DNA reported rising sales, profits and customer numbers for Q1. Pekka Väisänen discusses brand, TV, Deezer and more

Eurocomms.com: You announced this month that all your operations will come under a single brand. Why is brand so important?

Pekka Väisänen: In a market where all major operators have a very similar offering, we need to differ in more ways than just in the technical details of our products or in price comparison.

Our way of doing things, how we serve the customer and in what ways we are part of their everyday life, can make a difference to our customers.

The brand stands for how we do things, and it is a promise of coherent quality.

In the fast moving media environment and even more dispersed attention of people, a clearly defined, yet actively evolving brand is a way to be easily recognised and relevant to users.

If they do not know what you stand for, how can they prefer you – and… like you.

People encounter the brand in various channels. The best effect is obtained when all points of contact support each other also through the same brand look.

You also unveiled a new strategy recently, with customer satisfaction highlighted as a key objective. What is the key focus for you in order to succeed?

We updated our strategy and brand to respond even better to changes in the operating environment and customer needs, and we will continue to work on improving customer experience.

We want to be even stronger, especially in entertainment services and as providers of corporate telecommunication services.

DNA is best known to Finns especially as a consumer mobile communications operator, but during recent years, we have expanded our operations to cover a wide range of telecommunication services.

You say that you want customers to have much more flexibility to choose the entertainment services they want; how easy it to provide this and what are the biggest challenges you face?

The way people watch television has changed significantly in recent years.

TV customers want more choice and seek content that can be self-tailored.

We think buying entertainment services should be much easier and more flexible for consumers than it is now.

This is why we want to shake the current market by offering a new kind of service with which everyone can pick just the television services they want.

Our challenges are often linked with content negotiations, e.g. how to obtain rights to offer content to customers with more flexible terms or how to bundle content with other products more freely.

The biggest challenge is how to combine and fit together the interests of all parties – the operator, the content provider and the programme channel – in order to be able to offer the consumers as flexible choices as possible.

It is a year since you launched a partnership with Deezer; how has this gone and what lessons have you learned?

The use of music services is in transition. The sale of traditional physical recordings is vanishing, while listening to music with mobile devices is rapidly gaining popularity.

There is a clear added value for customers in streaming services that they can take with them wherever they go.

Deezer is a very high quality service and a great alternative for our customers.

In Finland, Spotify was on the market before Deezer and, of course, introducing a new competing service requires a good amount of customer communication.

It is also important to consider those user groups that are not yet familiar with streaming services at all.

In comparison to other Nordic countries, Finland is still clearly behind the others in user numbers of streaming services, but the market potential is good, especially as users are clearly finding the benefits of the services.

It is important that the customer finds it easy to start using the service.

And the customer experience is further improved by having the monthly subscription fee charged in our monthly invoice, instead of a separate charge.

Your mobile customers were found to use the most mobile data per person in the world. What lessons have you learned? 

Despite the unlimited data we offer, we are able to provide good quality of service to our customers.

Large amounts of data traffic are possible because we have been quick to build fast 4G LTE technology.

In order to finance future network investments, Finnish operators will have to get more money for the increasing data transfer.

At some point, operators are likely to introduce data caps in Finland as well, although unlimited data subscriptions are not likely to disappear entirely.

Such a change would typically be initiated by the market leaders first.

As mobile data usage keeps growing, we have to make large investments.

In one way or another, operators in the Finnish market will have to be able to get more billing for the continuously increasing mobile data usage.

This is already happening by offering new types of subscriptions (4G LTE) in higher price categories.

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