Exclusive interview with Thomas Arnoldner, CEO A1 Telekom Austria Group for Faktor

The new, A1 brand will enable excellent customer experience

Vip will be rebranded into A1. Is this going to be just a change of the brand or are there going to be crucial changes for the customers?
We are opening a new chapter of Vip in Macedonia with this process of rebranding. More than 10 years ago, the company started as a challenger at the market. We were only a mobile operator, positioned as number three on the market. Today, we are number one in the mobile segment and number two in the fixed segment. We moved from a classic telco provider into a digital service provider. Vip forms part of A1 Telekom Austria Group and will now – as a result of the rebranding – also join the A1 brand family. Thus, Vip will also visibly belong to a leading, digital provider in CEE with 25 million customers and about 19 000 employees. We are very proud to welcome Vip in the A1 family. There will be no crucial changes in the current business cooperation with customers or partners due to the rebranding. All contracts, being subscriber or commercial related, shall remain valid with no need for additional actions, as the legal continuity of the company is not affected by the rebranding. Having said that, the company, of course, will continue to strive for the best possible value proposition in the market to secure the best conditions for future growth.

a1 makedonija

What can the public expect from this rebranding process?
Rebranding is a common marketing activity with a purpose to strengthen the position in the market. It is an investment in the future with the potential to foster the perception as a powerful international company and to gain benefits from economies of scale and synergy effects. Thus, rebranding is also expected to support efficiency and growth targets.
We are constantly checking, benchmarking and surveying the brands we have in place in order to explore the optimal fit for all markets. Indeed, Vip is a strong brand in the Macedonian market. However, we identified an opportunity to develop something even more powerful: It was therefore decided to gradually – dependent on local circumstances – roll-out the energetic and proven A1 brand group-wide since it already covers all convergence and ICT aspects and substantially contributes to a strong and concerted brand identity.

When will the rebranding happen?
The rebranding of Vip into A1 is going to be conducted in the course of 2019.

Will the rebranding mean new network? Are there going to be additional investments in the network?
The company’s network is continuously being further developed. Within the past years, significant and visible steps in network quality and service stability have been made, and this trend will continue, at the same time constantly optimizing user experience. Our new brand will stand for a superior customer experience proposition.

The changes in the telco business are more than obvious. Net and data are in the center of the business. Is Vip Macedonia ready for this global trend?
Starting as a greenfield operation with its very first employees back in 2007, Vip has gone through massive changes since then. In the past decade, Vip – formerly known as a mobile operator only – turned into a fully convergent player on the market, offering all mobile, fixed, TV and ICT products and services. Today, Vip is no longer just a telecom operator or a network provider. We congratulate our colleagues in Macedonia on how they managed this fundamental transformation of the company. And we expect the planned rebranding to support the company’s new market positioning, its efficiency, and growth targets as well as its further transformation into an ideal and trustworthy partner for our customers in the age of digital transformation.

A1 is a powerful brand. Croatian operation already passed the rebranding process. Half a year after the rebranding, can you share with the audience what has changed and what are the benefits for the customers?
According to our group-wide common purpose of ‘Empowering digital life’, we strive to present us as the ideal and trustworthy partner for our customers in the age of digital transformation that assumes pronounced social and ecological responsibility. A1 is supposed to be perceived as a particularly reliable, attentive, and energetic provider of excellent service quality and end-to-end customer experience as well as high-duty and future-proof communications infrastructure. A1 aims at making customers’ daily digital lives simpler, more productive and more enjoyable.

Will the rebranding mean the same for the Macedonian customers as for the Croatian, as Macedonia and Croatia are operating as a Cluster?
What the A1 brand is generally standing for is going to be respected as well as the shared group-wide internal guiding principles of A1 brand: Team, Trust, and Agility. However, we will integrate them in consideration of local internal values, requirements, and needs – with a view to a market-oriented brand. Anyway, the brand system of A1 is flexible enough to satisfy all individual and local needs of the Macedonian market while at the same time being universally applicable in order to enable all over consistency.


Originally published on faktor.mk.