Assessment on the recent economic developments and how it affects the Cyprus telecommunications market. Current challenges, legal framework and what needs to be improved.
We have come through a period of harsh conditions. Now we can see recovery even at a faster than expected pace. This can be attributed to the collective efforts, of the people, the government and the private sector, in doing our best, working through the unpleasant reality of the austerity measures. We knew that we had to make the required changes ourselves. We know that, unless we work ourselves, no one will come to the rescue.
It has been a challenging time in the telecommunications marketplace as well. The telecom industry, internationally, being a traditional sector, is faced with the dilemma of new technologies optimization and alternative communication services, having a direct impact on revenues and growth and this only to be exacerbated by the negative effects of the economic crisis in Cyprus which influences both consumers and business, slowing down growth and undermining sustainability.
To counter the threats, we are heading for important reforms which affect and the legal status of the organization, setting off from the recent announcement of the change of the organizational structure, from functional-based to customer segment-based.
To this end, we seek to minimize the constraints inflicting from the existing institutional framework and to promote reforms that improve flexibility, immediacy and speed, as necessary ingredients for quick decision-making and effective control, working in support of our customer-centric orientation and operational performance. In this respect, improving legacy regulation imposed on the incumbent, Cyta that is, can benefit substantially new services proliferation and the utilization of investment costs in favor of the end consumer.
The 2014 results and achievements since taking office as Deputy CEO of Cyta.
Despite the harsh conditions prevailing during 2014, the predominance of unfair competition and the regulatory constraints that limit our aggressiveness in the market, we are still the preferred choice of the Cypriot consumer and the reliable solution for the business. The 2014 results confirm Cyta’s strong competitive position in the market and provide the reassurance for effectively addressing the increased challenges in the new digital era.
During this period we aimed for improved efficiency, added new features to our existing offerings and streamlined operations, to focus on key areas relevant to the customer, maximizing economies of scale and synergies that led to cost savings. At the same time we have set the ground rules for new initiatives that converge beyond the boundaries of traditional telco products.
In order to do that, we need to explore greenfield value-added services such as HD video conferencing, mobile office environments, multiscreen collaboration tools, offered at high-quality and on top of that, we need to be agile and deliver these services quickly, reducing time-to-market that would allow us to remain at the forefront of innovation in the minds of consumers and replenish some of the lost revenue.
Giving an example here, we pioneered the introduction of cloud services in our business offerings which provided cost-effective IT infrastructure and tools for process automation without any capital expenditure, reducing pressure on entrepreneurs in times of liquidity crisis.
Cyta Hellas; importance of the Greek subsidiary.
Our expansion strategy is achieved through geographic business development, establishing points-of-presence and retail market operations in countries abroad. In this respect, we operate in Greece through Cyta Hellas and in the UK through Cyta UK. Cyta’s biggest expansion was in Greece, considering the advantage of the Greek speaking population and the well-developed business relationships, allowing Cyta Hellas to capitalize on the priority of being a natural extension to our local operations in Cyprus.
We started operations in Greece in 2007. It was a trying time when we first launched services in the Greek market, as the country’s economy escalated into deep crisis; however, we managed to deal with the challenge and we now offer quad play on a single bill to almost all of Greece: voice, data, television (IPTV) and mobile services.
Beyond the generation of new revenue streams, the expansion of our activities and network infrastructure in the Greek territory, qualifies for a strategic choice of creating operational synergies which contribute to value maximization and reinforce our regional role as a telecommunications hub, thus playing a vital role in the improvement of our country’s economy.
Cyta‘s privatization; expected advantages and benefits once the process is completed.
Our foremost aim is to provide customer-centric reliable solutions to the Cypriot consumer and business, differentiated with the customer care, the knowledge and support from Cyta’s experts which are among the most qualified in the industry. Facing up to the new challenges, the evolving competition and the changing consumer habits, Cyta must remain relevant to the customer needs.
Key to success is reframing mindsets and adding agility to our execution. The legal status of the organization and the established institutional framework is impeding stringent constraints on the operation and the reforms that are promoted seek to inflict flexibility and speed, in favor of fast decision-making and induced efficiency.
Investing in Cyta – why? Infrastructural investment opportunities. eg fiber to home infrastructure
The initiative of any responsible investment will be capitalizing on Cyta’s assets and foremost on the high caliber and expert personnel, laying down the foundations for a strong comparative advantage.
We have always been characterized by our ability to develop and maintain state-of-the-art infrastructure and this can be credited to our expert personnel, capable of enduring demanding conditions and mastering huge projects.
At this time, our main focus is the rejuvenation of our infrastructures introducing new generation technologies, on an island wide coverage. We are, deploying state-of-the-art broadband fixed and mobile 4G communication technology, fostering high speed, digital and media applications. At the same time, we are laying down the gradual implementation of fiber-to-the home, delivering fast connection speeds to the internet. All these major projects will enhance the operational capacity of Cyta in the digital age that lies ahead and will add even more to the value of our Organization.
We are confident of a positive outcome reassured by independent opinion; quoting the Technical Advisors to the Commissioner for Privatizations: “Cyta’s networks are among the best in Europe; the way they are designed, the way they are built and the resilience that they have.”
Cyta’s unique selling points and how does the company fair next to its competitors?
Although a semi-government organization, we have always stayed ahead of competition with proactive customer orientation, supported by high-end quality infrastructures which compare successfully to the highest international standards.
Standing at the leadership pole in the local market, we cannot simply offer the same things as every other player. We differentiate ourselves by investing in the business intelligence necessary to understand consumer wishes before our competitors and then we use that knowledge to build digital applications and delivery models that customers want to purchase. Part of this, realizes in adding features that other players cannot match, such as enhanced performance, uptime and exclusive content. Foremost though, it helps us to stand out for the customer experience across every touchpoint and the expert support, inclusive in our offerings.
How does Cyta maintain its positioning in the market?
Cyta is a service provider of the whole spectrum of electronic communication products, ranging from fixed and mobile communications, to internet service provision and digital applications, customized, in support of every sector of the economy. Leveraging on the expert knowledge of our personnel we offer customer-oriented solutions that we continually upgrade, capitalizing on the synergies and the integration created.
At the same time, we invest in new generation technologies on an island wide coverage. However, network capacity and beyond is only the baseline that reforms the scope of specialization. The advantage comes from helping people to use the technology and in this respect we are pioneers in deploying value-added digital and media applications, enhancing how our customers work and play in everyday life.
Cyta’s expansion strategy and how you envision the company in 5 years.
To prevail in today’s fast changing environment, we need to deal efficiently with the challenges and capitalize on our strengths. Cyta’s considerable competences are intertwined with developing and maintaining state-of-the-art network and enhanced customer experience.
New generation networks in support of the 4th generation technology and fixed broadband fuelled by fiber are well underway, constituting a sound base for integrated communication offerings, both on technical and commercial terms, enhanced with content more ubiquitous than ever before, with open access enabling interaction with any device in any place.
Services that foster mobility, collaboration and unified communications present an opportunity and a strong differentiation factor, embedded in the quality of our network. These services have the potential to impact substantially business development as they have become an important factor of how the economy works and functions.
In doing so, we need to sputter growth from traditional telco services and instill continuous improvement initiatives, to capture efficiency gains to the maximum. As well as that, we seek the talent and markets beyond current boundaries. We are involved in new partnerships and innovative business models making our way to establishing solid ground in new ecosystems, like for instance, electronic payments, ehealth and smart home initiatives which introduce new revenue streams.
Beyond all change that lies ahead, it is the user experience that creates strong added value and in this respect, Cyta is accustomed to understanding and conceptualizing customer perspectives delivered in high quality, optimum support and cost efficient pricing.
Yet, on an international level, Cyprus has become an important telecommunications hub and a telecom infrastructure centre of excellence in Eastern Mediterranean, due to Cyta’s international network which is considered among the most advanced in Europe. Only to add to this point, that we are connected with 10 submarine fibre optic cable systems within the area.
Enhancing our role as a telecommunications hub is among our top priorities and certainly the reason we maintain three landing stations for submarine cables. We are continuously upgrading our existing submarine cables and introducing new submarine cables. Now, we are in discussion for the introduction of three new submarine cables with the latest technology, as well as two satellite stations that offer services covering all the satellites systems in the region.
What is your message to our readers?
You may know Cyprus as a well-known tourist attraction and a favourable European destination. It is at the same time a qualified business centre because a number of comparative advantages have contributed towards the island becoming an important international services centre. Just to name a few: European and monetary union member state, strategic geographic location, broad range and international quality of financial, telecommunications infrastructure and business services, advanced transport and a renown international shipping centre.
The government of Cyprus, taking into consideration the numerous challenges arising from increasing competition, globalization and the recent global financial crisis, is promoting a number of measures and initiatives to further establish Cyprus as an attractive investment destination, removing regulation barriers in setting up enterprises, maintaining a favorable taxation system and further expanding the avoidance of double taxation treaties with more countries.
Another distinguishing characteristic of Cyprus is the high caliber people among the university-educated human resource that is found in abundance in the local population, speaking fluently multiple European languages, English being the most common, sufficing for a widespread choice for the employers wishing to establish operations in Cyprus.