Behind A1’s energetic, concerted brand identity are the expertise and innovative power of a large, international group of companies
VIP has been for years a part of A1 Telekom Austria Group which has more than 25 million users in 7 countries, and as of this year, Vip continues the story under the name A1 in Serbia. We talked about this significant change with Thomas Arnoldner, Chief Executive Officer at A1 Telekom Austria Group.
With regard to your single-brand strategy now also implemented in Serbia: what can we expect from an international brand such as A1 to bring to our national market?
First of all, I would like to express my delight that A1 Serbia has now completed the A1 brand family. Great respect for our team in Serbia, which has mastered this rebranding excellently even under particularly challenging conditions. As in its entire CEE footprint, A1 now also presents itself in Serbia as a preferable, particularly reliable and trustworthy digitalization partner – for customers, businesses, the public sector and society in general. A clear commitment to actively assuming ecological and social responsibility rounds off this positioning. We are convinced that the now even more visible embedding in a strong international Group, including the associated synergies e.g. in product and service innovations, will also promote the positioning and growth targets in the Serbian market. At the same time, proven core business values, as well as local expertise and presence, will of course continue to retain their indispensable importance. Austria and Serbia have a long history of good business cooperation, and Austrian companies belong to the most relevant investors in our country.
What kind of economic environment and governmental support are crucial for gaining international investors’ interest?
When evaluating options for future investments, investors consider not only the current situation on the respective national markets – especially with a view to the economic and regulatory framework conditions. Additionally, social openness to innovation in general as well as the willingness and readiness of local partners to support further development play a decisive role in this respect. Such parameters are, of course, crucial when it comes to strategic planning. Started in 2007 as the country’s largest greenfield investment, our company In Serbia has undergone dynamic development in recent years. Now as A1 Serbia, it will offer an even more compelling digital customer experience by providing convincing services and solutions for life, work and entertainment in the digital age. Our operations in Serbia showed stable, continuous growth in both revenues and the number of customers – even during the pandemic crisis we are facing and in an increasingly competitive market.
“Our operations in Serbia showed stable, continuous growth in both revenues and the number of customers”
What are your future plans towards the expansion of the A1 Group in the Western Balkan region and the rest of Europe?
Alongside measures for fostering organic growth, the A1 Group will continue to expand its sphere of activity with targeted, value-accretive M&A activities in line with its conservative finance strategy.
Its focus remains on in-market consolidation in its existing markets, pursuing e.g. its convergence strategy, and subsequently expanding into new geographical areas in CEE. Additionally, the Group is also expanding its portfolio and exploiting new growth areas in the field of digital services.
With our continuous investments in digital infrastructure, we are building the foundation for future economic growth and prosperity in the region. In addition, the A1 brand is explicitly linked to our decidedly responsible attitude toward the environment and society, backed by clear objectives, and to be a central driver of sustainable digital transformation in Serbia and the entire A1 Group footprint.
A1 Group has been present in Serbia for over a decade. Do we learn from each other and what?
Learning from each other and growing together alongside dynamically changing requirements holds enormous potential. This is one of the distinct strengths of the A1 Group: behind A1’s energetic, concerted brand identity are the expertise and innovative power of a large, international group of companies. Building on this successfully tested new solutions can also be implemented in other operational areas or regions with a rapid time to market in the interest of customers, thus promoting the growth targets of the respective companies and the Group as a whole.