 secin one banglalink number and 10 paisa/10 sec in other operators.
(4) Banglalink Desh Ek Rate: “Ek Rate” means constant rate. The package comes with 18.5 paisa/10 sec to any operator including banlglalink.
(5) Banglalink Desh Ek Rate Darun: Only the call rate was changed in this package. Instead of 18.5 paisa in ‘desh ek rate’ it is 14 paisa/10 sec in this package.
(6) Banglalink Desh 7 fnf: It has 7 fnf facility, with lowest call rate 10 paisa/10 sec. But the call rate change with different time slot.
(7) Banglalink Desh 10 fnf: To accommodate large friend list banglalink presents this 10 fnf pack. Customers can enjoy 4.5 paisa/10 sec to a especial banglalink number and as low as 9 paisa/10 sec to other operator
(8) 1 second pulse: The package charge only 2 paisa/ sec. This is introduced with the concept of customers will only pay as much as they talk.
(9) Manik Jor: It is a peer sim pack. Which means customers need to buy two sims together to activate this service. Within those two numbers customers can talk at a very low tariff. The numbers are sequential of this pack. For example if one number has 23 in its last digit the other number will have 21 or 24 in its last digit.
Banglalink segmented their post-paid package into three criteria- i) for personal use ii) for business use iii) for corporate clients
(1) Banglalink Inspire: Banglalink inspire brings special new features for post-paid subscribers with remarkably low call rates, along with the lots of fnf numbers and many other services and facilities. One can also reduce mobile expenses through loyalty discount program. The monthly loyalty discount amount is calculated based on customer’s length of stay with banglalink and usage per month.
(2) Banglalink SME: Banglalink sme package offers attractive tariffs and a complete package customized to suit the needs of small and medium enterprises. The package is designed such a way to flourish customers business by minimizing cost.
(3) Banglalink Call & Control: This package comes with the benefits of post-paid packages but the usage patterns are most likely of pre-paid. Unlike other post-paid packages in this package customers need to recharge certain amount to actively use the sim.
ICON is a premium telecom brand in Bangladesh. The package is designed only for those customers who are very high users. Generally the minimum criteria to own the package is to expend 3500tk. Per month. This package have carry forward facility of all monthly freebies such as Minutes, SMS, Data and ISD talk time for 1 month or bill cycle. For example, if a customer uses 2000 minutes out of 3000 in February, for March, s/he will have free minutes of 4000 (3000 regular + 1000 carried forward). The ICON users get extra facilities in different aspects. Such as there are discount offers in hotels, airways, resorts, restaurents, mobile phones etc.
Services of Banglalink
Banglalink services include 3G, VAS (value added services), banglalink internet, international roaming and mobile financial services. Among all these services below the first two will be discussed and the MFS will be coered next.
3G is the third generation mobile telecomunication technology which is faster and advanced than 2G technology. Recently banglalink has launched the service and covered the main districts which are Dhaka, Comilla, Chittagong, Barishal, Bogra, Khulna, Gazipur, Tangi, Munshiganj, Mymensingh, Narayanganj, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Sylhet,Tangail. Sooner the coverage will spread to the whole country. With 3G connections customers can browse faster than before, can do video call, there is also mobile TV service available in the service. To accumulate the 3G service customers do not need to change their sim card only they have to dial to *5000#.
Banglalink has divided the value added services into three measures; information based serives, entertainment based services, call management services.
Information based VAS are: wikipediazero, facebook on ussd, krishi news, travel guide, bibaholink, jobs link, islamic service, banglalink krishibazaar, banglalink emergency, blood bank, healthlink, banglalink jigyasha, i´info, railway junction, yellow pages, sms (text, quotes & jokes …), international sms, namaz alert.
To enhance the power of knowledge Banglalink provides the wikipediazero service for free. Now, customers can visit m.wikipedia.org or zero.wikipedia.org for free and can know whatever they want to. In addition to this service if customers use their handset’s default facebook browser to only browse facebook they won’t be charged for data usage.
Entertainment based VAS are: banglalink local radio, priyo tune, bbc bangle, banglalink timer sms, friend finder, amar tune, song dedication, power menu, music station, voice portal, ring tones, logos, picture messages.
Call management VAS are: banglalink easy divert, voice message, call block, call me back, missed call alert, conference call.
Corporate Social Responsibility of Banglalink
Banglalink is committed to play its role as a responsible corporate citizen to contribute in making a difference in the socio-economic development of Bangladesh. The company undertakes several projects each year for the welfare of community and preservation of the environment. Banglalink social activities include the following initiatives:
Cox’s bazar sea beach cleaning project and international coastal cleanup day
Since 2005, Banglalink has been cleaning world’s longest sea beach, Cox’s bazar. Under this project, 26 female workers clean the 3 km long beach 363 days a year in 2 shifts. In addition to that there is another team of 7 male workers who support to move all heavy dirt and rubbish from the beach. Banglalink has been truly making a difference in preventing environmental pollution at Cox’s bazar beach and preserving the environment. Moreover, Banglalink is educating and generating awareness among the visiting tourists and encouraging them to join hands in making a difference. Also, Banglalink observes ‘international coastal cleanup day’ since 2005. Almost 500 volunteers from prominent universities, colleges and different organizations from Dhaka, Chittagong and Cox’s bazaar joins hands to clean the beach-which makes this the largest voluntary initiative. Through this initiative, Banglalink seeks to make positive change and promote water pollution prevention efforts.
Donating blankets at orphanages
Since 2009, to help underprivileged children, Banglalink has taken this special initiative to distribute blankets among the orphan children of many orphanages around the country- which are in great need for it during winter season. In 2013 Banglalink distributed 5,000 blankets among the destitute children of 101 orphanages across the country. The districts covered were- Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Barisal, Narayanganj, Mymensingh, and Tangail.
Special arrangements for hajj pilgrims at the hajj camp
Since 2009, Banglalink took several initiatives to provide free services to hajj pilgrims at hajj camp where they gather to depart for hajj. This includes arranging air-conditioned busses for pilgrims, water distribution zone, phone counter for making free phone calls, free charging units etc.
Water and Date distribution and iftar at orphanage during Ramadan
Banglalink distributed free water and dates for the fasting people who got stranded at major traffic points of selected metro cities around iftar time during ramadan. This social activitu is been introduced from recent years. Banglalink also took initiative of arranging regular iftar and dinner in different orphanages around the country. In 2011, the company provided water and dates to almost 85,000 people and iftar and dinner for more than 12,000 orphans of 123 orphanages across the country.
ICT support for underprivileged children: computer lab set up
To remove the curse of illiteracy from society and to enlighten the students, Banglalink has successfully set up computer labs in 270 underprivileged schools at different parts of the country in 2011. The computer labs are equipped with pc, laptop, internet modem, multimedia projector, speakers and microphone. This is how Banglalink is making difference and in the process aiding the government in achieving its vision of ’digital Bangladesh’.
The intern recruitment session is based on 2 step process. Both the stages are one to one interview based. However, the HR department personnel take the first interview and if one passes the first session s/he is called to attend the second interview with the team members in which interns will be working.
22 interns were selected at the time of my internship and they were assigned in different departments. On the first day of internship Banglalink HR team gives a whole day orientation session to the interns. On the day two sessions took place. First, the introductory part consists of the company overview and the history of it. Secondly, ice breaking session with the other interns and also talking about the work responsibilities side by side the entry procedures were conducted.
I fortunately got the opportunity to work as an intern in the marketing department under the mobile financial services (MFS) unit. The official date of joining was 22nd of January, 2014.
As the advanced internship program of Banglalink is a 3 months contractual agreement the official date of exit was 22nd of April, 2014.
Working hour, location and reporting
The working days were from Sunday to Tuesday. However, In terms of any political unrest situation the interns did not need to come to the office even if s/he lives near the office.
However, the working hours in Banglalink are very flexible. Employees need to come to the office before 10:00AM and starting from their punch in time they need to be in the office for nine hours including one hour lunch time. But sometimes for work pressure or attending to meeting employees and interns also need to stay to the office to assist the task ahead. My duty was at the Banglalink head office situated in Gulshan-1, which is mostly known as ‘Tiger’s Den’.
However, my line manager was Rashed Hasan, Manager of MFS unit and my supervisor was Laila Farzana, Senior Executive of MFS unit. I reported to her during my internship program.
Apart from the working schedule Banglalink has a very unique system of holidays for employees. They call it as ‘bridge holiday’. For example: if for some occasion Monday is holiday then counting Friday and Saturday as government holiday Banglalink announces Sunday as a bridge holiday. And this holiday is mandatory for all the employees.
Marketing Department of Banglalink
The Marketing team consists of several units, which includes PR & Communications, VAS, Loyalty & Retention and International Roaming and Mobile Financial Services. The teams all report to Omer Rashid, the Marketing Director.
The Loyalty & Retention team is responsible for the designing of the special offers launched from time to time in an attempt either to increase customer base or to increase ARPU. The VAS division is responsible for the continuously adding valuable services to provide a complete solution to existing customers, for example, for making conference calling & ring tone/logo downloads possible. These two teams together are in charge of making the customers experience with our network more satisfying.
PR & Communication is responsible for designing and developing all promotional materials for the marketing of any new product/package and any other activities. They coordinate and work directly with the advertising agency and other vendors. While other companies have an entire department for promotions and branding, at Banglalink™ this division, consisting of only a handful of people is responsible for this task.
Mobile Financial Services unit consists of four members. This team is fully responsible for the mobile banking services-which is an arising market in the economy.
Purpose of the Job
The job assigned to me was to give a clear idea of the existing market conditions of mobile financial services and to search for scopes in the market. On a daily basis how many revenue the MFS unit is generating in comparison to other operators. The data resources helped unit members to interpret the numbers and make exact strategic move in the market. In addition to this as mobile financial services are completely aligned with the banks involved the data resources helped to keep track of sales records from Banglalink’s end to avoid any discrepancy with the partners involved in business.
The specific work responsibilities those were given to me are described in detailed below:
Dashboard is an excel file where all the MFS records- number of transactions, value of transactions, gross revenue, net revenue, cash-in, cash-out, number of registrations to wallet etc. are recorded. This was my primary or priority task. The task needed to be done on a daily basis. Every day morning I needed to update these files from different resources over internet.
The websites I used to download these files are; mobiquity server, DBBL (Dutch Bangla Bank Ltd.) server. The access information of these sites was given to me. ‘Mobiquity’ is Banglalink’s intranet server where every MFS transaction related details were saved.
Furthermore, to update the Dutch Bangla Mobile Banking details such as, cash-in, cash-out, registration, third party (cash-in/out, registration) etc. we used DBBL website.
It was not only downloading the files. Downloading the files was the first phase. After the download, processing phase stars. Hereby I used ‘pivot table’ and ‘vlookup’ formula and other excel methods to find out the transaction numbers and values to fill up the table array (follow the first two lines of first paragraph). And this was needed to be done for each of the services of Banglalink MFS.
These works needed to be done before 10:00AM on office days and had to mail to my supervisor. Because the files were shared by the companies involved in MFS to cross-check the closing balance of last day and opening balance of current day also to confirm revenue sharing issues and avoid any data discrepancy.
Attending meetings and write-up
As a part of the Banglalink MFS team I was always asked to attend different official meetings. Even in most times my supervisor used to tell me the meeting time and persons participating and my job was to book meeting room for the specific time period and inform the persons through email. Furthermore, when the meetings held with other company personnel I was responsible to receive them and lead them to the meeting room and take care of their reception. In addition to that, during the meeting time my duty was to take notes of the topics covered and finally what was the conclusion drawn. After the meeting based on the noted down points the MFS team discuss and find out the pros and cons.
However, according to the instruction of my supervisor I then prepare meeting agreements and give it to the supervisor.
Communication brief of Banglalink-bKash
During the period of my internship Banglalink and bKash launched a customer acquisition program. The campaign duration was for one month and specifically in dates from 15th of February, 2014 to 15th of March, 2014.
The supervisor had given me the responsibility to handle communication brief of the campaign. According to the upper head members meetings I prepare a whole presentation on the campaign covering the topics who are the eligible customers, offer details, offer validity, offer activation process, offer activation notice, offer checking details and help line details.
In addition to that I also prepared some FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) thinking from a customers’ point of view. And add proper answers to the questions. This helped to reduce further works as when any campaign launches customers raise different questions regarding campaign and offers going on. Attachment of the FAQs with this campaign was successful as there were minimum queries from customers’ due to available answers.
Both the documents were passed to the PR and Communication department for broadcast after my supervisor’s review of the final work. This was important because the task was presented in front of the management team for approval of the campaign and also the same was broadcasted on air.
Prepare presentation slides for management professionals
In any company to expand the business or to offer something new into the market working units need to take approvals from the higher management. Here they need to proof the potentiality of the sector for investment. This is necessary as the company invests a lot and if the investment does not return much it becomes a question of sustainability.
In the period of internship the MFS team was planning to expand the mobile financial services by signing up agreements with two other banks. The two banks are IFIC (International Finance Investment and Commerce) bank and UCBL (United Commercial Bank Ltd.).
To propose the task to the management team for approvals it is necessary to light up the positive sides of the expansion and the potential room of the sector. Thus, the task of preparing a presentation on the ‘MFS Bangladesh’ was given to me.
In purpose of preparing the presentation my supervisor gave a report to me named ‘Pi Strategy Consulting & CGAP of World Bank Research’. I was asked to read the whole report written over Mobile Financial Services Bangladesh topic and then find the key factors that could be presentable and must proof the potentiality of the sector. I was successfully able to do so and in the presentation slides highlighting factors such as revenue prospect of MFS, transaction mode, customers’ beliefs etc was included.
Official visits and keeping liaison
A lot of times I needed to go to different organizations for different work purposes, sometimes just to make sure strong connections and build trust.
However, the first visit was to DESCO for collecting the agreement deed of Banglalink. The agreement deed is a contract paper with DESCO for the bill paying services of Banglalink. It defers from service to service. Banglalink deposits a certain amount of money in Trust bank as security money for the electric bill payments through Banglalink numbers. Whenever customers pays their electricity bill over their phone using Banglalink bill pay service the exact amount is deducted from the security deposit, thus it works. At the beginning of the year the security money is deposited to the bank account and when the money is deposited a clearance certificate is send to DESCO from the bank as an assurance.
During the launching of UCash several times I went to UCBL head office for giving sample sim, problem solving regarding service facility. Moreover, I went to BPDB (Bangladesh Power Development Board) to deal with some paper works for signing new area bill collections, pass away working progress reports, fixing meting times with the Director of BPDB etc.
Other Scheduled Responsibility
One of the advanced internship program requirement is that all the interns should pass last five working days of their internship with corporate sales dept., icon dept., customer care dept. and with call centre people to get to know the functions. Specific date and department to work with, is informed by the HR department.
Corporate clients are not regular customers. They are basically different organizations. On the basis of how big the organization is and the number of sim they occupy the corporate sales department is divided into three units, i) large scale ii) medium scale iii) small scale. Large scale unit deals with the group of industries. Big companies especially those which have bi plants, factories etc. fall under this unit. PRAN RFL is Banglalink’s biggest corporate client. Per month it generates around 10 million tk. Revenue for Banglalink.
Medium scale unit deals with especially the banks, companies with average customer base, NGOs etc. Pharmasia Ltd., Matrix Sweater Ltd. etc are examples of small scale clients. Small scale unit deals with small customer base companies. Generally the companies which requires 100 or 200 sims.
I was assigned with a corporate sales team which look after different organizations situated in the Gazipur zone. On the day, visited two organizations situated at Rajendropur, Gazipur. During the visits, Pharmasia Ltd. which is a newly acquired company had some problems with the network. The purpose of the visit was to personally listen to the corporate client problem as it helps to retain customer trust in a way that Banglalink is there for its customers.
We ensured the customer that the problem has been forwarded to the technical team and soon the problem will be solved.
The second visit was to a new corporate customer who ordered around 100 thousand sim. This visit disclosed the factors needed to be a valid corporate client. Hereby we checked the whether the company has trade license or not, do they have any fixed asset, the reliability of the business plan etc among these criteria none of them were satisfied by the company as a result the deal was canceled.
On the day with the icon department, basically we were given ideas about different icon products available in market. Important information could be included here are; only those who have monthly expenditure over Tk.3500 on mobile phone bills are eligible to be an icon. icon sim are only available at specified Banglalink care centre. Apart from those icon members enjoys different discounts and loyalty bonus on restaurants, hotels, airplane tickets, super shops etc.
Banglalink has a 24×7 call center service for handling customer complains. Currently it has two call centers. One situated at Mohakhali, Madona Tower and the other one at Gulshan-1.
In addition another call centre will be opened soon in Chittagong.
CCD (Customer Care Department) deals with the care centre, where customers physically come with problems. Care centers are noted as zonal points in official terms and with 20 zonal points one zone is created. The zonal head looks after the zonal points. Here by employees of care center are strictly ordered to be well behaved and helpful. Because, only in this regards customers receive an idea about the organization. To maintain this high quality service CCD maintains strong selection criteria and also provides various trainings on behavioral patterns.
The report has covered the history of Banglalink from the journey it begins till now. Through this journey Banglalink has succeeded in many ways as well as failed in much ways. Still they are the second largest telecom brand in Bangladesh. During the start of mobile financial services in year 2011 banglalink is coping up with the speed quite well. The research have found out the customer demographics where it is seen that most of its M-banking customers are less educated as a result from now on if Banglalink take necessary steps as suggested it will have a strong grip to its customers than present. Moreover, the research also figures out the network signal problem issue as one of the prime disadvantage of the service, making progress to this would open the doors of success to Banglalink. The MFS department of Banglalink wishes to provide M-banking services to all aspects of the society to do so they first need to know its customers and make them knowledgeable about their service and its usage. Furthermore it will help them to keep their promise and lead towards greater customer base. There are plenty of banks coming with new M-banking products Banglalink should acquire them to expand their business. Even though so many problems the research has shown that still 88% of the customers are moderately happy with their service, hereby Banglalink should take necessary steps to gain the trust and make those 88% customers fully satisfied with their service.
As a pioneer in the mobile financial sector among the telecom brands Banglalink need to improve their service to hold off the position. Still there is lot of scopes of improvement and if they overcome the mistakes made already there is a higher chance that they not only become successful in this particular mobile financial sector but also in its real telecommunication business.