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Published on August 15th, 2009 | by Arsalan Mir

19

What Went Wrong With Wateen






Wateen Telecom is a sister concern of Warid Telecom and a fully owned venture of Abu Dhabi Group. Wateen, with the collaboration of Motorola, deployed nation-wide WiMAX network in Pakistan and pioneered its deployment globally (actually this was the very first post on this blog in 2006). I remember attending the ITCN in August 2007 when it was launched with a zeal of making Broadband a reality and promising exceptional quality over WiMAX.  Now, after two years, it is rather sad that Wateen has laid off around 550 employees.

What went wrong with Wateen that it had to let go of around 50% of its employees?

Few of my friends had an opportunity to do internship at the RAN Department of Wateen. When they joined on day 1, they were handed a some vendor manuals to study. At the end of the day I called them up to ask how did their day go? They told me that Wateen has more people than work. I said that you can’t decide this in just one day.

Now with this 50% slash in number of employees the picture is clear, they did have more employees than needed. This could be because they hired more manpower during the initial network roll-out. Now what they have on their lists is some upgradation and O&M of the current network. The O&M is outsourced to the vendor and upgrades generally requires less manpower . So the ‘more manpower’ was just not needed.

I leave here for the reader to decide. Did this happen because of the global recession or mismanagement by Wateen’s senior management?

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About the Author

is a Telecom enthusiast with engineering background based in Lahore. On professional front, he is the Director Operations at the Target Group. He can be reached at arsalan (at) telecompk (dot) net



19 Responses to What Went Wrong With Wateen

  1. Ayesha says:

    Very Good Job Wateen

    Wateen has improved now

    do check it out

  2. Kashif says:

    Whatever happened with Wateen but now they are playing very bad atleast in Karachi ,,, find out more in this blog:

    http://isthisok.wordpress.com/2009/08/28/worldcall-and-costumer-servicez/

  3. Babar Bhatti says:

    Thanks for the good points made in the comments. Wateen did play a positive role but it seems to have lost touch with reality. Technology rollout is one thing, but running a successful commercial operations is another.

    The Daily Times article has plenty more but some of it seems to be exaggerated at a few places.

  4. Arsalan Mir says:

    @Pakistani Blogger: agreed on the high expense and quality part. But now since WiMAX is also into competition with Infinity and Wi-Tribe making its place and Qubee soon to join, the price war in WiMAX has just started.

    @Majid: I understand your point on recession hitting every industry. But such a massive layoff is a rare case in our industry.

    @Ritz: I have not heard anything of the technology you mentioned. If you are serious on it, pls tell us more about it.

  5. Ritz says:

    Hi to All…
    A new Technology is shortly coming up that gonna change the world.
    Of course a Telecommunication Technology named Moonitin.

  6. maverick_bm@yahoo.com says:

    @Majid.

    Naturally there must have been unpleasant episodes with Wateen service that is why so many of their own consumers are displaying agony, there can’t be smoke without fire.

  7. Quli says:

    Its my experience that when massive layoffs happen, the star performers generally tend to leave. Its probably fishing time to get top talent that remains at Wateen, although their inflated packages will be a good deterrent.

  8. TELECOM WATCH says:

    The shenanigans of a telecom steward
    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2006\10\13\story_13-10-2006_pg7_12

  9. Friendsandfamily says:

    Warid and Wateen are both funded by Pakistani banks….Read this dailytimes news of 13-10-2006:
    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2006\10\13\story_13-10-2006_pg7_12

    If Wateen and Warid default, they will take down a few pakistani banks!

  10. Majid says:

    Hi,

    Wateen was the first company to chanllenge PTCL domination in Pakistan both on Fiber and Broadband area.
    Wateen was first company to pick WiMaX technology in the world.

    Wateen was first company to do Quard play services let alone triple play.

    Wateen on day one didn’t had RAN hence its is a wrong assumption. Wateen was doing VSAT and fiber much earlier on with a lot less people. The company was profitable from day one.

    50% layoff news doesn’t real come as a surprise. If they have contineued to outsource and found synergies inside the comapny its a good thing as it will improve the margins for them.

    Their billing has been a issue. I agree and its not easy to get Quard play billing in place. They had thier shortfall and their are areas of improvement however we should also not forget that Wateen roll out was first of its kind WiMax Network in the world (Motorola is now selling WiMax around the world thanks to Wateen) and we should appreciate the fact that they have given consumer market a better option to move to (or even a good 2nd choice).

    We don;t see number and we don’t see margin even we haven’t had an official announcement from Wateen on 50% HC slash hence I guess its not even responsible to discuss this targeting onc company or group or one man .

    In these hard times even the well mature and most stable operators are looking to reduce cost and outsource. Sprint just signed a 4.5 to 5 Billion $ deal with Ericsson and transfered 6000 employees to them and that is after a series of layoffs

  11. Wateen forgot to price its services properly. When you are a newcomer to any industry you have to offer competitive prices. Offering an expensive product that is of low quality is not the way to go. They’ve had to cut prices dramatically in the last few months. When they started out they were demanding post dated checks for a year’s worth of Internet access. Look at where their prices are now.

  12. Ahmed J says:

    No doubt it is sad that a company has to lay off its employees. But lets be fair in this judgement, Wateen is not the only company doing so. Many other major telecom companies have gone through the same process and much earlier in the year, so it was just a matter of time. Ofcourse no one will just keep its working force when there is no work around. You need investment for work, and with such unstable circumstances pertaining in the country, you cant really expect anything better.

    Lets not forget Wateen has proved to be a major milestone in promoting this technology globally. Regardless of the fact that many experiments have been done here but you just cannot rule out its benefits.

    One of our friend above mentions PTCL and Worldcall, I wouldnt disagree that yes PTCL is a better solution when it comes to broadband, but how many ppl have actually got a proper telephone line these days to implement it. And it isnt really appropriate to compare wired with wireless.

    Another friend says the device is too bulky. My friend that device was the first of its kind, the only one available at the time of launch [Talking about Motorola over here]. Better devices are now available (PCMCIA cards for WiMAX). Those are expensive hence not suitable for the target market over here I guess.

    I’m not favouring the company, but just the technology. Lets give WiMAX some time to mature and hope that companies like Wateen, Wi-Tribe and Mobilink will play an important role in this.

  13. MAlIK says:

    Wateen gone to its Knees very early just because of Poor management of all types of resources. They were just not pioneers in Wimax but Also in DVB(A Much needed service on reliable & proper support basis keeping in view the non existent of infrastructure in remote site.) , but due to non consistent management (One Man Show) and over ambitions like Multimedia, DSL & GPON etc… and as of today they have rolled back complete Multimedia production wing and Deployment of DSL from many cities at almost launching point. Right from launch they never at 100 %. First there billing system, then Customer credentials, International connectivity choking, Motorola Testing (Devices & Firmware etc) and now almost 50% of their employees. I am afraid that Wateen is outsourcing all their key Department including the Core & RAN network now to Motorola and news are also around that ZONG or SINGTEL also interested to buy Wateen before its completely collapse.

  14. Tayyab Ilyas says:

    Wateen is flop due due its big bulky device

  15. Arsalan Mir says:

    Good point Rafaeel. WiMAX companies should bring uncapped packages.

  16. Babar Bhatti says:

    Unfortunately, the boom in telecom industry can become a problem especially when companies are not run well.

    Btw, the title of the post has 5W’s :)

  17. They laid off earlier too before this management. In a department of 6, 24 people were working out of which only 4 worked. As said, its a Seth Company. Plus no one would buy capped internet at slow rates when solutions like PTCL/Worldcall USBs are available.

  18. Pingback: » What Went Wrong With Wateen

  19. Pingback: What Went Wrong With Wateen | Tea Break

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