On Friday 21 June, Telenor celebrated its 16 years of existence in Thailand with a reception and cultural event at its Norwegian headquarters in Fornebu, western part of Oslo.
The Norwegian telecoms giant Telenor first started expanding into Asia via Thailand 16 years ago. Telnor’s chief executive Jon Fredrik Baksaas confirmed that its regional headquarters in Bangkok is an Asian hub and gateway of sorts, with word due soon on whether Telenor also can start operating in Thailand’s neighbouring Myanmar.
“This is the very core of Telenor,” Baksaas told guests who included diplomats, government officials, politicians and business executives, “and it took us to Thailand.”
Baksaas, who served as co-host with Thailand’s ambassador to Norway, Theerakun Niyom, noted that mobile phones were “hardly visible” in Thailand or elsewhere when “persistent” Telenor executives foresaw that mobile communications “would be something for everyone, not just the elite.” The Thai mobile company in which Telenor now holds a major stake, Dtac, now has nearly 27 million customers (more than five times Norway’s total population) and, Baksaas said, “has become the biggest mobile concern in the Telenor group.”
“When I first met Fredrik, I told him Telenor is doing a good job in connecting people in Thailand,” Ambassador Niyom said in his opening remarks at the midday reception on Friday. “But there are so many ways to connect people, also through culture.”
The ambassador, who’s been involved in organizing several other Thai cultural events since arriving in Oslo early last year, was clearly proud to introduce the renowned Sbun-nga Chiang Mai Performance Troupe, recognized for its folk and contemporary dances, music and costumes.
As guests mingled, sampled Thai food prepared by the chef at the Thai Embassy in Oslo and settled in for the show, Telenor expects that it won’t be long before more than half of the Norwegian company’s revenues will be generated in Asia. The company is now hoping to expand its operation into Myanmar.