The year 2020 has been repeatedly described as unprecedented—and Time Magazine even dubbed it “the worst year ever”. But it’s also been an opportunity to reflect on our priorities in life.
More than ever before, dtac’s twin purposes of “Connecting you to what matters most” and “Empowering societies,” have felt critical to Thailand.
As 2020 ends, dtacblog has compiled images retracing some of the year’s defining moments. Think of it as one last look in the rearview mirror as 2021 brings a fresh start.
“We were on the frontlines,” Wasan Chanplab, Head of Field Network Operations BMA at dtac.
Picture 1 : At the height of the April 2020 COVID-19 lockdown in Thailand, the Field Network Operations BMA’s team rushed to Siriraj Hospital to perform service maintenance. Not only dtac’s network teams worked tirelessly to ensure doctors, nurses and other hospital staff remained connected, but dtac would go on to partner with Siriraj Hospital to onboard chronic patients to the Siriraj Connect application.
“We couldn’t let COVID-19 disrupt dtac services—particularly in a hospital. Our team worked even harder to ensure the network was fine. There is no day off in such a crisis. We are on standby round the clock. And we are proud to have played a role in helping dtac customers get through the crisis,” Mr. Wasan said.
Picture 2: dtac joined hands with Siriraj Hospital in the campaign ‘dtac fights COVID-19’ to help reduce the impact of digital divide and digital disruption, accelerated by the outbreak of COVID-19. In this campaign, dtac call center agents volunteered to train the hospital’s patients on how to download and navigate the application Siriraj Connect, a telemedicine solution developed by Siriraj Hospital. As a result, these patients, many of them elder and marginalized, could continue to receive online consultation and medications despite the lockdown.
Picture 3: This is one of the best moments! Led by Mr. Mehrotra, dtac won the auction for 200 MHz of spectrum on the 26 GHz band. Adding to a portfolio of low- and mid-band spectrum, the block of mmWave spectrum completed dtac’s portfolio. In Thailand, dtac was first to receive its license on 26GHz and first to operate the spectrum commercially and in industrial use cases.
Picture 4: dtac’s current CEO, Sharad Mehrotra, joined in early 2020. The Indian national had been CEO of Telenor Myanmar and knew the Thai market well. He got off to a roaring start with the 5G license auction, but the COVID-19 pandemic soon hit. Mr. Mehrotra reacted by keeping employees safe and customers connected. “A good team is the key to success. Attention to detail will bring victory,” Mehrotra told dtac blog during his first exclusive interview in March.
Picture 5: In the past year, dtac also welcomed to its family the chief happiness officer “Nong Tua D”.
Playful, irreverent, clever and sometimes naughty, he is currently the only dtac member to be the star of dtac’s advertising campaigns. And definitely the first to show his butt cheeks on national television.
Picture 6: Following the incident where many dtac customers didn’t receive OTP in time to register for the second phase of the half-half co-payment scheme, dtac has shown responsibility by offering affected customers with either data, airtime bonuses, or device discounts, valued up to 3,500 baht. Right after the incident, Mr. Sharad Mehrotra, dtac CEO, met customers in dtac shops and listened in on their calls to our call center. Mr. Sharad and everyone at dtac understand the customers’ distress and would like to express sincere apologies for the service incident. We have learnt from this and are taking all the necessary steps to prevent this from happening again.
Picture 7: In August, Mr. Sharad, dtac CEO, visited six regions of Thailand over a period of five days. The visit took place after the end of the lockdown, which had caused massive human migrations. On the road he met some fantastic people, including a farmer and mother of two who helps her community stay connected as a dtac retailer. He also met the owner of a small convenience store who doesn’t let his disability get in the way when it comes to ensuring dtac customers in his area get the best possible service. The CEO also participated in some fun challenges, such as tasting local dishes and making Southern Thai milk tea. He was introduced by the regional teams to new distribution channels, from collaborations with gas stations, to pharmacies and market stalls. This allows dtac to get even closer to remote communities and provide services that answer people’s everyday needs, reflecting the company’s purpose to empower societies and connect people to what matters most.
Picture 8: dtac is the first Thai company of its size to declare flexible work is here to stay, allowing employees to alternate between work from home and work in the office. dtac House’s occupancy currently averages only 30 percent. And while the use of online collaboration tools and productivity apps keep growing, dtac has also implemented a ‘tight-loose-tight’ management style where leaders act as coaches and empower their teams to work with flexibility and accountability.
Picture 9: In late 2020, Nakhon Si Thammarat faced the worst flood in 50 years. Despite serious flooding, dtac staff headed to the disaster-hit province to set up mobile generators and stock oil supply. The preparations were made just in case inundation triggered power blackout, which could disrupt dtac services had no mobile generator been prepared. The team even prepared spare parts for emergency.
No matter what obstacles and challenges come their way, dtac staff are ready to respond to emergencies round the clock to ensure that customers can connect with others and face the least adverse impacts.
Picture 10: dtac paid the first installment of its 17.584-billion-Baht license for the 700 MHz spectrum it got allocated by NBTC on June 19, 2019.
The grant of 700 MHz license, consisting of two 10-MHz bands, will become a game changer for dtac’s network capacity and coverage nationwide. dtac is now set to start deployment of its 700 MHz network, as part of the strategy to bring high-speed internet to all customers. The spectrum will be turned on region by region, starting in and around Bangkok, and select locations in the North and South.