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Sustainability

dtac and BBtec’s joint goal to lift health and safety standards

The COVID-19 outbreak has put unprecedented pressure on global supply chains while also increasing the need for mobile connectivity. For dtac, the challenge is thus to guarantee the health and safety of its network operations teams while accelerating its network rollout. At the end of Q2’21, approximately 9,100 nodes of 700 MHz were installed, and dtac will continue to expand 5G capability to more sites in high-traffic areas. An operation of this size requires vendors and partners, which all need to agree to dtac’s strict safety measures and human rights standards for all workers in its supply chain. One of them is BB Technology Company Limited (BBtec), an integrated telecom operator in the Benchachinda Group, who has been providing cell site installation and maintenance services for dtac for more than ten years. The firm’s services include consulting, survey, design, system analysis and development, base-station construction, installations of fiber optic, exchange network infrastructure, system installations, supervision and network-system maintenance. “Signal tower construction and network-systems installations are complicated. Think of it as building a house, with several contractors for the foundation, roof, electrical systems, water system, and so on. If just one of these contractors isn’t up to standard, the whole project…

Meet the LGBTQ ally and diversity champion helming dtac’s human resources

During Pride Month, dtac made history as a large enterprise in the SET50 extending its spousal benefits to same-sex couples. dtac also categorized gender reassignment surgery as medical leave and now offers parental leave for parents who adopt infants. The new policies reflect dtac’s responsible business foundation that brings together compliance, data privacy, supply chain sustainability, digital upskilling, climate change, human rights and the health and safety of our workers. dtacblog spoke to Nardrerdee Arj-harnwongse, Chief People Officer of dtac, to understand what motivated her to the launch these new policies. Bringing Your Whole Self to Work “Diversity and inclusion have always been at the core of dtac’s culture,” she said. “A few years ago, a same-sex couple asked if they were entitled to dtac’s wedding leave and allowance—and we said yes! But there was no specific mention of same-sex couples in our policies. We’ve now corrected that to send a strong message to our LGBTQ employees. We see you, we value you, and we want you to feel at home here.” As dtac’s Chief People Officer, Ms. Nardrerdee must keep thousands of positions staffed with happy, productive employees. Overall, dtac’s male-female divide leans towards the latter (68 percent) and the…

dtac says the time for strong data privacy in Thailand is now

The year 2020 triggered a seismic shift in our relationship with the online world. With COVID-19, more people are working from home and connecting online with loved ones they can no longer meet in person. But just as reliance on connectivity grows, so do concerns about data privacy. “As more businesses and people moved into the digital world, we’ve seen a change in how they viewed the online environment,” said Marcus Adaktusson, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at dtac. “They are increasingly concerned about their privacy.” In Cisco’s 2020 Consumer Privacy Survey, 60 percent of respondents expressed concerns about their data being protected in the tools they are using while remote working or learning. The top three concerns were that the data will be used for unrelated purposes, that the data will be shared too broadly with third parties, and that the data will not be deleted or anonymized. Furthermore, 29 percent of those surveyed said they would switch brands due to data practices. This growing demographic of ‘privacy actives’ signals a shift in consumer attitudes globally about how their data is used and what control they have over their privacy. “Privacy issues are a growing concern for customers. But it’s often…

How businesses can continue operations despite Covid-19

The COVID-19 crisis exposed major vulnerabilities in global operations and supply chains. But dtac was able to quickly localize production and implement a wide-reaching work from home policy. Tipayarat Kaewsringam, chief sales officer at dtac, spoke at the dtac Responsible Business Virtual Forum 2021, to explain how dtac achieved such resilience in its supply chain. “Digital connectivity is critical to continuing social and economic activity under lockdown restrictions and work-from-home policies. Thus dtac must provide uninterrupted services, but also ensure the safety of its employees and those who operate on behalf of the company,” she said. Resilient Operations Today, around 95 percent of dtac office employees and call center agents are able to work from home. Working from home allows them to operate during lockdowns but also reduces the risk of infections which could cause teams to be quarantined. “Even in shops, which must continue to operate as mobile operators are considered an essential service, teams are split in half and work alternate weeks. If one team is exposed and must quarantine, the other team can continue to operate,” said Ms. Tipayarat. Moreover, the Network Operation Center, located at the dtac Headquarters, is ready to relocate at alternate sites. In…

Why resilience rests on workers’ wellbeing

With the ongoing social distancing caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, connectivity is a lifeline to our friends, family and jobs. This couldn’t happen without the frontline workers who cannot work from home lest the entire country grind to a standstill. There are the health workers, of course, but also employees of companies deemed essential services, such as supermarkets, banks and mobile operators. On the occasion of International Worker’s Day 2021, dtac spoke to some of our frontline heroes who work tirelessly to connect Thai society to what matters most. Risk Exposure Prateep Yingyong, a field network officer at dtac, performs network installations and maintenance. His job requires him to be on the ground every day, traveling from one cell site to another across Bangkok and its vicinity. Fieldwork is inherently dangerous. Working with tools, working at heights and working in remote areas requires strict guidelines to avoid injury. For example, fieldwork employees like Mr. Prateep are required to wear safety shoes at all times while performing site inspections and are not allowed to be on sites after 6 pm except in the event of an emergency. During the spread of COVID-19, Mr. Prateep sometimes travels to so-called red zones, where COVID-19…

How the son of a fisherman escaped the city by building a business online

Vithan Chaiyo, a 30-year-old native of Chanthaburi province, moved from Bangkok for his secondary education and a bachelor’s degree. After his graduation, he worked as an event organizer for two years during which he felt suffocated by the stress of urban life. Missing the vast expanses of sea and sky of his province, he quit his job and headed back home for a new chapter in his life, one where learning to sell online would play a critical part.  Beginning of Entrepreneurship “I know seafood. I can tell which ingredient is fresh and which is not. I'd go catch squids with my dad during my childhood. Our catch was then grilled for sale. We'd catch many types of mollusks: squid, cuttlefish, bigfin reef squid, and octopus. So, after I returned to my hometown, I used my knowledge to open a small stall selling grilled squid near the beach,” Mr. Vithan said.  The stall, named Hma Khay Hmuk, stands out because of its fresh ingredients. Mr. Vithan has his own pier and fishing trawler, which is moored just a few kilometers away from the stall. Each fishing expedition takes “Roong Tawan”, the boat owned by Mr. Vithan’s father, about five days. Normally,…

How a small Thai town’s pickled crabs became an online sensation

Pickled crabs are a delicacy in Thailand, layering sour and acidic notes onto the sweet umami of raw crab. And nowhere are they quite as delicious as in Chanthaburi, making them as rare as they are delicious. Today, it's a little easier to get your hands on this prized treat. Pookai Dong Klong Khlung is now a household name selling tons of pickled crab online every month. But it took a lot of hard work, and a little help from dtac Net for Living, for its founder Penpan Pongsiri to go from near-bankruptcy to online sales sensation. Sitting on Tessaban 4 Road in Chanthaburi’s Khlung district, Pookai Dong Klong Khlung started as a restaurant. It is decorated in bright orange, the color of crab roe. “Sea crabs from Klong Khlung rank among the best. Our area is the ultimate source of clean, fragrant crabs. Chanthaburi has both freshwater and the sea. The brackish water in the Khlung canal is ideal for crabs,” Ms. Penpan said. Ms. Penpan used to engage in fruit wholesaling – her family business. But four years ago, she noticed the emerging popularity of crabs brined in fish soy sauce and decided to change her path. In the beginning,…

As a brand of chili paste goes online, opportunity returns to a debt-stricken province

As a lawyer in Thailand’s Chainat province, Wassana “Mui” Pinnak has seen firsthand the tragic effects of debt on farmers, who face expropriation when their harvests cannot cover the costs of seedlings and fertilizer. To develop new job opportunities in the region, she launched a brand of Thai chili paste that employs locals to meticulously handcraft her family recipes. With help from dtac Net for Living and under the brand Ban Tanai, her jars of nam prik have since become an online sensation. An Idea Born of the Plight of Thai Farmers The issue of rural debt is particularly glaring in Chainat. In a Thai government ranking of the human development of Thai provinces, Chainat ranked 75th out of 77 (National Economic and Social Development Board, 2017). In 2015, record droughts ravaged the farmlands with devastating consequences.“During a drought, farmers can only grow one harvest,” said Ms. Wassana. “Moreover, many of them borrowed 60,000 baht per rai [1600 sq meters or about 0.4 acres] for rice seedlings from merchants who promised high prices for the rice. Not only did the suppliers not honor those prices, but they forced the farmers to sell their land to pay their debts.” Ms. Wassana saw that…

How a village’s desserts broke a cycle of bad debt

Chai Nat is a small province in the heart of Thailand. The Tha Chin River and fertile soil make it ideal for growing rice, but foodies also love its Taengkwa pomelo, whose thin, slightly grained peel holds treasures of tart sweetness. Despite this bounty, farmers are locked in a cycle of debt and increasingly affected by climate change. dtacblog spoke to Tipwan Netnak, the first female head of Ban Tha Samrong, a village in Chai Nat’s Sankhaburi district. To grow new income streams for her community--and with a little help from dtac Net for Living--she is harnessing the power of mobile connectivity to turn around Ban Tha Samrong's fortunes. “Our hometown used to be so abundant. Each year, we could grow three harvests of rice. But things began to change about eight or nine years ago when the first severe drought hit Chai Nat. As water became scarce, we could only grow rice just once a year. This means our income has also dropped,” said Ms. Tipwan. Fighting Poverty As Ms. Tipwan became village chief around that time, things were off to a rocky start. “Being the first female village head, I was blamed for bringing bad luck to the…

Five Female Leaders’ Views on Leadership at dtac

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2021, dtacblog spoke to five female leaders about women's paths and roles in leadership. Tipayarat Kaewsringam, Chief Sales OfficerAs a female management veteran who has worked in multiple roles across the region and various industries, Ms. Tipayarat was seen the share of women in leadership roles increase over the past decades in Asia. This reflects a significant shift in Asian culture, moving towards a more balanced workplace.In the past, women in Asia might have experienced a barrier to employment in some industries. But today, those obstacles have been drastically reduced in commercial organizations.  “Having more female leaders in senior management can be considered a breakthrough of gender equality in Thai society,” said Ms. Tipayarat. "From change comes opportunity, I #choosetochallenge women to keep growing their capabilities." A female leadership style that is inclusive, open, consensus-building collaborative, and collegial can make a huge contribution to businesses’ success.However, female employees can still face discrimination when balancing family and work. Thus, dtac’s groundbreaking six-month maternity leave can be considered as a policy platform that provides an equal opportunity for women employees. “In the past women had to choose between family and work. But having a six-month maternity leave eliminates…