How challenging is the shift to a competitive market for the incumbent operator?
Between the late 1970s and the early 2000s our company devoted a considerable effort to the swift construction of the country’s telecoms. We achieved the highest telephone penetration rate with the best technical quality network in the entire Maghreb region. The arrival of Tunisiana in 2002 and Orange in 2009 announced the beginning of a new period. Tunisie Telecom, a totally public enterprise run by the Government with a civic, social and public service approach, was unprepared to cope with fierce competition from players enjoying greater room for manoeuvre. The revolution has caused the tensions pent up over a number of years to blow up. Now the challenge lies in building a new era for Tunisie Telecom.
Which assets does Tunisie Telecom possess to regain national leadership?
Tunisie Telecom has by far the best infrastructure as regards technology and coverage in Tunisia. It boasts a broad array of capabilities, mainly technical. Its network geographical coverage and sales force nationwide presence bear no comparison. We must turn these assets into commercial success. We remain a company with a majority State shareholding, governed by public sector regulations and acting in a competitive environment. Nevertheless, with its considerable assets, Tunisie Telecom clearly stands to become a true national, or even regional, leader in the next few years.
What is your strategy for the future development of the company?
Our top priorities are human resources development and customer satisfaction. We have 8,500 staff bringing a wealth of capabilities and skills but this obviously also implies heavy costs.
We should have more room to better manage processes of purchases, recruitment and remuneration. Such flexibility would allow us to operate more successfully in a competitive environment.
I remain optimistic that the state shareholder will take the appropriate steps and will support Tunisie Telecom in implementing the required changes.
Customer satisfaction is the driving force to improve our image. We have carried out this year a number of customer satisfaction surveys with close monitoring of results. Tunisie Telecom offers telephony services nationwide. Therefore, it has a much more important social responsibility than the other competitors.
Our priority is to strengthen our position in Tunisia, while remaining open to international partnerships. Mergers are taking place and one finds increasingly fewer isolated players in their own countries. The way ahead for Tunisie Telecom is to gain an international dimension.