ZonG, Pakistan’s second largest GSM mobile service provider and third largest mobile service in terms of subscriber base of over 30 million. In just over 8 years, it is the fastest growing telecom service provider of the nation. It has a market share of 19% among cellular operators in the country. ZonG is also Pakistan’s first and largest 4G operator having 600,000+ subscribers till date. It is to be noted that Pakistan’s fastest growing 4G network recently expanded its 4G coverage to over 100 cities nationwide and was designated by PTA as the No.1 operator in voice and data services.
On October 4, 2016, Zong 4G organized a blogger meet up in Islamabad at their Headquarters in Chak Shehzad. It was a huge dark complex of three main buildings with much of security layers. I would definitely like to call it ZHQ. It was a meet and greet session of the bloggers of twin cities with the Zong PR & digital team. The main aim of the event was to brief the bloggers about Zong’s phenomenal 4G success over its two years of operation in Pakistan and introduce them to its work culture. Apart from myself, prominent social media enthusiasts like Waleed Arif Malik, Danish and Rabel Hina were also present. We were invited and accompanied by Jamil Arif from Communications Research Strategies, for the day. For a minute, I thought we are about to spend the day listening to boring presentations, but luckily, that was not the case. From Zong, we received a warm and friendly welcome by Ali Rizvi, Sehrish Mumtaz and Adeel Sherazi. They gave an orientation to the bloggers about Zong’s achievements, plans and its high-tech openwork environment.
We were briefed that Zong will add 1,000 4G sites across Pakistan within 2016. This news was shared today after the company achieved their 2016 4G rollout plan, 3 months ahead of schedule, showing an outstanding execution of their 4G roll out site plan. The addition of 1,000 4G sites will take the overall tally of Zong’s 4G sites to around 6,000 by the end of this year, making it the largest, widest and fastest in terms of 4G coverage. To facilitate company’s ambitious expansion plans, Zong’s parent company, China Mobile Communications Corporation, which is the largest telecommunications company in the world, has given a go-ahead for more investment. Through this, the total 4G investment to date of Zong in Pakistan is going to cross USD 300 Million mark by the end of this year. This expansion plan is a strong indicator of Zong’s long-term commitment to the local telecommunication market. It is expected that the roll-out will greatly enhance Zong’s 4G coverage and quality of data user experience, reflecting organization’s aspiration to transform the digital lives of Pakistanis through its high-speed data services.We had an open session in which we did interact (read criticize) and exchange our views on Zong’s Social Media presence and performance. We not only gave them suggestions but also learnt Zong’s perspective and strategy over social and digital world.
Next, we were taken to the main building where all the work is done. Each floor had different sections where various departments of Zong were operated. We met several Zongers (people who work at Zong), saw their day care center, a big prayer area in the middle, power nap area etc. The entire workplace was colorful and lively, unlike many other workplaces in Pakistan. Adeel also shed light on Zongs’s employee-centric work culture, which according to him, is the ingredient behind Zong’s growth; and makes it different from more traditional work places. After that, we went to the Zong Contact Center building which housed almost 500 employees at a time who were taking your customer support calls and sorting out issues for you. Faraz Hassan Khan head of Contact Center from what I heard, this was the biggest call center setup in Pakistan where about 500 people worked. They had four different shifts every day. There was a nice, clean and colorful cafeteria in the building and as lunchtime was there, it was surrounded by a nice aroma and sound of cutlery.
Though we were expecting to become the speed testers of Zong 4G or MiFi Device and but sadly we were not provided with 4G cloud or any demonstration. Another let down was that in the absence of my cellular company’s enough signals, there was no data connectivity available for us to connect, even the guest Wifi network was not working. It was quite a bit unexpected and surprising for me for not been able to get access to the internet on my device in the middle of Zong’s Headquarters. Temporarily, our host Sehrish made this available through her cell’s hot spot. It would have been better that if the guests would experience the connectivity of Zong’s own 4G devices. Some of us tried to live tweet and post at Facebook while we were roaming in ZHQ.
Personally, I enjoyed visiting the Zong Enterprise Solution Experience Center. It was very informative and inspiring having an experience of Zong advance products and corporate technological solutions. Zong IoT (Internet of Things) has already did market few products, while few were still in Que. Although majority of products are for industrial or businesses, one product Smart Watch, a GPS bases tracking device targeted for school going kids in today’s security sensitive situation, is gaining popularity among masses.
It ended with a delicious à la carte lunch at AQS and a photo session of the bloggers with the Zong team. Overall, it was a fun-filled day and was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.